Rusty Rae/News-Register##
Some of the 400 participants at the MHS Your Storage Space Invitational wrestling tournament look over the four mats  and competition on the main floor at the tournament.
Rusty Rae/News-Register## Some of the 400 participants at the MHS Your Storage Space Invitational wrestling tournament look over the four mats and competition on the main floor at the tournament.
Rusty Rae/News-Register##
Lucien Lefebvre battles in his finals match. He went on to gain a win by a fall.
Rusty Rae/News-Register## Lucien Lefebvre battles in his finals match. He went on to gain a win by a fall.
By Rusty Rae • Of the News-Register • 

Lefebvre takes class at MHS Invitational

 

Portable microphone in hand, McMinnville head wrestling coach Jordan Barich slipped through the the crowd on main floor of the McMinnville High School gym. He was a man on a mission, putting out one of any number of fires minutes prior to the start of the MHS Your Storage Space Invitational Tournament Saturday morning. With a battalion of nearly 50 volunteers from the McMinnville wrestling community, 16 teams, including his Grizzly squad, and nearly 400 wrestlers awaiting the ready wrestle command, Barich was finally able to give the go command for the tournament to begin.

At the end of the long day, the Grizzly mentor, in his 12th year with the program and seventh as the head man, celebrated his team finishing seventh overall with 100 points, about half the score of the winning squad from Canby. Barich sees the tournament with the largest list of entries this year, as one more step toward building McMinnville’s program into a state contender. His pride in both his team’s performance and in the encouragement from the supporters of McMinnville wrestling beamed brightly after the successful finish.

The tournament featured four mats on the main floor, two mats in the upstairs event for the overflow of jayvee matches and two more mats for the girls’ division. 

The Grizzlies had three wrestlers earn podium finishes, including Lucien Lefebvre in the 182-pound class. Lefebvre epitomizes the growth of the program. A senior, he began his wrestling career six years ago in the middle school program.

Lefebvre earned the 182-pound title with three victories by falls, although his tournament—winning match took him to the limit against Canby’s Cash Montgomery.

“He seemed a little stronger — and during the second period when I was feeling a bit exhausted — I just kinda laid down on my belly. When it came time for me to get up and work my stuff, it worked out for me,” Lefebvre said.

In that third round, Lefebvre’s conditioning kicked in, and he pinned Montgomery 34 seconds into the championship round.

At 132 pounds, Chris Dillworth finished second to Stayton’s Mauro Michel in a hard-fought match. Dillworth finished fourth in state last year and has his sights set on reaching the finals this year. Against Michel, a 4A three-time state champ, Dillworth lost by a 4-0 mark.

Disappointed in the final result, he said, “I think I could have wrestled better. But this is an opportunity for me to improve. Now I’ve got to get back in the wrestling room and take what I learned today and be ready for the next match.”

Max Vander Meide won his final match of the day to earn a third-place in the 120-pound weight class. Vander Meide triumphed in a 17-5 quarterfinal win over Elisha Smith of Barlow, but fell to Stayton’s Wyatt Hooper, 14-8, in the semifinal match. He rebounded in the consolation bracket with a 4-3 decision over David Weathers of Tillamook and then outpointed Canby’s Craig Williams 2-1 for third place.

Barich said, “Max has made great strides in his ability and has really matured from his sophomore to junior year. He’s one of those kids who’s all-wrestling all day — and who is dedicated to learning to get better each day.”

Barich while the tournament experience benefits his team and those teams who participated in terms of preparation for upcoming conference, district, and state competitions, hosting the tournament takes a little out of the home squad.

“The team was here late Friday setting up and then here at 6 a.m. to finish getting everything in place.  Then there’s the pressure of doing well at your home tourney and of course the expectations of performing well with family and friends in the stands. That takes bit out of our guys – but I am really proud of how they performed with all that was on their plate and particularly proud and grateful for the support from our local wrestling community,” he said.

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