Husky boys win state wrestling title; girls second

Scott Swanson

Sweet Home finished a COVID-shortened wrestling season Saturday, June 26, with an exclamation point – the Huskies’ first team state title since 2017 and the school’s ninth overall, and four individual champions and one runner-up.

At the state 4A Championship tournament, hosted by Cascade High School, the Huskies put their depth and skills to work to finish with eight medalists in addition to the four champions, out of 21 qualifiers.

The Huskies scored 262 points to finish far ahead of second-place La Grande (167), last year’s champions – Sweet Home was second in 2020 – and third-place Tillamook (147). Philomath was fourth with 124 points.

“Of the 21 we entered, 18 scored points for us,” Coach Steve Thorpe said of his team. ” When you out-distance the second-place team by 90 points, you have people getting falls. We had multiple kids do great things.”

Individual state champions were freshman Kyle Sieminski at 106 pounds, sophomore Jacob Sieminski at 120, junior Brayden Newport at 145, and senior Tristan Spencer at 152.

Junior Jessie Jamison lost a 7-4 decision in the 160-pound final to Cascade’s Lance Van Hoose to place second.

The Sieminski brothers, whose father Clint was a three-time state titlist for Sweet Home, became the first siblings to win titles in the same tournament and the first multigenerational titlists in school history, Thorpe said.

Kyle Sieminski pinned his way to the 106-pound final, where he met Colby Cook of Corbett, whom Thorpe called “a tough-as-nails kid,” winning 6-4.

“Kyle has done all those extras,” he said. “He traveled, found matches, made it priority to compete, find tournaments to compete in in Utah, Idaho, Arizona. He also played baseball. That’s what I like about these guys. They are multi-sport athletes.”

Sieminski said he “was getting nervous” going into the final, but “I guess it worked out in the end. I felt pretty controlled doing it.”

Jacob Sieminski powered through the 120-pound bracket, pinning three opponents, including finalist Hunter Smith of Banks in 1:45, and winning his other match with a technical fall , 16-0 in four minutes over Blake Niemann of Philomath.

“Jake literally dominated the class,” Thorpe said. “He puts lot of points on the board, winning that state title. His goal from beginning was to win a state title.

“I believed in myself,” Sieminski said.

Newport pinned his way through the bracket, finishing off Elijah LaCosse of Siuslaw in 2:45, to join an elite company of two other Huskies, Jackson Royer and Colton Schilling, who have done so.

“Braden Newport earned that state title from stuff he did as a little boy,” Thorpe said. “I do not know how many hundreds of thousands of miles I have racked up with him in the back seat.

“His state title was earned. He changed the mental part of what he did in match. He wrestled lot smarter than he has. He had a plan for every match, scouted every match. He knew what he was going after.”

Newport said a head butt early on made the first-round pin that much more sweet. Plus, he matched his older brother Kris in winning state.

“It’s really cool to get my first title along with my brother’s first title,” he said, adding that he was energized by watching Jacob Sieminski’s match. “I was super confident, then I saw little Sieminski, Jake, and that fired me up.”

Thorpe noted that simply qualifying out of Sweet Home’s region is an accomplishment.

“Our region had 11 state champions out of 14 weights,” he said.

As with Newport, 152-pounder Spencer and 160-pounder Jamison both faced finals opponents from their own region.

Spencer capped what Thorpe termed a “stormy career” at Sweet Home, referring to the multiple serious injuries the senior had experienced in previous years, by pinning Junction City’s Carson Henderson in 1:12 to win the state championship.

“I do not know whether he’s ever wrestled entirely healthy,” Thorpe said, noting that Spencer has entered previous state tournaments recovering from a broken thumb, a broken nose and a collapsed septum. “He’s wrestling in his father’s memory. I can honestly say that he was one of the hardest workers we had this year. He never wavered from the goal. I don’t think he let anything get in his way.

“To get a pin in his final match puts a stamp on his career. I do not worry about what kind of man he will be because I know how he will respond to things.”

Though Jamison was “so disappointed with second,” Thorpe said, he pulled off an amazing comeback in the championship semifinal against Junction City’s Emmett Henderson, winning an 8-7 victory after being four points down with 20 seconds to go against a very good wrestler, throwing Henderson in the final seconds to win the match.

Other medalists were sophomore Ethan Spencer, Tristan’s brother, third at 182, and fifth-place winners senior Treyson Smith at 120, junior Kyle Watkins at 126, senior Christian Gregory at 132, junior Trenton Smith at 138, and sophomore Kaden Zajic at 170, and, placing sixth at 220, senior Jake Fanning.

Ethan Spencer has wrestled up all year, at 182 pounds, which is about 10 pounds over his actual weight, “because we needed him to,” Thorpe said.

Spencer lost in the semis to Madras’ Reece White, who is “big and strong,” Thorpe said.

“Ethan came back from that to rebound and win his next two matches by falls. Those are bonus points. He finished on an odd (number – third).

