Mac-Hi wrestlers have solid weekend at state tourney

Four Pioneers place in the top six at the Oregon 4A state tournament.

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PORTLAND - Mac-Hi had a quartet of wrestlers place in the top six here Friday and Saturday during the Oregon Class 4A state championships at Memorial Coliseum.

Junior Ryan Bullock and senior Jesse Sargent, at 135 and 130 pounds, respectively, claimed thirds while Josh Rutherford took fifth at 152 pounds and Francisco Saldana finished sixth in the 160-pound weight class. Rutherford and Saldana are both juniors.

Their performances helped lead the Pioneers to a 10th-place finish in the team standings with 43 points.

Henley won the team championship with 133 points.

The opening round of the tournament pitted nine Mac-Hi wrestlers against the competition and six won - three by decision and three by pins. Only one Pioneer wrestler was pinned.

The six winners in the first round included two juniors and one sophomore.

Bullock, the No. 4 seed, pinned Scappoose's Ryan Bond after 2:32 minutes of action.

Rutherford, seeded second, pinned Dylan Hayes of Tillamook in 1:38.

Mac-Hi's third pin of the opening round was by sophomore Tavis Hodgen (119 pounds), who got the job done in style with 45 seconds remaining in round three.

Other first-round winners were No. 1-seeded senior Lawrence Timmons at 215 pounds, Saldana and Sargent, a second seed.

Timmons won a 4-2 decision over Phoenix's Tylor Hudson. Timmons won with a two-point takedown and a pair of one-point escapes. The two points scored against him came on a takedown, Saldana decisioned Jack Biewend of Cascade, 6-1, with two takedowns and a reversal, and Sargent claimed an 8-0 decision on the strength of two takedowns, a three-point near fall, and an escape.

Mac-Hi juniors Taylor Hodgen (152 pounds) and Brayden Moller (145 pounds), and senior teammate Shelby West (135 pounds), came up short in their opening-round matches. West lost to top-seeded Tyler Stigall of North Marion, 17-6, Moller dropped a heartbreaker, 1-0, to Estacada's Jackson Hicks, and Hodgen was pinned with 14 seconds left in the opening period by Jacob Jewell of Sweet Home.

Mac-Hi winners on Friday afternoon included West in the consolation bracket and a trio - Rutherford, Saldana and Bullock - in the winner's bracket. West stayed alive with an 8-7 edging of Cole Hannan of Brookings-Harbor. He won with two escapes, a three-point nearfall and a takedown.

Bullock, despite a bloody nose, toppled Lamont Hook of Henley, 6-2, on two takedowns and a reversal, Rutherford tallied all of his points in the first period - on a reversal and takedown - to win 4-1 over Hector Garcia of North Valley, and Saldana took an 11-6 lead into the third period before pinning Brandon Davis of Astoria.

Timmons suffered a disappointing loss to Ben Goodman of Junction City, 3-2.

Tavis Hodgen dropped into the consolation bracket after a 3-1 loss to Scottie Stockman of Sweet Home.

Sargent also fell into the consolation bracket with a 5-0 setback to Cascade's Ryan Dozler.

Moller and Taylor Hodgen were eliminated after dropping loser-out affairs in their respective weight classes. Moller lost a gut-wrencher in overtime, 4-0, to Dakota Benson of Philomath and Hodgen trailed Kole McGann, 4-0, before being pinned two minutes into the second period.

In round two of the consolation bracket Friday night, Tavis Hodgen stayed alive in the tournament with a 5-3 win. He pointed on three escapes and a takedown.

Sargent posted a 7-1 win. He had a near fall for two points and two takedowns with an escape to advance to Saturday.

West was eliminated in the consolation round on a second-period pin.

Timmons finished off Friday night Pioneer action by losing 8-4 to Blake Whelchel of Cascade.

Saturday morning brought more consolation bouts, with Tavis Hodgen being eliminated from the tourney with a 6-4 loss.

Sargent stayed alive with a 5-3 triumph.

Bullock, Rutherford and Saldana were all defeated in semi-final matches late Saturday morning. Bullock fell in overtime to eventual state champion Tyler Stigall of North Marion, the tournament's top seed at 135 pounds, 7-3, Rutherford lost to Trevor Wilson of Crook County, 7-1, and Saldana was nipped in the closing seconds by Henley's Nate Johnson, 3-2.

From there, Sargent topped Ontario's Cade Hartley, 9-2, and Bullock took a 7-0 lead on Eric Waren of Douglas before to pinning him at 2:18.

Both Rutherford and Saldana followed with losses.

Saldana lost 9-8 to top-ranked Tyler Blythe in the final seconds on an escape.

Rutherford was beaten 4-0 by Garret McDonald.

Bullock won 15-2 over Ontario's R.J. Gonzales to take third.

"It was a good way to end his tournament after losing a close semi-final championship match earlier in the day," Mac-Hi coach Beau Chester said.

Sargent lost early in the tournament and rebounded to secure a high finish.

"That is Jesse," Chester said. "He does everything the hard way, he works real hard everyday and he has had a good four years of trips to state tourneys."

Rutherford won by injury default early in the first round over Hector Garcia of North Valley.

"Rutherford is a super strong kid and it showed, " Chester said. "He would have beat that kid even if the injury hadn't occurred. He beat him earlier in the tournament."

Saldana was pinned in the second period in the next round to take sixth.

Tournament qualifying became more difficult this year. The top 16 contestants in each weight class reached state, unlike previous years when 32 made it.

"It is a lot tougher tournament than it used to be," Chester said. "Every match is more difficult because they have limited the numbers.

"These are truly the toughest kids in the state," Chester said. "Great job to the placers and to all others. None of our kids that made it are weak, they all deserved to be here."

Other Mac-Hi grapplers that Chester praised were Moller, "who lost two dogfights of matches," and Tavis Hodgen, "who was one match away from placing."

Chester has a good crop of state competitors coming back. He can see his program growing.

"We pride ourselves in our conditioning," Chester said. "And I really think our training practice room is getting tougher every year.

"So every year our kids are getting better faster because of the quality of kids that we are practicing with and against."

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