EWU Posts Its First Home Win in 20+ Years
On Saturday, November 19th, Eastern Washington University hosted its first home duel since dropping the NAIA program, after the 1989-1990 season. The team reinstated itself, as a club team, back in 2009, but has not been able to put forward a full schedule since that time. Saturday night marked the team's first home duel in over 20 years.
The duel took place in the EWU dance studio with a full house of fans cheering on. "Given the amount of snow we had today, I'm very pleased with our fan turnout," recounted Brandon Stewart, EWU's coach and club president. "We had fans sitting downstairs near the mat, because our balcony seats were so full."
At the end of it all, EWU registered a win 33-9. Though EWU won largely on forfeits, CWU put up a great showing in the matches that counted and received a forfeit of their own. On top of the three counting matches and four forfeits, EWU and CWU wrestled several exhibition matches. “We are very strict about being healthy. Our 141 wrestler, Chance Watt, is not able to make weight and be healthy, yet,” said Stewart, “and they don’t have an eligible 197lb wrestler, but Tacheron is not too far off from our 235lb wrestler.“ So Kyle Moore, Central’s 141, wrestled Chance Watt in exhibition, and Gerino Luna, after accepting a forfeit at 235, wrestled Bob Tacheron in another exhibition. Said Stewart, “We wanted to give our fans the best show possible, so we just kept wrestling every eligible and willing pair of wrestlers until we were all tired, and ready to go home. It was a great night.”
The duel started with Joe Cordes accepting a forfeit, at 125, for EWU, and Kyle Moore accepted one, for CWU, at 141. Action then started, in what would turn out to be one of the most thrilling matches of the event. At 149 pounds, EWU’s Aubry Blad faced off against CWU’s David Kuich. Blad came to EWU after placing at state, in North Carolina. The match remained scoreless through the first round, with neither wrestler able to open a hole in the other’s defenses. Eventually, Kuich earned an escape in the second round, but Blad could not follow with his own in the third. “Aubry hasn’t been able to be at practice much, because of his ROTC duties. I look forward to seeing him wrestle in full wrestling condition,” said Stewart, after the duel. The 157 bout included EWU’s high school Washington state champion, Darren Bunke, facing off against CWU’s Isrrael Fernandez. Bunke began his college wrestling career by registering a pin at 4:06. EWU wrestlers Cody Carrigan, Arturo Martinez and Gerino Luna each accepted forfeits at 165, 174 and 235, respectively, before the official matches ended with Sean Gurnard, of EWU, registering a 4-1 victory over CWU’s Tacheron.
There were several other exciting matches in the exhibitions, including Blad and Watt both registering falls against Moore, Watt at the beginning, and Blad at the end, of the night. Watt, a graduate of Riverview HS, is another of the young, but talented, Eagles to achieve a state placing last year. Before excusing himself, to help roll up the mats, Coach Stewart said, “I really look forward to what this team will show, with a little more experience at this level. We have another tournament on December third, in Oregon, and a duel on the 10th, in Yakima, before we take winter break. After that, it’s full speed until Regionals.”