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Aug. 10, 2020

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4A Wrestling: Joner keeps growing as champion

Battle Ground wrestler wins fourth title at fourth weight

By , Columbian sports reporter
Published:
3 Photos
Union's Ryan Esperto (126 pounds) picks up near fall points against Camas' Devin Padilla in the 4A Sub-Regional Championship match on Saturday at Hudson's Bay High School.
Union's Ryan Esperto (126 pounds) picks up near fall points against Camas' Devin Padilla in the 4A Sub-Regional Championship match on Saturday at Hudson's Bay High School. (Joshua Hart/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

When Battle Ground’s Daniel Joner won his first district wrestling championship he was a 106-pound freshman. Four years later, he exits his wrestling career never having lost a match at the 4A Sub-Regional Championships.

On Saturday at Hudson’s Bay High School, weighing 132 pounds, he won a 3-1 decision over teammate Gunnar Henderson to claim his fourth district title.

He’s won at 106, 120, 126 and 132.

“It’s just what I work all for and what I come into wrestling season to do,” Joner said. “There’s a lot of changes that went on in the wrestling room and in my wrestling career. It’s just about trying to improve every day.”

Joner earned a pair of first-round pins before meeting a fellow Tiger in the finals, something that’s not always easy to do. It at least ensured the Tigers an individual title, the only Battle Ground captured Saturday. Union steamrolled the 4A competition with 483 points.

“Wrestling a guy that knows exactly what you’re going to do and you know exactly what he’s going to do, it’s definitely different,” Joner said. “I’ll see what I have left. This is my last shot, just two weeks left in my wrestling career.”

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Camas' Porter Craig (106) celebrates his pin of Union's Spencer Needham in the 4A Sub-Regional Championship match on Saturday at Hudson's Bay High School. (Joshua Hart/The Columbian)
Photos: 3A/4A Sub-Regional Wrestling Photo Gallery

The Titans picked up titles from Dylyn Jimenez (120 pounds), Ryan Esperto (126), Andres Nicacio (138), Calvin Bahl (145), Ruben Kovalenko (152) and Kyle Brosius (170).

But in the most anticipated championship matches, Camas stole victories. The Papermakers finished second with 356.5 points.

The 4A competition ended with perhaps the most anticipated bout of the night, as Papermaker sophomore Porter Craig and Union freshman Spencer Needham met for the third time this season. They split the previous two. Round three went to Craig, as he picked up a third-round pin against the local rival.

“It all comes down to hard work,” Craig said. “After I lost that match (to Needham) at Pac-Coast, you just have to keep your mind right. You just have to keep working hard and train the hardest.”

The two will likely meet again at regionals next week at Spokane’s Mead High School.

“The last 10 minutes of practice, when you have to get that last takedown, I’m thinking of him,” Craig said of how the rivalry pushed him.

Camas football star Jacques Badolato-Birdsell (195) showed off his athleticism with a pin of Union’s Averie Sikes in the championship match. Badolato-Birdsell’s speed and strength is unparalleled in the weight class, and a tribute to how much he’s put into perfecting his body.

“I’ve put in a lot of time, a lot of tears, sweat and blood” Badolato-Birdsell said.

Camas’ Colby Stoller (220) also earned a pin over Union’s Levi Harms, who earned a decision win over Stoller just a week ago. Reigning 170-pound state champion Gideon Malychewski started another title run, this time at 160 pounds. He earned a title victory with a 12-4 decision over Heritage’s Alex Newberry.

Heritage’s rebuild took a step forward with a third-place finish and a pair of champions in Israel Gonzalez (113) and Ricardo Cortez (285).

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