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LR hosts wrestling Powerhouse Tournament


Matthew Pakootas dominates Wilbur-Creston-Keller's Ray Strozyk in the Raiders' Powerhouse Tournament last week. - Jacob Wagner photo

The Raiders hosted wrestlers from eight other schools last Wednesday in the 14th annual Powerhouse Tournament. The Raiders took third with 111.5 points, behind Omak's 114 and Warden's 134.

The event was dedicated to Debbi Achord, who, before her death in October 2016 had been a key figure in the organization of the tournament for 13 years, including drawing up the brackets. Her son, Shane Marchand, was a state placer for Raider wrestling, and her daughter, Angel Achord, has helped with the local little-guy wrestling program.

The Raiders entered eight competitors into the tournament: Yamni Blackbear, Kaleb Horn, Matthew Pakootas, Gabe Moses, Ryan Moon, Tony Nichols, Steven Flowers, and Ida Sue. The eight wrestlers managed to win four first-place spots, a second, and a fifth among them.

"It was a good day for Raider wrestling," said Head Coach Steve Hood. "That's what we expect to have. Our program expects to be successful and we practice to be competitive and have a good day every time."

Horn took first in the 126-pound division, pinning Warden's Abraham Suarez in the first round, winning 17-0 against Okanogan's Brenden Warren, then pinning Wyatt Zielinski of Almira-Coulee-Hartline in the second round.

The 145 bracket belonged to Nichols, who, following a bye-round, defeated Warden's Holden Haworth 6-1, then Dominic Guerra, also of Warden, 5-1 to secure the first-place spot.

Flowers placed first in the 220 division. Following a bye-round, Flowers pinned Okanogan's Julian Cates in the third round, then Almira-Coulee-Hartline's Will Hahn in the first round.

The Raiders had three competitors wrestling at 138: Pakootas, Moses, and Moon. Pakootas took first by pinning Wilbur-Creston-Keller's Ray Strozyk in the first round, winning 5-0 against Danny Phillips of Republic-Curlew, then defeating Omak's Dallas Joe with a takedown in overtime to win the match 6-4. "He's tough," Hood said. "Matthew's a competitor."

Moses was 2-2 in his matches, earning fifth place by pinning Okanogan's Brady Harvey as well as defeating Moon, his fellow Raider, with a takedown in overtime.

Blackbear, after losing to Wilbur-Creston-Keller's Kaleb Dunlap, pinned both Warden's Conneach West and then Okanogan's Tyler Ramsey, both in the first round. Blackbear took second at 113.

Sue wrestled her opponent, Omak's Latasha Lee, twice. "Ida was on her back and in trouble but got out of it and won," Hood said of her first match. In her second match, Sue was ahead but got pinned in the third round. "It's not over until the referee stops it," Hood said. "You can be behind by 14 points, but then pin your opponent and win."

"There were some good matches wrestled," Hood said. "Most teams like this tournament because it's in the middle of winter break and gives them a chance to get their guys out competing and get the rust off a little bit."

Rainier High School, which typically attends the event, was unable to this time due to the weather.

The Raiders were scheduled to wrestle at the Okanogan Mixer yesterday, the results of which will be in next week's Star. This Saturday the Raiders travel to Warden to compete in their tournament, to start at 10 a.m.

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