The team trophy for the annual Bearcat Invitational Wrestling Tournament is back in Chehalis where it belongs.

Host W.F. West High School had a trio of individual champions and three second-place finishers to win the overall title on January 25. The Bearcats posted a tourney-best 236 points. Yelm placed second with 195 and Centralia, which also had three titlists, was third in the team standings with 148.

W.F. West, which finished second to Oregon’s Tillamook High School at last year’s tournament, received championships from Caleb Walters (126 pounds), Zach Evans (132) and Darren Gray (138) and had a total of 14 wrestlers place in the top three, the most for any program at the tournament.

W.F. West Wrestling
W.F. West had a tournament-best 14 wrestlers place in the top three, helping the Bearcats captured the overall team title. Photo credit: Grant Clark

The Bearcats and Tigers were the only teams to have three individual champions. Camas, River Ridge and Yelm each had two champions, while Aberdeen and Sedro Woolley both had one.

Walters kicked off three consecutive final wins for the Bearcats by edging Centralia’s Eduardo Matias, 7-6, in the championship round. It was the first of three finals that featured a head-to-head matchup between W.F. West and Centralia wrestlers with the Bearcats winning two out of the three matches.

Walters navigated to the championship round by registering pins in his first two matches, defeating Aberdeen’s Jacob Allison in 33 seconds in the first round and Sam McCormick of Camas in 3:36 in the semifinals.

Teammate Evans, the state’s No. 7 ranked 132-pound wrestler in the 2A ranks, made short work of his finals’ opponent by pinning Diego Bellini of Camas in 49 seconds. It was the third consecutive pin at the tournament for the senior. Evans opened his title run by pinning Aberdeen’s Shayne Glowacki in 36 seconds before doing the same to Devin Padilla of Camas in 5:37.

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W.F. West’s Garrett Vonmoos pictured during the consolation round of the 220-pound tournament. Photo credit: Grant Clark

Gray completed the Bearcats’ title run by knocking off Centralia’s Alex Hicks-Avron, 3-0, to capture the 138-pound crown. Just like his fellow champion teammates, Gray posted pins in the first two rounds, knocking off Aberdeen’s Cameron Harris (1:37) and Cole Schluter of Camas (4:42).

Centralia’s Justin Lake prevented W.F. West from making it four straight championship round victories with a 13-2 win over W.F. West’s Connor Trodahl in the 145-pound championship. Lake also defeated W.F. West’s Evan Moon, 7-5, in the semifinals.

The Bearcats also received second-place finishes from Desmond Parriott (160) and Isaac Reavis (195) and third-place finishes from Damian Hernandez (106), Kayden Ryan (113), Brady Davis (120), Bryce Laufenberg (152), Brock Guyette (182), Bryson Boyd (285) and Daniel Matagi, who defeated teammate Garrett Vonmoos in the 220-pound placing round.

W.F. West Wrestling
W.F. West captured the 2020 Bearcat Invitational team championship in their home gym on January 25. Photo credit: Grant Clark

Reavis, who placed fifth at state last year at 195 pounds and is ranked fourth in 2A, lost to Yelm sophomore Logan Platt, the 3A’s fifth-ranked wrestler, in the 195-pound finals by pin (3:55), while Parriott fell to Sedro Woolley’s Aidan Franklin by pin (5:14) in the 160-pound championship round.

Centralia’s Juan Gaspar gave the Tigers their first title triumph after the senior pinned Yelm’s Ryan Babauta (3:29) in the 113-pound finals. Gaspar, a senior and returning state participant, is ranked fourth among 2A wrestlers in the weight classification. He pinned W.F. West’s Kayden Ryan (4:43) in the semifinals.

Caleb Hylton, ranked eighth in the 2A classification, became the third Centralia athlete to score a championship win after pinning Dominic Fujihara of Camas in the 170-pound finals. Hylton scored a fall at 1:53 in the finals. This came after he needed just 40 seconds to dispose of Yelm’s Andres Escodebo in the semifinals.

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Centralia also had a strong showing at the tournament, finishing third overall as a team. Photo credit: Grant Clark

In addition to the three championship matches pitting W.F. West against Centralia, a pair of third-place matches also saw the Bearcats and Tigers go at it with Chehalis winning both contests. W.F. West’s Hernandez pinned Dominic Hicks-Avron to place third at 106 pounds, while teammate Guyette won by injury default over Centralia’s Cameron Blankenship in the third-place match in the 182-pound weight division.

The Bearcats will look to parlay the tournament success into some more hardware. W.F. West, which is a perfect 5-0 in dual meets this year, can successfully defend its 2A Evergreen Conference title by going on the road and defeating Tumwater in its regular-season finale on January 31.

W.F. West Wrestling
The Bearcats finished with three champions and three second-place finishers at the tournament. Photo credit: Grant Clark

The Bearcats will then host the sub-regional tournament February 7-8 with top placers advancing to the 2A Region 3 tournament at Tumwater High School on February 15. W.F. West won the region championship last year, comfortably defeating runner-up Forks by a score of 420.5 to 366.

Walters (120) and Boyd (220) will look to repeat as region champions for the Bearcats, while Centralia’s Matias (126) and Hylton (160) both claimed region titles in 2019.

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