OTHELLO — Moses Lake wrestling fans are used to seeing the name Cruz in the headlines. Hunter Cruz, the No. 1-ranked 160-pounder in the state, made short work of Eric Gomez, pinning the Othello sophomore in the 170-pound bout to seal the Chiefs a 42-18 win over the Huskies Wednesday night in a dual between state-ranked wrestling programs.
But it was Chiefs freshman Cruz Vasquez’s win in overtime at 145 that gave No. 3-ranked 4A Moses Lake the bump it needed in the middle of the lineup when No. 5-ranked 2A Othello was knocking on the door.
Officials waved off a Vasquez take-down to tie it with just under a minute remaining in regulation. Othello senior Juan Martinez took a 4-2 lead into the final seconds in a pivotal match where the Huskies had chance to make it a three-point deficit with three matches left.
Vasquez escaped with 23 seconds remaining to send the match into overtime, where he got the initial take-down to win the match, 6-4.
“I thought it was 6-4 and I was ready to shake his hand when the referee said overtime,” Vasquez said. “I’d wrestled him before, so I knew he was a tough kid. There was a lot of pressure in that match, but it was very fun to be able to win and give our team a boost.”
Othello heavyweight Isaiah Perez pinned Sebastian Rodriguez at 1:17 to put the Huskies on the board at 10-6. But the Chiefs jumped out to a 21-6 lead with wins by Jonathan Tanguma (106), Maximus Zamora (113) and Hunter White (120).
Othello closed hard with pins from Jaxon Rocha (126) and Jovani Espindola (132) to make it a 21-18 score with five to go.
Matthew Humphreys gave the Chiefs a little breathing room, holding off Jeremy Mendez 11-8 in the 138-pound match. Still, the upset-minded Huskies only trailed six with four matches remaining, but the Chiefs freshman contributed a big win to the cause.
“The Vasquez match was critical,” Chiefs coach Jamie Garza said. “He was able to overcome a 4-1 deficit and come out and show some grit. We talked about winning those close matches and we won more than we lost tonight and that’s an improvement.”
The Chiefs, who went into the match as the No. 3 ranked 4A team in the state with seven ranked wrestlers, rolled up the last four matches of the night. But it was a good night of wrestling for Othello coach Rudy Ochoa II, whose team is the No. 5 ranked 2A program right now.
“It was closer than what the score showed. We tried to line up our matches to where we thought we had the better chance,” Ochoa II said. “I thought the matches of the night were at 106 and 113. We wrestled tough and I felt like we battled. We lost the close matches. We just have to keep grinding and getting better.”
Moses Lake 42, Othello 18
182 - Beau Mauseth, ML, d. Bernie Garza, 3-0
195 - Daiman Vasquez, ML, d. DJ Guzman, 5-1
220 - Payton Castro, ML, md. Elijah Roylance, 11-0
285 - Isaiah Perez, O, p. Sebastian Rodriguez, 1:17
106 - Maximus Zamora, ML, d. Chris Melo, 8-2
113 - Hunter White, ML, d. Arturo Solorio, 10-2
126 - Jaxon Rocha, O, p. Xzavier Villarreal, 1:20
132 - Jovani Espindola, O, p. Karson Voss, 1:00
138 - Matthew Humphreys, ML, d. Jeremy Mendez, 11-8
145 - Cruz Vasquez, ML, d. Juan Martinez, 6-4 OT
152 - Christien Knopp, ML, p. Levi Garza, 1:02 160 - BJ Mullin, ML, d. Easton Roylance, 13-6
170 - Hunter Cruz, ML, p. Eric Gomez, 1:43