The Cheney High wrestling team began the new year on a high note after several athletes placed in the top 5 of their brackets at the Jan. 3 Blackhawk Invitational. As a team Cheney placed seventh out of 16 with 92 points.
In the 220-pound final, Michael Ferguson dropped a grueling 6-2 decision to the Mat Classic XXVI state champion, Clarkston’s Dylan Beeler. On his way to the finals, Ferguson had back-to-back first-period pins over Royal’s Hunter Follett and Kellogg’s Christian Speelman.
“We’ve been waiting for that match with Beeler for some time,” head coach Brad Rasmussen said. “This loss gives Michael a goal for the season. For him to hang with Beeler as long as he did was very exciting and shows where he is as an athlete.”
Kodi Smith (195) once again took third in his weight class. Smith pinned Omak’s Oliver Williams to reach the semifinals where he lost to Kellogg’s Jonathon O’Brien. In the third-place match, he pinned Roger’s Jordan Sweeney in the first period.
Devon Waterman (182) finished third in his division for the first time this year. Waterman, who recently recovered from illness and injuries, pinned Kennewick’s Ronny Loomis before he lost to Priest River’s Greg Fitzmorris in the semifinals. He scored a first-period pin over Kettle Fall’s Wyatt Moss in his last match of the tournament.
Braden Wirth (126) and Garrett Pederson (285) both took fourth in their weight classes. Justin Randolph (170) once again took fifth in his division.
Saul Bautista, Francisco Martinez, Tyler Thomas and Cameron Wiseman also picked up victories, but were eliminated in the consolation rounds.
“To have six kids make it as far as they did, I’m very happy with that,” Rasmussen said. “We saw some good things from the others. Saul (Bautista) got his first win at the varsity level and Cameron (Wiseman) was tough. Overall it was a good day.”
After their first Great Northern League dual against West Valley Jan. 7, the Blackhawks travel to Post Falls, Idaho to compete in the River City Duals Jan. 9-10. They face Clarkston Jan. 14 in their second home dual of the season.
“This month is hectic because we have duals every week and tournaments every weekend,” Rasmussen said. “Before we know it, it will be the postseason. Right now our goal is to continue to improve and keep kids healthy.”