It’s an experiment that has true benefit and merit, but also one with a big hill to climb before permanent implementation throughout...
PORTLAND — North Medford's drought of state champions in wrestling since the city split into two high schools is over.
Trent Wilson took care of that in fine fashion Saturday night.
With the pressure of an entire program seemingly on his shoulders, the 195-pound junior was almost flawless on the mat at Memorial Coliseum in securing the championship with a 7-4 decision over West Linn's Cameron Schmitz.
"I feel amazing," Wilson said shortly after carrying head coach Phillip Lopez out of the arena following his win. "I came into this tournament as an underdog and I just knew I had to outperform everybody. I knew if I wrestled my best I could beat anybody in the state tournament, and that's what I did "¦ No. 1 baby."
Wilson earned a key takedown just prior to the end of the first round, then used an escape and another takedown to go up 5-0 midway through the second. A pair of escapes by Schmitz made it 5-2 in the third but Wilson remained unfazed, scoring another takedown to build a 7-2 cushion before closing out the victory.
Prior to the championship finals, Wilson said he tried not to think much about the possibility of a historic win, the first for North Medford since the 1986 split broke up a Medford High stronghold. Afterward, he was humbled by the moment.
"It's such an honor to be the first-ever from North Medford," he said. "It's such a great feeling, I just hope to pass my legacy down for everybody that comes after me to North. They're going to know I was the first one and that's awesome. It feels so good."
Part of the reason for Lopez's unusual exit from the arena floor was the amount of credit Wilson gave to his first-year head coach.
"He really pushed me this year," said Wilson, who reached the finals with a 5-2 semifinals win over Roseburg's Will Reddekopp. "He knew what I could do and how good I could be and I believed in him. And now I'm No. 1."
Schmitz, a senior, had previously upset No. 1 seed Ben Kociemba of Hillsboro and No. 4 seed Brian Barnes of McMinnville to reach the finals.
In other Rogue Valley action, Grants Pass senior Casey Coulter scored his second state title and fourth top-three finish with a 4-0 victory over Glencoe sophomore Nate Johnson in the 113 finals. Coulter, who was the 6A wrestler of the meet, was first as a sophomore and third as a freshman and junior.
The Cavemen earned a state trophy by finishing fourth with 82 points, well behind runaway winner Roseburg. The Indians earned their sixth team title in the past eight years by amassing 272.5 points to ease by West Linn (107.5) and Hillsboro (95).
North Medford added a third-place finish by sophomore Henry Cox (106) and a sixth-place showing by junior Skyler Black (220) to finish ninth.
Cox scored a pin and a pair of 6-2 decisions — the latter against top-seeded Hillsboro freshman Ruben Rodriguez-Saenz in the third-place final. Black beat Thurston's Bryce Palahniuk to advance into the placing round but could advance no further after losses to Roseburg's Tyler Kailiuli and West Linn's Noah Bagley.
North Medford sophomore Cole Hornbrook (138) was pinned in his morning match by Roseburg's Austin Weaver to fall short of the placing rounds.
Crater, which finished 16th, advanced two of its final three wrestlers into the semifinals, but neither Tommy Winningham (152) nor Cavin Gillispie (170) could get past a Roseburg wrestler. Winningham dropped a 9-5 decision to David Harker in the semis, while Gillispie fell 11-3 to Haydn Maley.
Winningham, a sophomore, rebounded to place third with his second decision over top-seeded Alex Hada of Hillsboro, 10-5 in the third-place final. The sophomore Gillispie placed fourth after falling 5-4 to Aloha's Maurice McSwain in the third-place final.
Crater senior Micah Walker (182) lost a 6-3 decision to Thomas Ayala-Wooden of David Douglas to miss out on the placing rounds.
For Grants Pass, Trajan Hurd beat teammate Tyler Thomas 9-8 in the third-place final at 126, while Kjell Thorsen (152) placed fifth and Jeremy Nicholes (160) was sixth.
In the girls wrestling exhibition finals, Crater's Brooke Brower dominated the first round but had to fend off a pin in the second before ultimately turning the tables for a fall.
TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — Roseburg 272.5, West Linn 107.5, Hillsboro 95, Grants Pass 82, David Douglas 75, Oregon City 69, Century 57.5, Forest Grove 55, North Medford 54, Glencoe 52.
OTHER LOCAL SCORES — Crater 38, South Medford 0.
106 — Bennett Mesa, Roseburg, dec. Christian Guerra, Forest Grove, 10-3; 113 — Casey Coulter, Grants Pass, dec. Nate Johnson, Glencoe, 4-0; 120 — Joel Timmons, Westview, dec. Devin Poppen, Oregon City, 8-5; 126 — Brennan Baccay, Century, dec. Joey Rodriguez, Hillsboro, 7-3; 132 — Cole Van Anrooy, Roseburg, pinned Amari Sengsavanh, Century, 1:53.
138 — Layne Van Anrooy, Roseburg, major dec. Spencer Stokes, Sunset, 13-3; 145 — Timothy Harman, West Linn, dec. Chandler Michael, Barlow, 6-3; 152 — JT Barnes, McMinnville, dec. David Harker, Roseburg, 11-4; 160 — Colby Winnett, Gresham, dec. Ian Thomas, Roseburg, 3-2.
170 — Haydn Maley, Roseburg, dec. Tanner Fischer, Oregon City, 7-5; 182 — Max Hane, Roseburg, dec. Zach Hammerschmith, McNary, 12-6; 195 — Trenton Wilson, North Medford, dec. Cameron Schmitz, West Linn, 7-4; 220 — Osawaru Odighizuwa, David Douglas, dec. Dakota Church, Newberg, 2-1; 285 — Michael McGuire, Centennial, dec. Alejandro Sandoval, Canby, 6-5 OT.
106 — Henry Cox, North Medford, dec. Ruben Rodriguez-Saenz, Hillsboro, 6-2; 126 — Trajan Hurd, Grants Pass, dec. Tyler Thomas, Grants Pass, 9-8; 152 — Tommy Winningham, Crater, dec. Alex Hada, Hillsboro, 10-5; 170 — Maurice McSwain, Aloha, dec. Cavin Gillispie, Crater, 5-4.
152 — Kjell Thorsen, Grants Pass, dec. Jacob Taylor, West Linn, 4-2; 160 — Hunter Morse, Hillsboro, dec. Jeremy Nicholes, Grants Pass, 4-2; 220 — Noah Bagley, West Linn, pinned Skyler Black, North Medford, 5:36.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry