For the first time since Mt. Spokane opened in 1998, in-district rivals meet Thursday to decide the Greater Spokane League wrestling championship.
Mead, which is favored, is seeking a 13th league title while Mt. Spokane is going for its first. Both teams enter with 8-0 records. The match begins at 7.
This is the 20th meeting in the series. Mead is 18-1 overall. Mt. Spokane’s win came two years ago.
Mead has won its GSL matches handily. The Panthers’ closest match came against University (46-18). The Wildcats edged the Titans 35-27.
Mt. Spokane’s closest match came in a 34-32 decision over Central Valley. Mead opened the season with a 58-12 win over CV.
This is the first time Mead and Mt. Spokane have met to decide the league title. That, coupled with the fact that it pits neighborhood rivals, should make for an electric atmosphere.
In the league finale between the teams last year, the team score was tied at 28-28 going into the final match before Mead prevailed with a pin.
“It will be a great dual with several close and key matches,” Mead coach Phil McLean said. “It is exciting to have the GSL title match up north.”
Mead is ranked fifth in 4A in the Washington Wrestler Report rankings and is six points out of fourth. The Panthers took first at the Deer Park and Inland Empire tournaments and were second at Rocky Mountain (Missoula, Montana) and third at Tri-State. They were first last weekend at the Dream Duals.
The Panthers have five wrestlers ranked sixth or better. Chase Tebbets, a state runner-up last year as a freshman, is second at 106 pounds. Senior Trevor Senn, third a year ago, has been ranked No. 1 all season at 182.
Mt. Spokane is ranked sixth in 3A, five points behind North Central. The Wildcats have four wrestlers ranked sixth or better. They are led by junior Jake Howerton (126) and sophomore Blake Haney (120). Both are ranked No. 1 at their respective weights. Haney was a state runner-up last year and Howerton placed third.
“They have some top end guys who are very good,” McLean said of the Wildcats. “We have a solid line up. Our strength is our depth and our steadiness. We have a good wrestler in every weight, which makes us a good dual team.”
McLean was asked early in the season about the strength of his team. He has a better feel after two months.
“This may be the steadiest and solid team I have coached,” McLean said. “They have impressed me each week and have risen to each challenge. I have seen steady improvement and increased confidence each week. I knew we had a few top end guys and a lot of talent, but I was not sure how they would develop and grow through the season. They have responded well and improved each week.”
Mt. Spokane coach Travis Hughes has been pleasantly surprised by his team.
“We graduated our best class ever last year,” Hughes said. “So we assumed this would be a building year. As it turns out, we had our best dual record ever. Some seniors really stepped up and improved. Mead, as always, is a very deep team. It will be a challenge for sure. But we embrace challenges. It should be a fun night.”
In other league finales, University visits CV, Shadle Park is at North Central and Lewis and Clark goes to Ferris. All start at 7.
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