The Springdale Invitational was a tournament with steep competition, with the top three teams only separated by three points.

With 149 points, Liberty High School took first place over its 14 competitors. Colfax High School took second with 146.5 points, followed closely by Rainier’s 146.

“As a team, I felt that we really stepped up after a bit of a letdown at Lake Roosevelt,” said Rainier Coach Chris Holterman. “It was a long trip — 805 miles total —and they handled it well.  It was tough competition and we hung in there.”

He said the team is really gelling, but there is still more work to be done for each of the wrestlers.

“Team wise I don’t know that there is any one thing we need to work on — individually, we have things here and there to work on and many of those kids were at open mat Sunday night getting right to work on those things,” Holterman said. “It’s impressive that kids get home late on a Saturday night and then on their only day off, they still come in to work on things. That’s dedication and it shows as they continue to improve.”

In Rainier’s roster, Jayson Ducey (106 pounds), Tyler Barlass (126) and Jacob Martin (182) each took first in their weight class.

In Ducey’s first round, he defeated Jacob Sisk from Colfax 20-6. In round two he defeated Johnny Ryan from Ritzville by pin, while in the finals he pinned David Philips from Republic/Curlew. 

Barlass’ first round found him matched up against Triston Wood of Almira-Coulee-Hartline, whom Barlass pinned. In the Barlass’ second round, he defeated Spencer Ferguson from Inchelium 14-0. In the final, Barlass continued his dominance, defeating Sammy Manina from Northwest Christian 8-0.

Martin also put out a good showing, pinning Patrick Rueff from Almira-Coulee-Hartline in his first round. He didn’t disappoint in round two, either, pinning Dominique Carillow from East Valley. Martin also pinned Sam Nelson from Liberty in the final. 

Seeing these three wrestle, Holterman said that “Jacob Martin really came through winning first place after a tough outing at Ocosta” on Jan. 3, and that “Jayson Ducey really wrestled well, winning his championship.” Barlass simply did what he’s done for practically all of the season, bringing in another win for Rainier.

In addition, Brody Klein (160) placed second in his weight class, only losing to Joe Peasley from Wilbur-Creston-Keller in his final. Alex Moe (170) and Drew Critchett (220) each took third in their respective weight classes.

Finally, Gabe Price (120), Joe Gerrish (132) and Ted Lester (152) each took fourth. There were 15 schools in total that participated in the invitational.

Despite receiving third place overall, close as the competition was, Holterman said he believes his team is still improving.

“I think we upped our level of wrestling a bit and competed with a lot more tenacity and grit than we showed the week before,” he said. “We had some kids not do as well but then others stepped up to pick up the slack.”

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