GRIT RANKINGS WEEK 2: A eight grader wrestling in high school tops our GRIT RANKINGS

The most hardcore power rankings in the state of Washington is back! Three newspapers, six spots. Three sports journalists combine their heads to come up with the six grittiest things that happened in sports. In week two of our rankings, we have a lot of wrestling, some college prospects, a buzzer-beater and some other craziness from NE Washington and Eastern Washington. Here is our latest edition of Eastern Washington GRIT RANKINGS…

No. 1 – Tyson Ramsay, Lind-Ritzville/Sprague wrestling

An eighth grader from the Sprague-Lamont School District, Ramsay is able to compete at the high school level due to WIAA rules. If a school doesn’t have a middle school sports program for 7th & 8th graders, they are allowed to compete for the high school team. So what did Ramsay—an eighth grader, in case that wasn’t made clear—do with the rules in his favor? He won the first three matches of his LRS wrestling career, including a win at the Liberty Invitational in the 126-pound bracket. Due to his natural athleticism, LRS head coach Jason Hilzer believes he has a chance of making the Mat Classic—not in the next couple of years, but this year. As an eighth grader. -Ritzville Journal Editor Brandon Cline

(Brandon’s Note: An eighth grader wrestling in the Mat Classic, or one with the potential, immediately gets a push up to the No. 1 grit spot.)  

Did Idaho just use our Jory Dotts photo from Stevens County Media Day?

No. 2 – The Colville to college pipeline

Three Colville athletes signed to college programs last week with Jory Dotts to the University of Idaho, Paul Skirko to Western Montana University and Alaina Stone to Washington State University. Need I say more? I will anyway — the Indians football program has now sent three players to Division I programs the last two years, with Jacob Newsom at Eastern Washington University and John Knight at Montana State University. Seems like soon enough there’ll be a Colville player on every roster in the Big Sky. Even more, Stone is joining the Cougars with multiple faster 5k times this year than multiple of the teams’ current distance runners. I’m starting to think something’s in the water. I’ve been here six months and already feel a little spring in my step. – Statesman-Examiner Sports Editor Taylor Newquist

(Brandon’s Note: The Big Sky Football Conference is quickly becoming a reuinion tour for the 2018 Colville football team)

No. 3 – Jaron Baldwin – Chewelah Boys Basketball

Baldwin has been a standout WR for the Chewelah Cougar state quarterfinal playoff team, along with being a standout on the basketball team. The latest show put on by J-Ron is a buzzer-beating three-pointer that gave the Cougars a 71-68 victory over 1A Riverside. The best part? Dad Jason Baldwin watching from the sidelines. In video of the buzzer beater, Jason Baldwin can’t stand still during the entire play, rushes the court and piles on his son like they just won the Super Bowl, then pulls out a Tiger Woods-esque fist pump. It was glorious. Chewelah is 2-1 in their last three games with two wins over NEA League schools. Is the NE 2B North better than the NEA League? That is one question that is up for debate. There needs to be a crossover tournament to work out all the bragging rights for the county. Invite the 1B schools, sit back, and watch all the brawls break out because everybody knows everybody. – Chewelah Independent Editor Brandon Hansen

No. 4 Cole Davis – 220-pound wrestler for Chewelah

Big Show Cole Davis comes into the 2019-20 wrestling season ranked NO. 3 in the B’s but the Cougars’ early season schedule has him wrestling against great wrestlers from 1A, 2A and 3A programs. Davis took second at the Deer Park Invite and then took 1st at the Othello Invite, which is enough to turn plenty of heads in the wrestling world. Davis is probably on the lower end in terms of weight in the 220-class, but he certainly looks like he’s in much better shape than his opponents. Davis sometimes looks like one of those old-school Russian wrestlers just dominating their opponent and throwing them around like a bear throws around it’s lunch. He’ll be a fun wrestler to watch the rest of the season. – Chewelah Independent Editor Brandon Hansen

No. 5 Austin Thompson, Lind-Ritzville/Sprague boys basketball

Talk about a career night that Thompson had in the team’s league-opening win against Upper Columbia Academy on Dec. 12. Thompson scored 31 points on 12-19 shooting, which included going 4-8 from beyond the arc and converting several three-point plays the old fashioned way due to driving aggressively to the hoop all game long. After painstaking research, it appears Thompson’s 31 points are the most in a game by an LRS player this decade. To boot, he also had 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals in the team’s 73-39 win. -Ritzville Journal Editor Brandon Cline

No. 6 – Colville true Freshman Jordyn True

True had two double-doubles in her first four games, as a freshman. Last Saturday against Omak, she scored 12 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked five shots. It’s a familiar sight for the Indians, who had sophomore Mckenna Reggear lead the team in scoring and make first-team all league a year ago. The pair of forwards make for a dominate combo in the post. We better get used to it, because they’ll be around for a while. – Statesman Examiner Sports Editor Taylor Newquist