By Ben • Ben Schorzman • 

Mac wrestling finishes second in Pendleton

The Grizzlies scored 161 points and placed second out of 17 teams in the multi-class tournament. Willamina also traveled to the event and placed fifth, scoring 94 points.

“We were wearing guys down,” McMinnville coach Shawn Keinonen said. “We really had a great day.”

The Grizzlies and every other team in Pendleton couldn’t touch tournament winner Crook County (4A), though. Crook County won with 267 points.

“They really blew the tournament away,” Keinonen said. “On a good day they could win in any class. … They’re the real deal.”

Mac had two tournament champions and two second place finishes. Jered Sublet won the 138-pound bracket.

“Jered had another fantastic tournament,” Keinonen said, adding Sublet is continuing his success that started at least year’s 6A state championships where he finished third. “It surprised everyone in the gym except us.”

Mac’s other champion was J.T. Barnes at 152 pounds. Barnes was seeded fourth and beat the No. 1 seed in the semifinals. He beat the No. 2 seed in the finals.

“He continues to wrestle smart,” Keinonen said.

Tiger Paasch (182 pounds) and Bobby Crowston (145) both finished second. Keinonen said he has been impressed with the way Crowston, a freshman, has wrestled this year despite getting pinned in the finals Saturday.

“He knocked off three tough kids to get there,” he said. “You can’t fault him. He was going after it.”

Aspen Nelson (106) and Bryce Branson (120) both placed third for the Grizzlies. Keinonen said Branson knocked off the No. 1 seed 12-10 in overtime early in the tournament, and after losing in the semifinals he dominated Willamina’s Jordan Combs in the third-place match.

“He’s wrestled well,” Keinonen said.

Solomon Souza, a transfer from Lebanon, also placed for the Grizzlies. He finished sixth at 126.

The Grizzlies wrestle at home Thursday in their first home match of the season. They are also at home Jan. 31. They are the only two scheduled home meets for the Grizzlies.

“It’s kind of a bummer deal,” Keinonen said. “We have a pretty quality squad. … As we’ve gotten better, we have to do it. We have to find the competition.”


Willamina finishes fifth

The Bulldogs didn’t have any tournament champions, but coach Ariah Fasana said his wrestlers won some tough matches, and he really noticed a few things the Bulldogs need to work on to step up their game.

“The tournament was great,” Fasana said. “The competition was tough, and we won some tough matches.”

Weiser (Idaho) was third with 142.5 points, and Pendleton was fourth with 141 points. Then came the Bulldogs in fifth and Mac-Hi in sixth with 86.

Willamina’s two highest placers were Coty Brown at 126 and Tommy Cobb at 285. Both finished second. Combs finished fourth at 106, and Michael Reyes finished third at 113. Nathan Johnson did not place at 113.

Doug Steere and David Calaway didn’t place at 138 and 145 respectively. Jacob Ward and David Bridges both wrestled at 160 but didn’t place. Tyler Heidt wrested at 182 and finished fourth.

Fasana said there were some notable wins for the Bulldogs. Reyes lost once, and that was to Riverside state champion Gustavo Madrigal. Reyes defeated Johnny Avina, who is ranked No. 4 in 4A right now.

Brown defeated Mac’s Souza and also beat Lionel Perez, the defending Idaho state champion at 126. Brown’s only loss came in a close match with three-time defending state champion Jared Kasch of Culver.

Cobb also had a good win, beating Crook County’s Jason Williams, who is ranked No. 4 in 4A.

The Bulldogs are now turning their attention to Saturday’s Bob Bishop Invitational, their own home tournament. Fasana said between 15 and 20 teams will be in attendance.

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