MURPHY — Phoenix's Alex Machado could get used to this winning thing.

MURPHY — Phoenix's Alex Machado could get used to this winning thing.

The Pirates' 189-pound senior won his very first tournament title last weekend at North Valley, and he followed that with a Skyline Conference district title on Saturday at Hidden Valley High School.

Machado vindicated what he called a "rough" season by defeating North Valley's Travis George 8-3 in the district finals.

"I've always been the guy who takes second or third," Machado said. "This has been a goal of mine since my freshman year."

Machado was one of three district title winners for Phoenix, which will send 12 total wrestlers to the Class 4A state tournament in Portland on Feb. 26-28.

Henley won its first district team title since 1967 by edging the second-place Pirates 319-288.5. The Hornets had five district champions and will send 13 wrestlers to state.

The four-time defending Skyline champion Illinois Valley finished third with 204 points and had 10 wrestlers qualify for state.

Phoenix sent seven wrestlers into the finals with 135-pounder Ryan Tourville, 152-pounder Josh Warden and Machado earning district titles.

Machado breezed to the finals in the 189-pound bracket. He defeated Illinois Valley's Brandon Foraker 6-1 and pinned Hidden Valley's Mike Russell in 4:24. He rebounded from an early takedown by George in the finals by recording a takedown later in the first, followed by an escape and reversal to close out the match in the third.

Machado said the prospects of a district title appeared bleak during the season.

"It's been a rough year," he said. "I didn't see things looking bright for me. I just wasn't focused on what I should be doing. About a quarter of the way through the season, I had a breakdown. I was seeing all these people doing great that I didn't expect to do great. It just made me want to come back."

The turning point came when teammate Luke Amuchastegui suffered a season-ending ankle injured in the North Valley Tournament.

"When Luke got hurt, I wanted to go all out," Machado said. "That just broke my heart. I captured that feeling I needed all season long."

He also recognized his wrestling career was slowly coming to an end.

"He was determined to finish his senior year on a positive note," Phoenix coach John Farmer said. "He was on a mission."

Tourville, a fellow senior, avenged his loss against Illinois Valley's Quayde Fisher at the Rogue Valley Championships by defeating Fisher 10-6 for the district title.

Tourville had two takedowns against Fisher in the first period, but Fisher tied the match 4-4 with two escapes and a takedown.

A reversal in the third allowed Tourville to break the tie, and he clinched the win with another reversal.

"He wrestled probably the best he's wrestled in a long time," Farmer said of Tourville, a fifth-place finisher at state last season. "He just got fired up and was determined to win. He wrestled a great match."

It was Warden's first match this season at 152 pounds. He dropped from 160 after Amuchastegui's injury and pinned Henley's Harmon Heater in 4:58.

"I didn't expect (Heater) to be so tough," Warden said. "He kept in good position and made it hard for me to shoot on. He's a pretty solid wrestler."

Farmer said the junior is a title contender at state. Warden placed eighth last season.

"He'll probably be seeded fourth, but we think he can go up there and beat everybody that's in his bracket or give them a real go," Farmer said. "He's the type of kid who rises to the occasion."

Phoenix's Kris Renfro (112), Eleazar Deluca (140), Robert Amstutz (145) and Emmet Hettum (160) lost in their respective title matches.

Deluca, a freshman ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 4A, dropped a 2-0 decision to top-ranked Sam Winter of Illinois Valley, a defending state champion.

Deluca is 0-3 against Winter this season, previously losing 8-0 and 8-7 in overtime.

"I'm gaining on him," Deluca said. "I always come to win. I don't care who I'm wrestling."

Winter's escape in the second period and a stall on Deluca accounted for all the scoring.

"Sam is a very accomplished wrestler," Farmer said. "Once he gets up on you, it's awfully hard to get those points back."

The sophomore Amstutz was pinned right near the second-period buzzer and Hettum lost 9-7 in overtime against Henley's Zane Fernlund.

The Pirates received third-place finishes from Caleb Glanz (112), Riley Dodd (119), Thomas Warden (160), Brett Carder (171), and John Florey (285). Phoenix's five consolation champions were a meet high and pulled the Pirates to within 15.5 points of first-place Henley entering the finals.

