Wrestlers win 18-team tourney

Husky training, character and discipline led to a championship at an 18-team wrestling tournament at Sheldon Dec. 28-29.

“After the first day, there was six points separating first through fourth place,” Coach Steve Thorpe said. The Huskies had 86 points. Cascade was just one point behind that. North Salem and Silverton each had 81 points.

In the end, the Huskies placed first with 364 points. North Salem placed second with 247 points; Cascade, third, 235; Silverton, 177; Dallas, fifth, 153.5; Harrisburg, sixth, 147.5; Mountain View, seventh, 126; Pleasant Hill, eight, 125; Centennial, ninth, 124; Churchill, 10th, 91; Central Linn, 11th, 89; Marshfield, 12th, 86.5; Gold Beach, 13th, 68; South Salem, 14th, 55; South Eugene, 15th, 52; Crescent Valley, 16th, 49; Rex Putnam, 17th, 39; Sheldon, 18th, 39.

“To break the tournament open on day two, that doesn’t have a lot to do with technique or your bracketing when you blow the other teams away by over 100 points,” Thorpe said. “It has to do with the character, discipline and training of our athletes.

“We won a lot of close matches, and we also won matches we shouldn’t have won. That’s what you’ve got to do to win a tournament.”

Mitch Grove won the 103-pound division after going down to the weight over the break, Thorpe said. It was his first time competing at that weight, and he did well.

His brother Matt Grove met up with and lost to teammate Taylor Tagle in the 112-pound championship, Thorpe said. “It’s great when you meet your temmate in the finals.”

This was Tagle’s first tournament, Thorpe said, and it was a great way to start.

Danny Johnson met the top-ranked wrestler in the state, Zach Clark of Cascade, at 119 pounds and beat him 5-4. Clark is a transfer from Silverton.

“It was a shock to a lot of people,” Thorpe said. “I think the only people not surprised were wearing green and gold.”

Johnson’s performance in that match gives him the outstanding wrestler designation for the tournament, Thorpe said.

Nick Pitts met Cascade’s Austin Kelly of Cascade, winning 8-3, Thorpe said, showing he has taken his wrestling to the next level.

Cascade is the Huskies’ number-one rival at this point, Thorpe said. The Huskies lost to Cascade at the Cascade tournament before Christmas break, so the team was happy to come back and beat Cascade at Sheldon.

At 285 pounds, Shaw Valentine “won the tournament,” Thorpe said. “He pinned his way through the tournament. He’s starting to be a very good wrestler. He doesn’t panic. He just wrestles solid. He does a few things, and he does them very well.

There are many Huskies who didn’t place but scored a lot of points, he said. Others placed second, third and fourth. “I’m just as proud of them as the guys that got first.”

The Huskies next wrestle at 6 p.m. Thursday at Central in the league opener. On Saturday, Sweet Home, the 4A state champion, will travel to Roseburg where they will wrestle Roseburg, the 6A champion, and Hermiston, the 5A champion.


103 – Mitch Grove, first, fall, 4:34; Tyler Holly, fourth, fall, 3:57.

112 – Taylor Tagle, first, decision, 8-1; Matt Grove, second, decision, 8-1.

119 – Danny Johnson, first, 5-4.

125 – Casey Johnson, third, decision, 7-1; Nikki Smith, fourth, decision, 7-1.

130 – Jack Perry, second, fall, 1:34.

140 – Brock Crocker, second, 11-3.

145 – Levi Weikel, third, fall, 3:54.

160 – Nick Pitt, first, 8-3.

189 – Anthony Albright, third, fall, 3:14.

285 – Shaw Valentine, first, fall, 2:24.