ROYAL CITY — Warden 220-pounder Martin Dominguez stood behind the scorer’s table Wednesday evening as the Royal Christmas Tournament unfolded.
He was unbeaten in 17 matches going into the championship match, but his biggest test was coming up. He was scheduled to take on Castle Rock’s Stephen Todd. The Cougar 220-pounder’s announcer’s sheet was a simple one. It read “state participant”. But when it came time to go to work, he was succinct and to the point.
Dominguez (18-1) went out with the passion and quickness that makes him one of the best 1A 220-pounders to claim a championship medallion with a decision over Todd for his 18th win without a loss.
“I like to rely on my speed against these bigger guys,” he said. “I can match strength-on-strength with these guys, but I like to use my head and quickness.”
Dominguez was one of five area individual champions.
Moses Lake put four in the finals and crowned Jonathan Tanguma (17-3) at 106 pounds. The Chiefs (180.5) came out on top in a dead heat with Tonasket (177.5) to win the team championship, which was decided by wins by fall. Moses Lake tallied 16 and Tonasket had 14.
Royal (150.5) finished fourth in the 15-team tournament. Eduardo Rodriguez was the champion at 132 pounds for the Knights. Dominguez led the Cougars (109), who put four in the finals and ended up with sixth placers overall to place sixth. Ephrata crowned Clay Johns (113) and Efrain Bedolla (285) as individual champions, finishing seventh with seven placers.
But in the end, it was Moses Lake with just enough points to claim the top shelf, placing 11 guys along the way.
“Even with our junior varsity, we’re two, three, sometimes four deep in some weights. So this was a chance to give our guys to get out and see what they can do,” Chiefs coach Jaime Garza said. “It’s a tough little tournament. There’s still things that we have to learn. The purpose of this was to get these guys some competition against a quality field and we did well today.”
Tanguma, who won the Bob Mars to open the season and had a key win to help the No. 10 Chiefs beat No. 3 Lake Stevens before the Christmas break, defeated Riley Vanatta of Tonasket in the 106-pound championship match.
Ephrata’s Johns (21-2), the North Idaho College Takedown champion, used a little of that 4.0 grade point average smarts he carries to mentally break down Colin Silverthron from Tonasket to claim the championship at 113 pounds.
The 132-pound championship match featured a couple of Columbia Basin guys that have seen each quite a bit over the course of time with Rodriguez (12-1) from Royal and Martinez (13-0) of Warden. Both have 1A state tournament experience, both know each other well.
“I knew he was going to go after me, so I was waiting for my shot. I’m always trying to attack and be ready,” said Rodriguez, who had a key takedown in the third period. “I got the shot in the third period. He opened up a little and I took him down and that was big.
“Winning here at our tournament means a lot to us and our fans that come out and support us.”
The Cougars finished the day with 17 victories and six placers, including a champion. Warden coach Brent Cox liked what he saw.
“We had six guys in the semifinals. We didn’t win all of them in the finals. But we had a good day overall,” Cox said. “We’ve always like the tournament because it’s a good measurement of where the kids stand. What we saw today is that we are competing.”
The heavyweight final was an interesting display of new talent between Sebastian Rodriguez (7-4) of Moses Lake and 6-foot-5 Efrain Bedolla (13-3), the second-year wrestler from Ephrata. Both are relatively new to the sport, but it was a showcase of big men.
“Once I scored, I just wanted to keep the lead and not let him get anything on me,” said Bedolla, who won by decision. “Tonight it was more Greco and try to get him off balance, but with my long arms I can always go for a leg.”
Team scores: 1. Moses Lake 180.5. 2. Tonasket 177.5. 3. Castle Rock 166.5. 4. Royal 150.5. 5. Reardon 148.5. 6. Warden 109.5. 7. Ephrata 108. 8. Chelan 107.5. 9. Riverside 84.5. 10. Newport 70. 11. Kiona-Benton 43.5. 12. Wahluke 30. 13. Liberty Bell 23. 14. Columbia Burbank 14. Cle Elum 1.5.
106: 1. Jonathan Tanguma, ML. 3. Kelvin Sager, E. 5. Rudy Flores, R
113: 1. Clay Johns, E. 3. Maximus Zamora, ML. 5. Hunter White, ML.
120: 3. Dominic Martinez, R. 5. Osvaldo Dominguez, W. 5. Xzavier Villarreal, ML
126: 2. Yahur Morales, R. 3. Karson Voss, ML. 5. Israel Thiesfield, ML
132: 1. Eduardo Rodriguez, R. 2, Anthony Martinez, W, 3. Edgar Hernandez, W. 8. Carter Cox, E.
138: 2. Rodrigo Ozuna, W. 3. Matthew Humhreys, ML
145: 3. Valerio Placido, E. 5. Benjamin Bustos, R.
152: 2. Cruz Vasquez, ML. 3. Kevin Pastor, R. 5. Daniel Bonilla, R
160: 3. Lorenzo Myrick, R, 5. Jose Galindo, R. 5. Levi Carlos, ML. 7. Will Anderson, E
170: 2. Elijah Gonzales, W. 7. Clayton Conrad, R
182: Bryan Guzman, ML 195: 2. Bailey Sanchez, ML. 5. Tyrone Mendez, W. 5. Mac Laird, E
220: Martin Dominguez, W. 3. Pablo Mejia, ML
285: 1. Efrain Bedolla, E. 2, Sebastian Rodruguez, ML. 5, Jackson Bateman, R. 7. Ryder Eilers, R