The Selah High wrestling team is brimming with confidence early in the season following a first-place finish at the Dec. 7 Davis Invitational.
Ranked fifth in Class 2A, the Vikings earned four individual championships and placed 10 wrestlers among the top four to claim the title with 165.5 points — more than 30 points ahead of second-place Hanford (134).
“The kids wrestled really well, and we won the tournament without all of our guys,” coach Ken Mozingo said. “It was a great way to start the season, but we know there’s still a lot of work to be done. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
Selah’s individual winners were Marcos Gonzales (106), Jesse Salinas (138), Donny Schmidt (182) and Amadeo Flores Pimentel (220). Gonzales and Pimentel recorded all pins in their brackets.
Pimentel is a two-time defending state champion at 220 pounds, while Salinas took third at 126 pounds at Mat Classic last winter. The Vikings placed seventh as a team at state and bring back a large chunk of their roster.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on the guys, but they know how much potential we have,” Mozingo said.
Also performing well at the Davis Invite were Moon Thompson (third at 120), Judah Yates (second at 138), Jerry Schmidt (fourth at 145), Ethan Garza (third at 152), Alonzo Lopez (third at 160) and Jackson Yates (second at 170).
Three other key pieces — Evan Anderson (113), Mo Singh (195) and Mikey Ray (285) — were missing from the lineup but are expected back soon. Anderson was a state placer last year and is recovering from an injury. Singh also qualified for state last year and will be ready to go this week.
Overall, the Vikings return eight state qualifiers, while the program has placed among the top seven at state in four of the past five seasons.
“If everything goes right, we could jump up into fourth or fifth place at state this year,” Mozingo said. “We think we match up well with Othello, which has been the second-best team in our league behind Toppenish. If we show up and wrestle like we’re capable of, we think we will surprise some people.”
Selah’s CWAC dual meet schedule begins Thursday at Ephrata and continues Tuesday, Dec. 18, at East Valley. This Saturday, the Vikings will compete in the Leonard Schutte Invitational at Othello High School.
Also coming up are a pair of 32-team invitationals, the Pacific Coast Wrestling Championships in Vancouver and the Hammerhead Tournament at Central Kitsap.
“I’m excited to see what we can do when we have our full lineup,” the coach said. “We just need to prove to ourselves that we’re as good as these other teams. Our confidence and conditioning really showed last weekend.”
Mozingo also praised the hard work of Soleil Sabien, one of two girls in the program this year. He expects her to continue developing and help the team score points as the season progresses.
“Solie is a goer,” the coach said. “She’s not afraid to line up against the boys, and she had a great start to the season at Davis.”