Depleted wrestlers take sixth at tough Rose City; girls host first tournament

Sweet Home’s boys placed sixth in the 22-team Rose City Championships last weekend, while the Huskies hosted the first-ever all-girls high school tournament in Sweet Home.

Sweet Home’s finish was book-ended by individual titles from from Kyle Sieminski at 106 pounds and Colby Gazeley at 285.

“Kyle dominated his weight class,” said Coach Steve Thorpe of Sieminski, a sophomore, who registered four straight falls, none of his matches lasting longer than one 2:19. “It was his first time at 106. I was proud of him.”

Gazeley, he said, had to take a little harder route to the championship, registering come-from-behind wins in the quarterfinals (a fall in 3:55 against Clayton Maus of

Camas (Wash.) Union, and the semis (a fall in 5:51 over Cole Steketee of Sprague), and finally, a 4-1 win over Thurston’s Keannan Bowditch in the final – another come-from-behind win.

Thorpe said Gazeley worked hard the previous week.

“He got better in areas he needed to get better in,” he said, adding that Gazeley “doesn’t miss anything” – early-morning workouts and runs, workout sessions and lifting. “He’s always there and it paid off for him.”

Other place-winners for the boys were: Jake Sieminski, second at 132; Kyle Watkins, sixth at 126; and Ryker Hartsook, sixth at 152.

Sieminski faced off with defending Rose City champ Ethan Ritchie of Newberg in the final, losing a 3-0 decision.

“The kid got a takedown early,” Thorpe said. “It was a great match that pitted two great wrestlers against each other and that’s the kind of score you get.”

Hartsook, sophomore, lost his opening match to Logan Sunnell of Tualatin, then responded with five straight wins as he came up the backside of the bracket, before losing 10-2 to Patrick Negra of Newberg and 11-2 to Trae Frederick of Newberg.

“That takes a lot of heart,” Thorpe said of Hartsook’s run. “That is something he does not lack. He’s a gutsy kid.”

Sweet Home scored 192 points to finish in front of Cascade (12th, 95 points) and Banks (15th, 74.5) among 4A schools entered in the tournament, which ran Friday and Saturday at Westview High School and included teams from both Oregon and Washington.

Newberg won the tournament with 473 points, ahead of Thurston (296.5), Sprague (238) and Dallas (223.5).

The Huskies were missing several usual varsity wrestlers, but still placed, Thorpe noted.

“We entered that tournament so short-handed, but we were still among the top teams. That shows we’re having guys winning matches, even if they’re not placing. That’s so important.”

Officials results were not kept for the girls tournament, but the Huskies got matches, which was the important thing, Thorpe said. ”

“I think we had over 100 girls there,” he said. “We have to find ways to get our kids matches. Women’s wrestling has grown to the point that having competitions is so important to get them the matches they need, get us ready for dual tournament, for regionals and state.”

Girls Coach Gracie Stutzman said all the girls got three matches and that her team “did well.”

“We had a huge improvement from the week before. They’re all getting a lot better really quickly.”

Sweet Home will next wrestle at home, at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, hosting Cascade, North Marion, South Albany and Stayton.

They will then wrestle Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Thurston Invitational, their last competition before the Christmas holiday. Following that, they will wrestle Dec. 29-30 at the Northwest Duals at the Linn County Expo Center.

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