A regional dual meet title for Mac
McMinnville finished its dual-meet schedule vs. regional opponents 9-0. Grizzlies public address announcer Ron Hernley passed along information he received that it was the first time in more than 40 years that Mac could claim the regional dual meet championship.
Of course, there was no trophy presentation or actual title for that matter, but it didn’t stop the Grizzlies from celebrating.
“I’m a big end-of-the-year guy. Regional and state. That’s what matters,” McMinnville coach Shawn Keinonen said. “But it’s important to take a step back to see what these kids have accomplished. It’s pretty great.”
Keinonen said he took part of last week to look back at the history of Mac wrestling.
“You realize it hasn’t been done in a long time,” he said. “Give the kids their due for their hard work. “
“The staff,” Keinonen continued. “We worked pretty hard too, I guess.”
“The parents,” Keinonen said.
“The fans,” Keinonen said. “There are more people coming to matches and interested about wrestling in the community.
“It took five full years to get it figured out.”
The Grizzlies wrestle Friday and Saturday at the Special District 3 regional tournament at Tualatin High School, where they will try to qualify more wrestlers for the state tournament than they have in more than a decade. They set themselves up well with how they wrestled vs. their regional opponents, and their formula for success was again on display Thursday.
Aspen Nelson got Mac started at 106 pounds. He battled with Johnny Guevara of North Salem for three periods, holding on for a slim 8-6 win in which Nelson got a takedown in the final 30 seconds to win.
North Salem took a brief lead after the 113 match. Raymond Smith beat Steven Weant 11-3 to give the Vikings a 4-3 lead. Senior Bryce Branson won by forfeit at 120, putting Mac back in the lead 9-4, and there was no looking back after that.
Dalton Donaldson pinned Nacho Mendez of North Salem late in the first period, and Manny Humlie grinded out a 6-4 win at 132, giving the Grizzlies an 18-4 lead.
The Grizzlies reeled off three straight wins from 138 to 153. Freshman Bobby Crowston turned a 2-2 match into a pin 58 seconds into the third period at 138, and Jered Sublet won his final home match of his career 12-5 vs. North Salem’s Justin Waldrop. Junior J.T. Barnes pinned Garrett Cole in 58 seconds at 152.
Mac led 33-10 after Rylan Blair was pinned at 160, and the Grizzlies grabbed three more points at 170 with a 6-1 win by senior Cameron Strybing.
Then it was senior Tiger Paasch’s turn. Paasch, who has made a habit this season of completely overpowering his opponents, nearly had a pin 10 seconds into his 182-pound match with Jerardo Garibay, and he finished the job 1:14 into the first period.
Chris Cerda lost 12-7 at 195, and Vince Williams won by forfeit at 220 for the Grizzlies. Mac forfeited at 285 for the final score.
“It feels great coming from where we came my freshman year,” Sublet said. “This is awesome. This is great. We just got better and better.”
Mac’s ascendance to one of the more competitive teams in its region and in the state started, Keinonen said, with a core group of this year’s seniors putting in the time in the offseason.
“I can’t say enough about the seniors,” Keinonen said.
Sublet said the commitment was to lift every day, practice three times a week in the offseason and travel to big meets.
“It’s all the difference,” he said. “If you want to be the best you have to do that.”
Everyone realizes, though, that it is this weekend where Mac can really make its mark. Winning the regional dual meet title — even if there isn’t anything attached to it — will benefit the Grizzlies this weekend.
“It’s great,” Sublet said, “it gives everyone that confidence going into that regional tournament.”