North crowns 2 champs, South nets 1 at districts
North Medford wrestling coach Tony Champion took a realistic approach toward his team’s chances entering the Southwest Conference district championships, but that doesn’t mean a few Black Tornado wrestlers didn’t exceed expectations Saturday at South Medford High.
Content to let second-ranked Roseburg and No. 6 Grants Pass battle it out for the SWC team title, Champion and company went about solidifying the third-place spot and saw four North wrestlers reach the championship finals and seven overall qualify for the upcoming Class 6A state tournament.
“We kind of came in hoping that we would be in the position we ended in,” said Champion, whose Black Tornado was ranked seventh in the final 6A coaches poll and has one wildcard potential to make it eight state qualifiers. “We were hoping to get maybe nine kids through to the state tourney and it didn’t quite work out that way, but I’m really proud of how we wrestled.”
“We had a lot of young kids that wrestled really hard today and ended up getting on the podium, which helped keep us in third place.”
Roseburg advanced at least one wrestler into the finals in 11 of the 14 weight classes, earning seven SWC titles to claim yet another team title with 452.5 overall points.
Grants Pass, which crowned four district champions, finished runner-up with 378 points, followed by North Medford (222), South Medford (176.5), Sheldon (106) and South Eugene (28).
Top-seeded senior Jace Garibay (145 pounds) and second-seeded senior Conner McDougall (170) each earned SWC titles for the Black Tornado, which also saw freshman Joseph Borraggine (106) and junior Robert Caster (220) place second.
South Medford sophomore Li Moala claimed the only SWC title for the Panthers — and first for the school since 2014 — when he pinned Caster in 1 minute, 49 seconds during the 220 final.
South freshman Caleb Dalke (170) came as close as you can to a title without achieving it, falling short in the second overtime matchup this season with McDougall on a 3-2 tiebreaker, while 126-pound senior teammate Brayden Ostvik also had to settle for second.
Overall, the Panthers qualified four wrestlers for the state tournament, with two other potential wrestlers advancing once criterion judging begins today.
The three top finishers at each weight class from each of the state’s seven 6A conferences automatically advance into the 24-person state bracket. Fourth-place finishers from each league are then pooled and a defined criterion will be applied to select three additional qualifiers per weight class to fill out the bracket for the two-day event, set for next Saturday and Sunday at Sandy High School.
Garibay was active from the start of his finals match with Charlie Jones of Roseburg, finishing a pair of double-leg shots to build a 4-1 lead through one period. It was 5-2 in the third period when Garibay used a hip toss to put Jones on his back and then the North senior squeezed in to secure a fall in 4:50.
“Jace Garibay had an excellent performance,” said Champion. “Coming in as the No. 1 seed was a really big confidence booster for him after he’d just beaten (Jones) in our dual a couple weeks ago. He’s been training hard and putting a lot of extra effort into the wrestling room the last few weeks and it really showed. He’s really focused and I think he can have success at the state tourney.”
McDougall, Champion’s nephew, had only recently gotten down to 170 but there was no doubt he had his hands full in facing Dalke, who was seeded fourth, in an essential stalemate until a fateful escape in the overtime tiebreaker.
“We knew it was going to be a close, tough match,” said Champion, “and whoever had the heart was going to win it and was going to put it together.”
Both wrestlers were tagged with two stalling penalties apiece during the match.
“The challenge of the whole thing is the interpretation of everything by the referee,” said South Medford head coach James Monroe. “Caleb’s got to do a couple different things on offense to make it so it doesn’t get left in the hands of the referees the next time.”
After McDougall earned an escape midway through the opening 30-second OT period, he was able to hook onto Dalke’s leg and keep him from escaping in the ensuing 30-second period to score the close win.
Moala stalked Caster from the start of their 220-pound final, finally building enough momentum to throw his North Medford foe on a third attempt at it. Once on the mat, Moala quickly covered up Caster and would not let him escape until his shoulders were pinned and the mat was slapped by the nearby referee near the end of the first period.
“Once Li gets that throw going, it’s usually pretty game over,” said Monroe. “He did that to him also at our dual meet so I’m super proud of Li and what he was able to do today in just attacking.”
Caster had upset top-seeded Jack Banta of Roseburg in the quarterfinals and edged Sheldon’s Laith Elhammi, 2-1, in the semis to match up with Moala, who pinned North’s Kael Brown in 26 seconds in the semis.
Top-ranked Roseburg sophomore Gage Singleton ran his record to 37-3 with a pin in 1:05 over Borraggine in the 106-pound finals, only the second loss this season for the Black Tornado freshman. Singleton is a defending state champion and won the 106 title at the Reser’s Tournament of Champions.
