Husky wrestlers win regional title, qualify 14 for state

Scott Swanson

Sweet Home won its third straight regional wrestling title Saturday night, punctuated by some big performances along the way in the Special District 2 championship tournament at Philomath.

The Huskies qualified 14 wrestlers for the state meet, to be held Feb. 24-25 at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

Sweet Home’s four regional champions were freshman Jackson Royer at 106 pounds, senior Kobe Olson at 126, senior Jake Porter at 145, and senior Bryce Coulter at 189. Five Huskies finished second: sophomore Robert Watkins at 113, sophomore Robbie Yunke at 120, freshman Travis Thorpe at 126, junior Ricky Yunke at 138 and freshman Nich James at 160. Placing third were senior Dillon Stutzman at 138, beating teammate Zac Fox, a junior, in the consolation final – both will go to state; and junior Justin Kurtz at 138. Also placing fourth and qualifying for state were freshman Bryce Porter, who won a wrestle-back at 113 to qualify, and senior Oscar Hernandez at 152.

Other place-winners were: Connor Ford, eighth at 106; Boe Baxter, fifth at 145; Damion Schocker, eighth at 160; Bryson Denver, sixth at 170; Levi Baird, eighth at 182; Devin Stafford, fifth at 195; Josh Rice, eighth at 220; and Justin Miller, eighth at 285.

“I’m pretty excited,” Coach Steve Thorpe said. “After looking at the brackets and the seeding, I thought we were going to get anywhere from 13 to 15 through to state. It never goes exactly as planned. We got nine guys into the finals and every one of them competed.”

The Huskies scored 407 points, followed by North Marion (300.5), Cascade (244.5) and Junction City and Elmira, which tied for fourth at 147.5 each.

It was a big night for a lot of Huskies.

Olson won his fourth straight district title and will now seek a repeat state championship.

“That puts him on a very short list,” Thorpe said.

The championship bout at 126 pounds pitted Olson against freshman Travis Thorpe, in a tough 2-0 chess-match decision for Olson that included a lot of scrambling and counters, but not points.

“0-2 is a good match for him,” Steve Thorpe said of his son’s performance.

Olson noted that this was the fourth time he’d wrestled a Husky in the finals – three of them against teammates and last year’s championship coming against North Marion’s Russell Stigall.

He said he doesn’t wrestle Travis Thorpe “every day,” but they drill often.

Jake Porter’s total time on the mat during the tournament was 1:51, as he demolished opponents – including a 13-second pin of Cascade’s Asa Alexander in the 145-pound championship match.

“He put a stamp on it in the final,” Steve Thorpe said. “He didn’t wrestle two minutes total in that tournament.”

Porter said he always plans a strategy for his matches, “what the outcome’s going to be.”

“The whole time I was warming up, I was thinking, ‘I’m gonna do that, I’m gonna do that.’ And I did it. I pinned him very quickly, which was exactly what I was thinking in my head.”

Another big performance came from Coulter at 189 pounds.

“Bryce Coulter is wrestling better than I’ve ever seen him,” Thorpe said of the senior who struggled with injuries the past two years and came off a knee surgery last summer.

Coulter beat North Marion’s Matt Carrillo in the final 10-4, but the only reason Carrillo scored was because Coulter let him escape to take him down again, almost at will, in a dominating performance.

“It feels so good,” Coulter said of his first regional title. “I’ve had injuries, bad luck. It feels great to finally get what I deserve and I’m really happy about that.”

He noted that he cut from a high weight of 215 after the surgery and “finally shed all my fat.

“It helps to be bigger and faster and stronger.”

Royer, a quiet freshman, pinned all three of his opponents en route to the 106-pound title.

“Jackson earned his,” Thorpe said.

Royer said he’d wrestled his finals opponent, Cameron Truesdell of Junction City, once before, in eighth grade.

“I did remember him a little bit, but I just go out and wrestle, honestly – see what happens,” he said.

Winning a regional title was his “short-term goal,” he said. “I’m still looking forward to state.”

Thorpe noted that all his finalists competed hard.

Robby Yunke lost 9-5 to the eventual Outstanding Wrestler in the lower weights, North Marion’s Stigall, at 120 pounds.

Watkins lost by a fall after going nearly four minutes against Cascade’s Kane Nixon at 113 pounds. Watkins took Nixon, who’s only lost twice this year, down but got tangled up in a scramble and got pinned.

