MOSES LAKE — Even in a program as storied as Moses Lake’s, there was still room for some history to be made.
Tuesday against Eisenhower, Melanie Flores became the first female wrestler to compete in a varsity dual meet for the Chiefs. Flores (106) not only stepped on the mat, she excelled in a comfortable win over Pascal Mendoza 6-1 to close the night.
“I’m trying to be fast on my feet, but yet be able to have conditioning and the right amount for the match and for the rest of the period,” Flores said. “Or going down and coming as fast as I can back up on my feet.”
Flores overwhelmed Mendoza with her speed and scored a take-down early in the first round. Flores added a reversal in the second round and another take-down in the final period to cement not only her victory, but a shutout for the Chiefs 70-0.
Moses Lake did not just defend well, but maintained its aggressiveness to limit any offensive opportunities for Eisenhower.
No Chiefs wrestler was taken down. Every Cadet point was scored via escape.
“We were the ones that were attacking and over the last three days we changed up our offensive attacks and started attacking more low level,” head coach Jaime Garza said. “We were able to see some of that in today’s match.
“Wrestling is always evolving, just like every other sport, so we have to evolve with it. As you get into those really competitive matches you don’t see a lot of shots and so if that guy’s taken a poor shot you’ve got to capitalize on that and that’s what we were able to do today.”
Despite the tweak in strategy, Moses Lake can still overpower people.
Cruz Vasquez (152), Beau Mauseth (182), Payton Castro (220) and Sebastian Rodriguez (285) won by fall. Mauseth and Castro were on and off the mat quickly, pinning their opponents in 55 and 49 seconds, respectively.
Vasquez built a 10-1 advantage before pinning Erick Contreras in the third round. Rodriguez scored near-fall points twice against Enrique Espinosa before eventually finishing his pin in the second round.
“I wish he (Rodriguez) was a little taller,” Garza said. “Just because heavyweight — it’s nice to be able to get that leverage and get on that guy’s head and break him down to his knees, but he’s almost at a really good height because he can maneuver himself into these positions and get out of somewhat scary positions.”
But the night belonged to Flores.
Moses Lake’s girls wrestling program has continued to grow, with Flores at the forefront.
Tuesday’s history-making performance was just another example of the transformative power of sports.
“I felt proud of myself and I felt that my hard work was paying off, but I also wanted to show that the rest of the girls that they can do it and that just working hard will eventually get them there,” Flores said.
126: Eisenhower forfeit
132: Robert Hipolito (ML) d. Alex Cardenas, 5-0
138: Matthew Humphreys (ML) d. Erick Chavez, 4-1
145: Christien Knopp (ML) d. Damian Camacho, 11-3
152: Cruz Vasquez (ML) p. Erick Contreras, 4:55
160: BJ Mullin (ML) d. Michael Edmonds, 7-2
170: Eisenhower forfeit
182: Beau Mauseth (ML) p. Martin Jimenez, 0:55
195: Eisenhower forfeit
220: Payton Castro (ML) p. Riley Hansen, 0:49
285: Sebastian Rodriguez (ML) p. Enrique Espinosa, 3:44
106: Melanie Flores (ML) d. Pascal Mendoza, 6-1
113: Eisenhower forfeit
120: Eisenhower forfeit