Difficult Day 1 leaves Husky wrestlers eighth at state

Scott Swanson

It definitely wasn’t the finish Sweet Home’s wrestlers hoped for, as a pretty fine season for the Huskies ended Saturday afternoon at the OSAA 4A state championships.

Sweet Home finished eighth overall in what arguably was the toughest division in state wrestling this year, led by Crook County which steamrolled its way to a third straight state team title, scoring 327 points – a state record for all divisions – to second-place Henley’s 165.5. Marshfield was third with 124.5.

Senior Tyler Schilling was the top placewinner for the Huskies, finishing third at 126 pounds. Junior Tyrel Miller (132) and sophomore Kobe Olson (113) both finished fourth.

Crook County finished with four individual state championships after placing nine wrestlers in the finals.

“Eighth place. I would have liked to be higher but it didn’t work out that way,” said Sweet Home Coach Steve Thorpe. “We didn’t have the vets to slip in there for the trophy. I think our youth kind of showed.”

It was difficult from the start for Sweet Home, as the young Huskies collectively stumbled out of the starting blocks Friday. Seven of Sweet Home’s 12 state qualifiers lost their opening matches and after the second round only sophomore Kobe Olson was left in the championship bracket. By the end of Friday, only four Huskies were left in the tournament.

“We had a bad day,” Thorpe said.

Senior 120-pounder Anthony Hardee lost his consolation quarterfinal early Saturday, leaving Kobe Olson (113), Tyler Schilling (126) and Tyrel Miller (132) as the only Sweet Home wrestlers left.

“We got off to a really bad start,” Hardee said. “We had a lot of losses in the first round that we shouldn’t have, honestly. We should have had more guys in the tournament (on Day 2).”

Olson, who was seeded fourth going into the tournament, was still in the championship bracket on Saturday, but lost to No. 1 seed Francisco Barrera of Ontario, a veteran senior who ended up winning the state title, in the semis to drop into the consolation bracket.

But Olson then beat Pacer Quire of Crook County 7-5 in a scramblefest of a semifinal to face third-seeded A.J. Lira of Marshfield in the consolation final, losing that one 13-3.

“I didn’t end up what I was hoping to I’d finish,” Olson said after his final match. “When I won my first two matches, I was pretty excited. That gave me a little hope. But you have to wrestle harder because once you get up to the semifinals and finals matches, you get the best kids in the state.”

Thorpe said Olson did well.

“Kobe Olson wrestled above himself,” he said. “He was very, very tough this weekend.”

Schilling lost his second match to Banks’ Kurt Mode, who finished second, but caught fire in the consolation bracket and pinned his first opponent, then major decisioned No. 3 seed Cade Hite of Marshfield 10-2 on his way to the consolation final, where he pinned Henley’s Quinton Hook in 1:17.

He said his slow start in the tournament has been a problem all year.

“I’ve had a rough first day of tournaments for a long time,” he said, noting that he won his opener by a point and then fell to Mode because “I didn’t defend shots the way I should have. I think it was nerves.

“Once I got on the back end, the nerves let up a little bit. I wish I could have wrestled like that (Friday) but I can’t take that one back.”

Thorpe said he was “proud” that Schilling “finished on an odd number – he goes out with a win.

Miller opened with a pin, then lost 9-3 to Blake McNall.

“I just didn’t show up to wrestle,” he said. “This is a tournament where you have to show up 100 percent or you’re gone”

In the consolation bracket he found himself facing Adam Keller of North Marion, who got an early lead on him in a match that would send the loser home without a medal.

“I wrestled Adam Keller earlier this year and I almost went in there overconfident,” Miller said. “I pinned him at Perry Burlison (the first tournament of the year).”

But Miller recovered and got Keller in a cradle, scoring back points, and pulling out the win.

“That kept me going,” he said. “It’s hard in this tournament.”

Thorpe said the three were competing in “very tough weights.”

“Tyrel Miller is probably one of the strongest wrestlers on our team. I would have loved to see him have a couple of those situations back, but he placed as high as he could place.

“I’m very proud of Ty and Kobe and Tyrel for placing,” he said. “You look across the board, the 4A is tough. Of our 12 wrestlers, 11 won matches.”

He said the team will take a “couple of days” off, then start focusing on next year and the upcoming high school freestyle and Greco tournaments.

Said senior Jason Miller, who also exited earlier than he would have liked, courtesy of an opponent he’d beaten earlier in the year: “Considering how young a team we are, I think we have done really good this year. We sent 12 kids to state and four were in the tournament on Saturday. It could be more, but what we have here is pretty special.”

Hardee said he thinks the Huskies will come back stronger.

“This is a very young team. We have like, what, four or five seniors. There are just so many young kids on the team and they’re just going to get better and better. I know Thorpe will work on them and make them a lot better for next year. I can’t wait to see them be state champions.”

Miller said he’s planning on improving.

“We don’t have many big guys but I think we will be solid in our lower weights,” he said. “I will be a little bit bigger next year – maybe 145 or 152. I’m young.”

Thorpe said this year’s team has been “unselfish.”

“I’m proud of the kids, what they’ve accomplished. We spent this season with guys stepping up, going into situations where they wrestled up a weight, where they filled in.

“I think we have kids who are ready to put the time in. Next year, seven of those guys who were at that tournament are coming back. Every kid will have the opportunity to get better.”

OSAA 4A State Wrestling Championships

Championship Finals and

Sweet Home Results

Team Scores