“He knows what it’s like to be really close now, so he’s going to have to change some things for next year and work harder if he wants to win a state title.”

Treyson Smith, who wrestled his first match at the district tournament after battling pneumonia for most of the season, Thorpe said, is “unique” among all the wrestlers he has coached.

“I have coached a lot of kids with heart, but the uniqueness about Treyson is that he makes me want to be a better coach, he makes other wrestlers want to be better wrestlers. He’s a three-time state placer and he helped us win a state championship.”

Watkins, Thorpe noted, is also a three-time placewinner who had to come through the back door after losing a 4-2 decision to Hidden Valley’s Hunter Lucas in the quarterfinals. But he responded by beating two wrestlers whom he’d lost to in the past, including an overtime victory over Caleb Blackburn of Philomath and a revenge win over Lucas in the fifth-place match.

Gregory, who suffered a shoulder injury earlier in the year, regained momentum after he lost in the semifinals, Thorpe said, finishing with a pin of Molalla’s Colby Findley in the final seconds of their fifth-place match.

“He’s a motorcycle racer and he knows how to keep going. Christian’s a tough guy.”

Trenton Smith was one of the Huskies who won matches “he shouldn’t have,” Thorpe said, pinning two-time state placer Tanner Wood of Mazama in 5:43 – seconds from the end of their fifth-place match.

Thorpe said those bonus points added up big for the Huskies.

“We had 37 falls. Those are 74 bonus points from falls. Tillamook was second with 24. Trenton finishing fifth was a big thing for us.”

Zajic was another who beat people he shouldn’t have, Thorpe said, noting that the sophomore pulled off a spectacular comeback in a wrestle-back match at districts to make the tournament at all. Zajic pinned two seeded wrestlers before losing to eventual state champion Blaise Pindell and then to third-place finisher Mason Buss of Siuslaw, which sent him to the fifth-place match, where he pinned another seeded wrestler, Cole Shafer of LaGrande.

“This gives him nothing but momentum going into summer and next year,” Thorpe said.

Though Fanning was visibly crushed after losing 7-4 in the fifth-place 220 match to the wrestler who pinned him in their opener and sent him into the consolation bracket, he’d already beaten more highly regarded wrestlers on the way to that point, Thorpe said, including an overtime defeat of Banks’ Mishael Mauck.

“Jake works so hard to get what he deserves. He lost by one to a kid that had pinned him in a very controversial match. It could have gone either way. He has an outstanding work ethic, outstanding character. I’m so glad he got what he deserved.”

Thorpe said he was proud of the wrestlers who didn’t make it to Saturday’s matches, but showed up anyway, including all four girls who placed at their state tournament Thursday.

“It was unselfish,” he said.

Looking forward, the Huskies will host a girls wrestling camp July 7-9, for girls fifth grade through high school, followed by a boys camp July 10-13 for middle school through high school.

Team Scores – (1) Sweet Home (21 wrestlers) 262; (2) La Grane (16) 167; (3) Tillamook (16) 137; (4) Philomath (8) 124; (5) Estacada (12) 122; (7) Junction City (5) 99; (8) Banks (8) 95; (9) Maxama (13) 95; (10) Stayton (4) 73; (11) Hidden Valley (12) 67; (12) Baker (11) 66; (13) Madras (8) 43; (14) Cascade (8) 41; (15) Woodburn (7) 38.5; (16) Ontario (8) 34.5; (17-tie) Elmira (5), Henley (11) 33; (19) North Marion (6) 32; (20) Molalla (2) 31; (21) Corbett (2) 24; (22) Seaside (5) 22; (23) Sisters (5) 20; (24) McLoughlin (4) 17; (25) Gladstone (2) 16; (26) Marshfield (5) 13; (27) Phoenix (5) 8; (28) North Valley (6) 5; (29) Klamath Union (1) 3.

Sweet Home Individual Results

106 – Kyle Sieminski (freshman) pinned Marcus Chamberlain (Baker) (0:31); pinned Nehemiah Gaul (Estacada) (0:53); pinned Bryce Haltiner (Tillamook) (2:00); decisioned Colby Cook (Corbett) (6-4); placed first.

106 – Evan Ashcraft (freshman) lost by fall to Mason Wolcott (La Grande) (3:30); pinned Nick Sandberg (Ontario) (1:30); lost by fall to Colton Barklow (Elmira) (2:50); did not place.

113 – Jayce Miller (sophomore) lost major decision to Carlos Torres (Madras) (9-1); pinned Payton Burlingame (Cascade) 0-2 (3:13); lost by fall to Joshua Perdew (Tillamook) (2:00); did not place.

120 – Jake Sieminski (sophomore) pinned Sage Darlington (Baker) (0:20); won by tech fall over Blake Niemann (Philomath) (16-0, 4:00); pinned Kai Carson (La Grande) (3:00); pinned Hunter Smith (Banks) (1:45); placed first.

