EHS Wrestling

Ellensburg High School’s Henry Reinhart, Christian Davis and Lorenzo Gonzales stand for a portrait in their mat room Tuesday at Ellensburg High School. These three and the rest of the Bulldog squad will compete in a home meet on Thursday.

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Ellensburg High School senior Henry Reinhart just sort of smiled, having seen the question coming.

“I don’t pay any attention,” he said, “don’t even look at the rankings.”

Of course it’s just a little bit flattering being considered one of the top 182-pounders in the Washington Wrestling Report 2A rankings and No. 9 on the all-class list with the likes of 4A standout No. 1 Tyson Stover of Chiawana and Logan Candanoza of Prosser, the top 2A guy on the list at No. 4.

2A Rankings

Now his wrestling partner in the Bulldog room junior Lorenzo Gonzalez fessed up to taking a peek every now and then at the 170-pound rankings. He’s No. 6 on the all-class list and the top-ranked 170-pounder in 2A.

“Every now and then,” said Gonzalez, who wrestled at the Cadet and Junior Nationals in Fargo, N.D., last summer. “It definitely feels good to know I’m right there with the best guys in the state.”

Throw in Bulldog junior Christian Davis No. 5 in the 2A rankings at 126 pounds and Ellensburg has the basis of a solid lineup going into the Central Washington Athletic Association schedule Thursday night at home against East Valley.

CWAC loaded

The CWAC is loaded again this season with Toppenish ranked as not only the best 2A program, but the best team in all of Washington state wrestling. The CWAC has five of the top 10 teams in the 2A rankings, according to Washington Wrestling Report, and it all gets underway Thursday night when the 10th-ranked Bulldogs host East Valley.

“It’s going to be so cool. This is our house. The lights go down and it gets loud. It’s a lot of fun wrestling here,” Davis said.

All the rankings and numbers go out the window at that point. It’s just two guys, one circle and one winner.

Working hard

“I feel like I’ve improved a lot from the Davis and Wilfong tournaments at the beginning of the year. I still need to work on a few things on my feet, but I feel pretty strong,” said Reinhart. “What makes this time of year fun is that you’re starting to feel the pressure with districts and regionals right around the corner.

“I feel like the tournaments to open the season help you figure out what you want to use and this time of year you clean it up and get ready for the postseason.”

Gonzalez has been in the finals of three tournaments to date and clearly ready to take that next step to the top of the podium. Wrestling at the Fargo nationals and the Gut Check tournament where he was close to placing have his competitive juices flowing.

“My top game needs some work, but I have a lot more experience than a lot of guys out there and I feel like I rise to the competition,” he said. “When I’m in neutral, I feel like I’m in control. I try to wrestle as smart as I can.

“What I like about our team is the young guys are starting to respond. We have a pretty solid lineup top to bottom and if we can get a momentum going we’ll be a pretty good dual team.”

Dual team

Ellensburg will give up forfeits at 195, 220 and 285 Thursday night, so the Bulldogs will need to make up 18 points. But they have a core with the big guns going back-to-back with Gonzalez (170) and Reinhart (182), along with Davis at 126. They’ll need to win the close ones and get some pins, but that’s why they blow the whistle, head coach Jeremy Wolfenbarger said.

“I see myself as a scrambler, always scrapping for the advantage,” Davis said. “But there’s nothing better than pinning a guy.”

The Bullldogs open the CWAC schedule on Thursday night at home, then go to the 16-team Cascade Bavarian Invite on Saturday. Then it all gets brutal and they’ll find out if they are deserving of the accolades with Ephrata, Prosser, Othello, Wapato, Selah, Grandview, Toppenish and Quincy from Jan. 14 to the end of the month in what will be a Tuesday-Thursday dogfight to run out the regular season.

The second half of the season will set the tone as No. 10 Ellensburg makes its push toward the Mat Classic.

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