Eight Pioneer grapplers place at state tournament

Wyatt Law finishes third to lead Mac-Hi to sixth place in the team standings.

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PORTLAND - Eight of 15 Mac-Hi wrestlers placed at the Class 4A Oregon State finals at the Memorial Coliseum Thursday through Saturday.

"Anytime you take that many kids to state and about half of them place," Mac-Hi coach Beau Chester said, "then you know that you've had a good tournament. Especially against such great athletes and wrestlers that are here every year."

Senior Wyatt Law at 145 pounds led the way for the Pioneers with a third place-finish.

Law made his way into the championship semifinals before losing his first match, and then recoiled for two more wins to finish 4-1 at the event.

"I wasn't suprised with Law's finish," Chester said. "But I was very impressed and it was probably the best tournament that he has ever wrestled."

Two fourth-place finishers were sophomore Ryan Bullock (125 pounds) and junior Josh Rutherford (160).

Bullock was one of five Pioneers to reach the championship semifinals before losing once. Bullock finished 4-2 at the tournament and missed third place by a 6-5 decision.

"Ryan wrestled really well. He really didn't get blown away in any of his matches," Chester said. "He was really competitive and finished in the same place in state as last year."

Rutherford won his first two matches, then was pinned before rebounding to win, 8-1, against an Ontario rival, Matt Anthony. He lost again to finish 4-2.

"It was Josh's first experience at state and he did phenomenally well," Chester said.

Heavyweight Angel Palacios pinned his first competitor, won a decision and then lost in the semifinals, 2-1. Palacios went on to to lose another one-point decision before pinning his final opponent in 54 seconds to earn a fifth-place finish.

"Angel lost a couple of heartbreakers in the middle of the tournament," Chester said. "And then pinned his last kid. His last effort in his high school wrestling career really showed just how much heart that kid has."

Juniors Jesse Sargent (119) and Brandon Kralman (171) finished off the year with sixth-place finishes. Both wrestlers fought through the consolation bracket after losing early.

"Jesse showed a lot of perseverance in fighting his way the hard way throughout the tournament," Chester said. "That bracket was probably one of the toughest at state."

Kralman finished the event with a 4-2 record.

"Brandon finished the same place as last year," Chester said. "His weight class is loaded with good athletes. Anytime you get a placer, you've got to be happy for him."

Senior Nick Watts (215) had to forfeit his final match due to injury, but he was awarded sixth place.

Watts won his first three matches, two by pin, but stumbled in the semifinals by getting pinned himself. He was pinned again in the consolation semifinals before giving way to injury in his last scheduled match.

"Watts got slammed a couple of times and his head was kind of foggy," Chester said. "But for him to come back from a neck injury suffered before wrestling and wrestle in the districts, then state, shows a lot. I can't really comment on how brave and awesome the kid really is."

Rounding out the Mac-Hi placers was junior Lawrence Timmons (215), who ended the season with a seventh-place finish. Timmons qualified for seventh place after coming back from 8-2 and 10-4 deficits to win, 14-12, in overtime.

"Timmons had been wrestling at 189, but we bumped him up during the season," Chester said. "He really showed a lot of heart and determination to place where guys are 10-15 pounds heavier than him."

The three Mac-Hi freshman at state didn't place, but gained state experience.

Chandler Fortune and Eric Rayo, both at 103 pounds, qualified for state in their first year.

Rayo recorded one pin before being eliminated, and "Fortune wrestled two good matches," according to Chester.

Victor Perez (171) was in his first year of wrestling and "it was great to see him qualify for state and get that experience," Chester said.

Another notable non-placer was sophomore Francisco Saldana (160) who finished 2-2 in the tournament.

"Saldana is probably the best first-time wrestler that I've ever seen," Chester said.

Mac-Hi finished sixth in the team scoring with 115.5 points. Scappoose won the team title with 195 points, followed by Sweet Home with 182, North Marion 146, Phoenix 141.5 and Cascade 127.

103 - Nick Wisely, Cottage Grove, dec. Chandler Fortune, Mac-Hi 9-5. 103 - Scottie Stockman, Sweet Home, pinned Eric Rayo, Mac-Hi, 1:49. 119 - Jesse Sargent 5th, Mac-Hi, dec. Adam Hayner, Molalla, 4-1. 125 - Tyler Cowger, Sweet Home, dec. Ryan Bullock 4th, 6-5. 130 - James Bowers, North Valley, dec. Patrick Sheets, Mac-Hi, 9-7. 140 - Bobby Apparichio, Tillamook, dec. Joey Paez, Mac-Hi, 3-1. 145 - Wyatt Law 3rd, Mac-Hi, dec. Braydon Calder, Philomath, 5-3. 160 - Cameron Tillman, Scappoose, dec. Francisco Saldana, Mac-Hi, 8-3. 160 - Matt Anthony, Ontario, pinned Josh Rutherford 4th, Mac-Hi, 1:06. 171- Brandon Kralman, Mac-Hi, dec. Pablo Grimaldi, Mac-Hi, 8-3. 171 - Robbie Federico, Cascade, pinned Brandon Kralman 6th, Mac-Hi 2:40. 189 - Cody Shaffer, La Grande, dec. Victor Perez, Mac-Hi, 18-4. 215 - Grant Thompson, Cottage Grove, pinned Lawrence Timmons 7th, Mac-Hi, :48. 215 - Sonny Tupua, Siuslaw, dec. Nick Watts 6th, Mac-Hi, forfeit. 285 - Angel Palacios 5th, Mac-Hi, pinned Andrew Jones, Scappoose, :54.

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