STATE WRESTLING: Vidlak, Truex, McNulty claim titles
PORTLAND — Gabe Vidlak didn’t get to finish off the his high school wrestling career quite like he wanted.
The Cascade Christian senior didn’t get a pin, but he got a win, and that’s what ultimately mattered for him and two of his Rogue Valley cohorts — Phoenix’s Emma Truex and Eagle Point’s Shayla McNulty — at Memorial Coliseum Saturday.
Vidlak capped a 45-0 season with his third state championship by doggedly staying on Dayton sophomore Tony Cisneros, who seldom challenged the Challengers’ star in a 10-2 major decision loss in the Class 3A 126-pound title match.
Soon after, Truex capped her senior season at 125 with her second OSAA-sanctioned state title and fourth overall by downing Bella Amaro, of Scappoose, 4-2, and the junior McNulty followed suit with a 9-1 major decision over Pleasant Hill’s Morgan Ellis at 130.
Crater had two finalists, but each— Kabb Christensen at 160 and Jimmy Jordahl at 195— lost by fall to defending champions.
James Rowley, of Crescent Valley, pinned Christensen in 3:00. Crescent Valley's Santos Cantu won his fourth championship when he pinned Jordahl in 2:44.
Crater placed fourth in the 5A team standings with 141.5 points. Crescent Valley won with 303.
With his father in his corner, Vidlak ran his career record to 135-5. The rangy Cisneros spent much of the match playing defense with a wide, sturdy base against his aggressive foe.
Dan Vidlak, Gabe’s father and coach, admitted that taller opponents provide matchup problems.
“He did fine,” Dan Vidlak said of his son. “He wrestled fine. That kid was just trying to keep it close. It’s really hard to score on someone like that.”
It’s not the first time an opponent hasn’t come hard at Gabe Vidlak, who has signed to wrestle at Oregon State.
“I started to notice that, this year especially,” he said. “Once I started to distinguish myself and started winning a lot of matches, people knew who I was and what I do.”
What he does is win, a lot.
Vidlak got a takedown 12 seconds into the match, cut Cisneros loose, then took him down again. It was a pattern that could have been repeated often, it seemed, but Vidlak made a few attempts at finishing holds.
At one point, Dan Vidlak shouted, “Stay basic!”
“The only way that kid’s going to beat him is if he does something real goofy,” said Dan Vidlak. “I just wanted him to stay within himself and play it safe.”
Vidlak’s intensity was on display just before the match. He psychs himself up no matter who the opponent is.
“You’ve always got to be on your guard,” said Gabe Vidlak. “Some people really come out and try to challenge you. Some people just don’t. It depends on the day.”
But, he added, “It was a good match. It was fun. It was a nice way to end the season.”
Truex expected a difficult match with Amaro. They’d met three times before, and the Phoenix standout won two of them.
“I knew it was going to be a tough one,” said Truex. “She’s a tough wrestler. But I came out on top and had the confidence to.”
Truex got takedowns in the first and second periods and took a 4-0 lead into the third.
Amaro was awarded a point because Truex locked her hands, and the second-seeded Scappoose sophomore got an escape to pull within 4-2. But her surge ended there.
“It feels great to know I get to be the first girl at Phoenix (as a state champion) and the lone rep for my team in the finals,” said Truex. “I loved every minute of high school wrestling and want to keep it going.”
She’ll do that in college. Truex said she will sign with Corban University in the near future.
For McNulty, it was family affair. Her father has been the longtime Eagle Point coach — and she tagged along often to the mat room while growing up.
They enjoyed an extended, emotional embrace after Shayla steadily handled Ellis.
“Oh my goodness, it’s crazy,” said Shayla McNulty. “I’m kind of shaky right now. It’s kind of surreal almost. It doesn’t feel like it’s happened.”
McNulty racked up points with takedowns at the start of each period.
She almost put Ellis on her back late in the match but took a near fall instead with 15 seconds left.
“My dad pushes me to be in the best condition I can be in for situations like that,” she said, “because you can always outwork somebody. Fear is your greatest opponent. Just getting through the last few seconds is really, really important. You’ve gotta have fight.”
Several wrestlers worked their way through the consolation bracket to earn places.
Colby Meek, Crater’s No. 2 seed at 145, who was upset in the quarterfinals, placed third with a pin of Redmond’s Dylan Lee in 1:35.
Other third-place finishers were North Medford’s Cole Zoller, and Tyler and Cody Havniear of Cascade Christian.
In 6A at 152 pounds, Zoller put Newberg’s Gavin Korkeakoski on his back in 1:30.
Both Havniears won by fall as well in the 3A ranks, Tyler pinning Harrisburg’s Russell Talmadge at 106 in 3:15, and Cody downing Scio’s Lance Vanhoose at 145 in 2:00.
In the girls tournament, North Medford had two who captured third-place matches in Estella Gutches at 105 and Dakota Alewina at 140. Gutches won a 12-8 decision over Grants Pass’ Samantha Dara, and Alewine pinned Creswell’s Brielle Brick in 1:29.
Eagle Point’s Freddy Barajas placed fourth in the 5A meet at 120, losing by fall in the third-place match to Crook County’s Steve Ware in 1:40.
Crater’s Kellen Kerrigan placed fifth at 138, winning his final match against Hood River Valley’s Chad Muenzer by medical forfeit.
Sixth-place finishes went to North Medford’s Ethan Miller at 170, Crater’s Matthew Bolanos at 132, Crater’s Aric Adams at 220 and Crater’s Isaiah Mays at 285.
TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — Newberg 310.5, Roseburg 262.5, Mountain View 209.5, Sprague 176.5, West Linn 161, Sherwood 95, Century 91.5, Westview 89, Grants Pass 85, Oregon City 83.
OTHER LOCAL SCORES — North Medford 46.5, South Medford 10.
120 — Nicky Olmstead, Newberg, pinned Josef Minor, Grants Pass, 5-4.
132 — Simon Artunyan, Sprague, dec. Enrique Jaime, North Medford, 4-2.
138 — Riley Davis, Sprague, dec. Ryan Johnston, Grants Pass, 12-5; Patrick Brown, Cleveland, dec. Elliot Harris, Grants Pass, 12-11.
170 — Ethan Miller, North Medford, dec. Kieran McCalpin, Aloha, 8-3.
182 — Dredan Myers, Grants Pass, dec. Bailey Sparks, Centennial, 11-6.
195 — Blake Ohlson, Mountain View, pinned David Ruiz, Grants Pass, 1:37.
170 — Cannon Potts, Mountain View, pinned Ethan Miller, North Medford, 1:53.
182 — Nathan Denney, Bend, dec. Dredan Myers, Grants Pass, 17-11.
TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — Crescent Valley 303, Crook County 226.5, Thurston 175.5, Crater 141.5, West Albany 88, Silverton 86, Hillsboro 83, Dallas 81, Scappoose 65, Redmond 64.
OTHER LOCAL SCORES — Eagle Point 27, Ashland 0.
132 — Hunter Eveland, Crescent Valley, dec. Matthew Bolanos, Crater, 10-4.
138 — Robert Guenther, Silverton, maj. dec. Kellen Kerrigan, Crater, 10-2.
160 — Kabb Christensen, Crater, pinned Izaak Worsch, Corvallis, 1:54.
182 — Kyle Knudtson, Crook County, pinned Owen Burkhart, Crater, 1:46.
195 — Jimmy Jordahl, Crater, pinned Kevin Villa, Putnam, 5:23.
220 — Antonio Garcia, North Salem, pinned Aric Adams, Crater, 3:24.
160 — James Rowley, Crecent Valley, pinned Kabb Christensen, Crater, 3:00.
195 — Santos Cantu, Crescent Valley, pinned Jimmy Jordahl, Crater, 2:44.
TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — La Grande 261, Sweet Home 254.5, Tillamook 142.5, Cascade 101, Baker/Powder Valley 97, Woodburn 89, Junction City 80.5, Banks 76.5, Estacada 64, Hidden Valley 63.5.
OTHER LOCAL SCORES — Phoenix 11.
TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — Burns 180, Dayton 144.5, Nyssa 112, Willamina/Falls City 77.5, La Pine 73, Harrisburg 64, Cascade Christian 61, Scio 61, Rainier 50, Taft 49.
106 — Carmelo Farfaglia, LaPine, pinned Tyler Havniear, Cascade Christian, 1:04
126 — Gabe Vidlak, Cascade Christian, pinned Logan Chapman, :36.
145 — Brandon Issacson, Rainier, dec. Cody Havniear, Cascade Christian, 6-3.
126 — Gabe Vidlak, Cascade Christian, maj. dec. Tony Cisneros, Dayton, 10-2.
TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — Reedsport 106.5, Culver 103, Grant Union 74, Pine Eagle 73, Central Linn 71, Oakland 69, Toledo 54, Siletz Valley/Eddyville Charter 52, Neah-Kah-Nie 46, Santiam 42.5.
OTHER LOCAL SCORES — Rogue River 12.
TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — Thurston 72, Bend 66, Century 49.5, Elmira 42, Glencoe 38, North Medford 33, Grants Pass 28, Milwaukie 27, McKay 24, Vale 24, Cottage Grove 24.
OTHER LOCAL SCORES — Phoenix 22, Eagle Point 21.
105 — Kaylee Annis, Thurston, pinned Estella Gutches, North Medford, 3:28
125 — Emma Truex, Phoenix, pinned Sophie Keefer, Lincoln, 1:08.
130 — Shayla McNulty, Eagle Point, dec. Makaila Takahashi, Forest Grove, 5-0.
125 — Emma Truex, Phoenix, dec. Bella Amaro, Scappose, 4-2.
130 — Shayla McNulty, Eagle Point, maj. dec. Morgan Ellis, Pleasant Hill, 9-1.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479 or email@example.com.