For a decade, the Kelso Hilanders were kings of Class 3A Greater. St. Helens League wrestling.
Mountain View ended that reign ended a year ago, and Saturday at Hudson’s Bay High School the Thunder proved to be more than one-year wonders.
Three individual champions — Ben Dixon, Kenji Yamashita and Brandon Proffitt — were part of the story for Mountain View. But it was the pins, technical falls and other bonus points throughout the day that allowed the Thunder to prevail.
“Each guy picks his own battle and takes care of it, and together we won the battle of the day,” Mountain View coach Travis Chitman said.
Mountain View finished with 317.5 points to win by 18.5 points over Kelso.
The Thunder qualified 14 wrestlers for next Saturday’s regional tournament — a few more than Chitman anticipated. The top four wrestlers at each of the 14 weight divisions on Saturday advance to the Feb. 9 regionals at Kelso that will qualify four wrestlers at each weight for state.
Dixon and Yamashita beat Kelso wrestlers in their final matches, providing critical points as the meet neared its conclusion.
Dixon scored a 15-11 win over Abundio Victorino in a wild 113-pound title match that proved to be a turning point. Kelso had already won a pair of championships, and Victorino’s upper-body strength provided a challenge for Dixon.
“He was really strong, so I had to attack him down low,” Dixon said of his tactics.
Kelso won the next two weight classes with pins, but Yamashita came through for Mountain View with a 14-3 win in the 138-pound final.
“The coaches told me to just do what I know how to do,” Yamashita said. He was able to take advantage of a series of openings in the first two rounds, then finish strong.
“It’s big. Last year (the team race) came down to the wire, so we know every point matters,” Yamashita said. “And when I see my teammates doing well, I know I have to do my best for them.”
Proffitt clinched the team title for Mountain View by winning the 170-pound title, beating Ronnie Evenden from Prairie 16-5. The outcome was in the balance when Evenden briefly turned over Proffitt in the third period.
“I felt he had me in a bad position there (before the move). I felt his hip shift and I rolled through it so he didn’t have a chance to gain control,” Proffitt said.
Prairie also had three individual champions, and Hudson’s Bay and Columbia River had two apiece.
Prairie’s Wil Treadwell delivered one of the five pins in the championship matches, putting Alex Ojeda of Hudson’s Bay on his back in the second round at 120 pounds.
The 160-pound final featured two Falcons, with Mario Gonzalez defeating Luke Middelstadt 14-4.
Dallas Goodpaster scored five early points then held on for the 220-pound title over Mountain View’s Ryan Tonder. Though just a freshman, Goodpaster has won multiple national age-group wrestling tournaments.
“I figured five points was enough,” Goodpaster said. “As a freshman, to come in and win a weight class that freshmen don’t usually wrestle is a nice accomplishment.”
Hudson’s Bay’s titles came via consecutive pins by Aaron Blaine and Gunnar Metzger. Blaine, ranked second among Class 3A 145 pounders by Washington Wrestling Report, pinned Oleg Korin of Fort Vancouver 3:34 into their title match. Metzger then pinned Fort’s CJ Goddard 2:38 into the 152-pound finals.
“The higher you’re seeded, the more pressure their is, so today was a good day,” said Metzger, who entered this tournament as the top seed at 152.
Columbia River district champions won in the upper weights. Jeremiah Patrick beat Prairie’s Tyler Duncan 7-4 at 182 pounds, and Wyatt Gomes beat Prairie’s Kyle Musgrove 6-1 for the heavyweight crown.