“Robert is a tough kid,” Thorpe said. “He’ll bounce back from this and learn from it.”

James, he noted, “went after a kid who’s the No. 2-ranked 160-pounder in the state” in a technical fall loss by the freshman to senior Gregory Wing of North Marion.

He also credited Bryce Porter’s effort in fighting his way to state.

“How huge is it, for Bryce Porter to come back and get fifth, then win a wrestle-back?” Thorpe said.

Kurtz also delivered, at 138 pounds, wrestling injured.

“But he stepped it up to make sure he got in,” Thorpe said.

He also credited Stutzman and Fox of securing state berths by facing off in the 132-pound third-place final, and Hernandez for battling his way in at 152.

All but one Sweet Home wrestler scored, he noted.

“That’s great. I was proud of Josh Rice for winning two matches (at 220) and Bo Baxter got fifth in what I thought was the toughest weight class in the tournament. I thought that was absolutely the best he could have done.

“Every time you win by over 100, that’s good. Guys competed. That’s all you can ask for.”

Seedings for the state tournament will be announced next weekend.

Special District 2 Wrestling Championships

Sweet Home Results

Team Scores – Sweet Home 407; (2) North Marion 300.5; (3) Cascade 244.5; (4) Junction City 147.5; (5) Elmira 147.5; (6) Sutherlin 127; (7) Stayton 121.5; (8) Yamhill-Carlton/Gaston 109; (9) Newport 84; (10) Sister 74; (11) Philomath 71.5; (12) Cottage Grove 65.

106 – Connor Ford pinned Richelle Rolfe (CG) 0:37; lost 6-0 to Cristian Ramirez (NM);

pinned Garrett Edwards (Suth) 0:26; lost by fall to Zane Shadrick (JC) 1:48; placed eighth.

106 – Jackson Royer pinned Gabriel Gunter (Stay) 0:30; pinned Zane Shadrick (JC) 3:00;

pinned David Villegas (C) 1:44; pinned Cameron Truesdell (JC) 0:44; placed first, qualified for state.

113 – Bryce Porter lost by fall to Kane Nixon (C) 4:41; pinned Cody Murphy (Stay) 2:30; pinned Case Wells (Suth) 5:44; pinned Dalton Ford (Sis) 3:04; Derek Blake (Y-C) won by maj. dec. over Bryce Porter (SH) 15-1; pinned Hunter McCaskill (P) 4:50; pinned Joe Baxter (C) 2:24; placed fourth, qualified for state.

113 – Robert Watkins pinned Eithan Routledge (NM) 0:35; pinned Chance Ralston (CG) 1:16; dec. Derek Blake (Y-C) 2-1; lost by fall to Kane Nixon (C) 3:43; placed second, qualified for state.

120 – Robbie Yunke pinned Austin Weidenback (E) 0:21; pinned Joey Casiano (C) 1:17; pinned Ryan Ninman (Stay) 3:24; lost 9-5 to Russel Stigall (NM); placed second, qualified for state.

126 – Kobe Olson pinned Juan Martinez (NM) 0:59; pinned Brandon Gilliam (JC) 1:04; pinned Riley Craig (E) 2:58; dec. Travis Thorpe (SH) 2-0; placed first, qualified for state.

126 – Travis Thorpe pinned Hunter Davis (E) 2:50; pinned Jacob Dunn (CG) 3:21; won by maj. dec. over Kyle McConkey (NM) 8-0; lost 2-0 to Kobe Olson (SH); placed second, qualified for state.

132 – Dillon Stutzman pinned Mark Richardson (E) 0:37; dec. Keltin Benson (P) 12-8;

lost 7-4 to Derek Estrada (NM); pinned Tanner Gibson (JC) 0:29; pinned Zak Fox (SH) 4:14; placed third, qualified for state.

132 – Zak Fox pinned Logan Walker (E) 3:22; lost by fall to Tanner Gibson (JC) 5:46; pinned William Black (Suth) 2:24; pinned Keltin Benson (P) 2:49; pinned Bailey Archuleta (Stay) 1:17; lost by fall to

Dillon Stutzman (SH) 4:14; won by rule over Bailey Archuleta (Stay) 18-6; placed fourth, qualified for state.