120 – Treyson Smith (senior) decisioned Jaxson Leonard (La Grande) (2-0); pinned Baird Hagerty (Tillamook) (1:15); lost 2-1 to Hunter Smith (Banks); lost major decision to Blake Niemann (Philomath) (12-2); decisioned Yoskar De la Mora (Siuslaw) (5-0); placed fifth.

126 – Brandon Elder (sophomore) lost by fall to Dylan Smith (Banks) (3:31); lost by fall to Treyce Horton (Mazama) (2:38); did not place.

132 – Kyle Watkins (junior) pinned Cole Hester (Baker) (0:55); lost decision to Hunter Lucas (Hidden Valley) (4-2); pinned Treyce Horton (Mazama) (2:21); won OT tie-breaker over Caleb Blackburn (Philomath) (4-2); lost decision to Austin Simmons (Tillamook) (8-5); decisioned Hunter Lucas (Hidden Valley) (7-0); placed fifth.

132 – Christian Gregory (senior) pinned Isaac Woods (McLoughlin) (1:56); lost by all to George Tapia (Hidden Valley) (1:07); pinned Jamis Gonzalez (Ontario) (1:33); pinned Kevin Guzman (North Marion) (2:54); lost by fall to Bradley Rieger (Tillamook) (1:27); pinned Colby Findley (Molalla) (0:36); placed fifth.

138 – Tanner McMahon (junior) lost by fall to Tanner Wood (Mazama) (1:58); lost by fall to Jonathan Calvert (Marshfield) (3:28); did not place.

138 – Trenton Smith (sophomore) decisioned Trey Conner (Corbett) (6-5); lost by tech fall to Braden Carson (La Grande) (17-1, 4:23); won by forfeit; pinned Kaiden King (Estacada) (1:35); lost by decision to Benito Roman (Woodburn) (8-4); pinned Tanner Wood (Mazama) (5:43). Placed fifth.

145 – Brayden Newport (junior) pinned Mason Core (North Valley) (2:40); pinned Caleb McDonald (Estacada) (1:31); pinned Brysen Penaloza (La Grande) (4:31); pinned Elijah LaCosse (Siuslaw) (2:45); placed first.

145 – Ryker Hartsook (freshman) lost 10-8 to Gavin Stone (Baker); won by tech fall over Luke Bozied (Banks) (17-1, 3:42); lost 7-0 to Parker McKibbin (Tillamook); did not place.

152 – Tristan Spencer (senior) pinned James Goddard (Tillamook) (2:24); pinned Eli Bisenius (La Grande) (1:24); pinned Ruben Hernandez (Ontario) (3:23); pinned Carson Henderson (Junction City) (1:12); placed first.

160 – Jesse Jamison (junior) pinned Isaiah Martinez (Madras) (0:39); pinned Gilbert Whitlatch (Tillamook) (2:41); decisioned Emmett Henderson (Junction City) (8-7); lost 7-4 to Lance Van Hoose (Cascade); placed second.

170 – Kaden Zajic (sophomore) pinned Fisher Bastian (Hidden Valley) (1:46); pinned Hayden Hamerl (Tillamook) (0:48); lost by fall to Blaise Pindell (Philomath) (1:44); lost by fall to Mason Buss (Siuslaw) (0:27); decisioned Cole Shafer (La Grande) (8-6); placed fifth.

182 – Ethan Spencer (sophomore) pinned Jared Isaacson (La Grande) (1:07); pinned James Durand (Estacada) (0:57); lost by fall to Reece White (Madras) (4:22); pinned Dayne Muller (Siuslaw) (0:56); pinned Broady Kitzmiller (Gladstone) (3:35).

182 – Charlie Crawford (junior) pinned Jacob Mills (Baker) (5:10); lost by fall Miquel Niemi (Tillamook) (0:33); pinned Patrick Calhoun (Phoenix) (2:41); lost 1-0 to Dayne Muller (Siuslaw); did not place.

195 – David Steagall (freshman) lost by fall to Jackson Turner (Estacada) (2:40); lost by fall to Brady David (Madras) (3:29); did not place.

195 – Tucker Weld (junior) won by medical forfeit over Miguel Velazquez (Marshfield); lost by fall to Ethan Richards (Mazama) (2:32); lost by fall to Rafael Martinez (Tillamook) (1:00); did not place.

220 – Jake Fanning (senior) lost by fall to Jason Ortega (Mazama) (1:19); pinned Jayden Clark (Baker) (0:38); decisioned Joseph Baynard (Phoenix) (3-2); won in sudden-death OT over Mishael Mauck (Banks) (4-2); lost by fall to Lawson Talamantez (Seaside) (1:20); lost 7-4 to Jason Ortega (Mazama); finished sixth.

285 – Colby Gazeley (junior) pinned Chris Gandy (Madras) (3:55); lost by fall to Ramsey Hering (Banks) (0:19); lost by fall to Joseph Choi (Philomath) (4:41); did not place.