Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

Wessels, Waterman advance to state wrestling


Al Stover

Cheney's Devon Waterman (182) attempts to breakdown Ephrata's Luis Hernandez during their match in the first round of regionals. Waterman would end up scoring a pin in the second period.

Seven Cheney Blackhawks wrestlers went to West Valley High School to compete in regionals, Feb. 14-15. Of the seven, two will make the trip to Mat Classic XXVI, the state championships that take place Friday and Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.

The first is Josh Wessels (170 pounds) who once again faced Deer Park's Jason Aebischer in the finals of his weight division. Although Wessels tried his best in a closely contested bout, Aebischer defeated the Cheney wrestler by decision, 4-3.

Blackhawks' wrestling head coach Brad Rasmussen said Wessels wrestled a good tournament leading to the last match contest.

"In his finals match, he made a few costly mistakes and just wasn't as sharp as he could have been," Rasmussen said. "Unfortunately it's the little mistakes that cost you the most. Regardless, he wrestled outstanding this last weekend and I am excited to see what he can do this weekend at state."

Wessels will face Aberdeen's Tavo Sanchez in the first round of the state championships in his weight division.

The other Cheney wrestler advancing to state is Devon Waterman (182), who defeated East Valley's Kenny Martinez by decision in overtime, 3-1, in the consolation finals to grab third place.

According to Rasmussen, Waterman had missed almost an entire week of practice because he was sick. Rasmussen said he encouraged Waterman to give it a shot and "leave it all out there on the mat."

"Sick or not, he went to war with those kids and wrestled the best he had all year," Rasmussen said. "We're so proud of him. He could have thrown in the towel at any time but chose to give it a go. It says a lot about his character."

Waterman will face Port Angeles' Matt Robbins in the first round of the state championships in his weight division.

In addition to Wessels and Waterman, Michael Ferguson (195) placed sixth after he lost to East Valley's Damon King via pin.

"He wrestled hard and was so close to making it to state," Rasmussen said. "Again, little mistakes had big outcomes but I was really proud of that kid this weekend."

Cheney's Ben Rowe (170), Garret Pederson (285) and Kodi Smith (195) also competed in regionals. They were eliminated in the consolation round of the competition.

In team scores, Cheney came in 13th place with 50 points.

Al Stover can be reached at

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