"We had a great round in wrestleback," Farmer said. "We knew those kids, if we were going to do it, were going to be ones to get it done.

"I thought we could have wrestled better in spots, but it wasn't to be. I don't think we wrestled our best tournament today, but it wasn't terrible, either. We'll take what we have, regroup, and hopefully push it a little harder (at state)."

Skyline District Meet

TEAM SCORES — 1, Henley 319; 2, Phoenix 288.5; 3, Illinois Valley 204; 4, North Valley 130.5; 5, Hidden Valley 130.

CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL

103 — Jesse Orndoff, IV, dec. Zorg Loustalet, Hen., 3-0; 112 — Chris Culver, IV, dec. Kris Renfro, Pho., 9-5; 119 — Lamont Hook, Hen., pinned Nate Johnson, Hen.; 125 — Jon Anderson, IV, maj. dec. Brian Heater, Hen., 11-0; 130 — Aaron David, Hen., pinned Seth Sotelo, HV; 135 — Ryan Tourville, Pho., dec. Quayde Fisher, IV, 10-6.

140 — Sam Winter, IV, dec. Eleazar Deluca, Pho., 2-0; 145 — Donivan Transue, Hen., pinned Robert Amstutz, Pho., 3:59; 152 — Josh Warden, Pho., pinned Harmon Heater, Hen., 4:58; 160 — Zane Fernlund, Hen., dec. Emmet Hettum, Pho., 9-7 OT; 171 — Brett Mathes, Hen., dec. Landy Wells, IV, 6-2;

189 — Alex Machado, Pho., dec. Travis George, NV, 8-3; 215 — Lance Tausaga, IV, pinned Jared Houston, IV; 285 — Paul Gutzman, NV, pinned, RJ Harter, Hen.

THIRD-FOURTH FINAL

103 — Chase Weir, IV, dec. Nick Renfro, Pho., 9-4; 112 — Caleb Glanz, Pho., pinned Jared Jones, Hen., 3:06; 119 — Riley Dodd, Pho., pinned Alex Dole, HV, 3:28; 125 — Brandon Dutton, HV, pinned Darren Fletcher, Hen., 3:25; 130 — James Bowers, NV, maj. dec. Cortland Henderson, Hen., 14-6; 135 — Nick Johnson, Hen., maj. dec. Jared Kropholler, Hen., 10-0.

140 — Matt Coultas, IV, maj. dec. Trevor Siler, NV, 15-4; 145 — James Martz, NV, pinned Austin Brown, Hen., :44; 152 — Devin Rojas, Hen., dec. Jimmy Wingerd, NV, 13-9; 160 — Thomas Warden, Pho., pinned Brett Doshier, Hen., 2:57; 171 — Brett Carder, Pho., pinned Tylor Hudson, Pho.

189 — Mike Russell, HV, pinned Brandon Foraker, IV; 215 — Nate Hamilton, Hen., dec. Drake Dow, Hen., 6-4; 285 — John Florey, Pho., dec. Darron Odonell, NV, 7-6.

FIFTH-SIXTH FINAL

103 — Jacob Willis, Pho., pinned BJ Hults, HV, :39; 112 — Stephen Zelenka, HV, win by forfeit; 119 — Curt Hiestand, HV, pinned Tyler Delaney, IV, 3:06; 125 — Hector Garcia, NV, pinned Devon Boyer, HV, 3:06; 130 — Josh Baker, Pho., pinned Greyson Back, HV, 2:25; 135 — Josh Sarot, HV, pinned Kenny Terry, HV, :48.

140 — Austin Wolff, Pho., pinned Chase Benschoter, HV, 2:40; 145 — Jason Gage, Pho., dec. Derrick Hurd, HV, 15-11; 152 — Keith Campbell, HV, pinned Trevor Simpson, HV; 160 — Ken Johnson, HV, bye; 171 — Justyn Headley, Hen., pinned Trevin George, NV, 2:38.

189 — Brad Davis, Pho., pinned Colvy Smith, Hen., 1:59; 215 — Markus Marshall, Pho., pinned Tyler Mettler, HV, 1:13; 285 — Nelson Fischer, Hen., def. Jacob Benc, Pho.

Reach reporter Luke Andrews at 776-4469, or e-mail landrews@mailtribune.com