138 – Justin Kurtz pinned Tanner Crane (JC) 3:49; pinned Isaiah Lepre (Suth) 4:49; lost 8-3 to Avidan Sanchez (NM); pinned Owen Amerson (Y-C) 4:24; dec. Saul Tarula (NM) 7-5; placed third, qualified for state.

138 – Ricky Yunke pinned Jayden Jensen (P) 1:13; pinned Shane Cazimero (E) 1:15; pinned Saul Tarula (NM) 5:29; lost 6-3 to Avidan Sanchez (NM); placed second, qualified for state.

145 – Jake Porter pinned Luke Johns (CG) 0:41; pinned Travis Hodgson (JC) 0:57; pinned Asa Alexander (C) 0:13; placed first, qualified for state.

145 – Boe Baxter dec. Edgar Gonzalez (NM) 10-3; lost by maj. dec. to Tabor Magnuson (Y-C) 16-6; pinned Max Harsch (E) 1:00; pinned Damien Wills (Sis) 2:18; lost by maj. dec. to Travis Hodgson (JC) 11-3; pinned Travis Randall (NM) 1:47; lost to Travis Hodgson (JC) 20-9; placed fifth.

152 – CJ Mitchell pinned Trystin Teal (C) 1:24; lost by fall to Lane Stigall (NM) 0:28; lost by fall to

Rowdy Ramirez (E) 5:48; did not place.

152 – Oscar Hernandez pinned Drew Swenson (CG) 3:14; lost by fall to Kade VanDeHey (C) 2:44;

pinned Chase Campbell (JC) 1:48; dec. James Franklin (Newport) 6-3; won by maj. dec. over Luke Nauman (Y-C) 10-1; lost by maj. dec. to James Howell (P) 15-4; placed fourth, qualified for state.

160 – Nich James pinned Moises Ramirez (C) 3:07; pinned Michel Vargas (JC) 1:54; dec. Cleveland Smith (Stay) 8-2; lost by tech fall to Gregory Wing (NM) 3:32/15-0; placed second, qualified for state.

160 – Damion Schocker dec. Cameron Labahn (P) 12-5; lost by fall to Gregory Wing (NM) 1:37;

pinned Bryan Lehman (Suth) 1:40; lost 7-2 to Clay Dickerson (Stay); placed eighth.

170 – Lucas Victor lost by fall to Jesse Wagner (Newport) 2:08; pinned Tyler McHuron-Guss (P) 2:36;

lost by fall to Gunnar Cave (E) 1:22; did not place.

170 – Bryson Denver pinned Israel Martinez (C) 0:28; lost 11-5 to Conner Grauf (Suth); pinned Nick Payton (E) 1:44; pinned Sean Herber (JC) 4:53; lost 9-4 to Alec Roberts (NM); lost 6-3 to Gunnar Cave (E); placed sixth.

182 – Bryce Coulter pinned Kevin Dennis (CG) 0:42; pinned Christian Bearegard (Suth) 3:16;

pinned Mat Thorne (E) 2:51; dec. Matt Carrillo (NM) 10-4; placed first, qualified for state.

182 – Levi Baird lost by fall to Matt Carrillo (NM) 1:16; pinned Austin Dempsey (CG) 2:36;

lost by fall to Aiden Burroughs (Stay) 0:49; placed eighth.

195 – Devin Stafford lost by fall to Zachary Lepre (Suth) 4:46; pinned Eddie Steele (E) 0:43; pinned Miguel Bracamontes (P) 0:52; pinned Jimmy Acevedo (Newport) 0:39; lost by fall to Ramon Organiz (NM) 1:55; pinned Zackary Rodriguez (Y-C) 0:49; finished fifth.

220 – Josh Rice pinned Cole Herber (JC) 0:34; lost by fall to Andrew Smalley (Suth) 0:49; pinned Matthew Lavander (Y-C) 1:52; lost by fall to Tyler Surface (Sis) 1:59; placed eighth.

220 – David McMullen lost by fall to Logan Schmidt (E) 0:28; lost by fall to Casey Warburton (Sis) 0:39; did not place.

285 – Justin Miller lost by fall to Seth Everetts (C) 0:57; pinned Tanner Strong (Suth) 0:23; lost by fall to Macoy Christman (C) 1:02; placed eighth.