“Borraggine is an extraordinary wrestler as a freshman,” said Champion. “He was just coming up against an established kid who already has a record as a defending state champion.”
Ostvik came out strong in his final at 126 against Roseburg senior Levi Campbell, scoring a takedown and reversal with back points in the first period.
In the second period, however, Ostvik posted a quick takedown but got too high and that set the stage for a reversal by Campbell. For the rest of the round, Ostvik found himself battling bad position and a rolling gamble did not pay off after it was countered by Campbell, who took advantage of the Panther on his back and recorded a fall in 3:47.
“He fought a hard-fought battle and just ended up not getting it,” Monroe said of Ostvik. “I’m proud of his effort, though, in qualifying for state for his fourth time.”
Placing third for South Medford was Kristian Hernandez (106), while North Medford posted a trio of third-place winners in Calvin Chan (120), Atreaue Roe (160) and Dutch Nicholson (285).
Fourth-place finishers waiting on whether they will advance to state are South Medford’s Cameron Johnson (113) and Carson Terry (132) and North Medford’s Evan Reyes (126).
TEAM SCORES: Roseburg 452.5, Grants Pass 378, North Medford 222, South Medford 176.5, Sheldon 106, South Eugene 28.
106 — Gage Singleton, Roseburg, pinned Joseph Borraggine, North Medford, 1:05; 113 — Robert Geyer, Roseburg, dec. Robert Miner, Grants Pass, 7-0; 120 — Mark Astry, Grants Pass, pinned Cristian Martinez, Roseburg, 3:36; 126 — Levi Campbell, Roseburg, pinned Brayden Ostvik, South Medford, 3:47; 132 — Nash Singleton, Roseburg, won by forfeit over Garrett Gallego, Roseburg.
138 — Rhett Martin, Roseburg, dec. Tagge Fry, Grants Pass, 7-2; 145 — Jace Garibay, North Medford, pinned Charlie Jones, Roseburg, 4:50; 152 — Varrius Scanlan, Roseburg, pinned Owen Oliver, Sheldon, 2:00; 160 — Ryan Johnston, Grants Pass, dec. Haygen VanGordon, Roseburg, 5-2.
170 — Conner McDougall, North Medford, dec. Caleb Dalke, South Medford, 3-2 TB; 182 — Dredan Myers, Grants Pass, major dec. Tim Trask, Grants Pass, 14-2; 195 — Owen Townes, Grants Pass, pinned Emmitt Gibson, Roseburg, 1:45; 220 — Li Moala, South Medford, pinned Robert Caster, North Medford, 1:49; 285 — Grady Hamilton, Roseburg, pinned Kaleb Davis, Grants Pass, 2:28.
106 — Kristian Hernandez, South Medford, pinned Nathan Higa, Grants Pass, 2:50; 113 — Caleb Altheide, Grants Pass, pinned Cameron Johnson, South Medford, 4:00; 120 — Calvin Chan, North Medford, pinned Isaiah Hutchins, Roseburg, :10; 126 — Colten Garges, Sheldon, pinned Evan Reyes, North Medford, 2:38; 132 — Owen Hull, Grants Pass, pinned Carson Terry, South Medford, :52.
138 — Haiden Randleas, Roseburg, dec. Mason Fisher, Grants Pass, 7-4; 145 — Ashton Park, Grants Pass, pinned Kalvin Diaz, Grants Pass, 1:49; 152 — Ethan Leaton, Roseburg, dec. Soren Gustafson, South Eugene, 9-2; 160 — Atreaue Roe, North Medford, pinned Tyler Rietmann, Roseburg, 1:53.
170 — Connor Johnston, Grants Pass, pinned Bricen Stewart, Sheldon, 1:59; 182 — Daniel Burky, Roseburg, pinned William Allen, Roseburg, 1:11; 195 — Eric Johnson, Roseburg, pinned Justin Vinyard, Grants Pass, 2:44; 220 — Jack Banta, Roseburg, inj. default over Bladimir Mendez-Chavez, Grants Pass, 2:51; 285 — Dutch Nicholson, North Medford, pinned Brady Nunemaker, Roseburg, 4:24.
CLASS 3A DISTRICT 3 CHAMPIONSHIPS: Cascade Christian freshman Joseph Hutchins secured a district title at 113 pounds to lead the Challengers in the 10-school event at Cascade Christian High.
Hutchins ran his record to 23-5 with a pin in 2:51 over Pleasant Hill freshman Jace Harris in the championship finals. With the win, Hutchins automatically qualified for next Saturday’s Class 3A state tournament at La Pine High School.
Hutchins advanced to the championship match with a 39-second pin over Harrisburg’s Albert Lopez and, in the semifinals, a fall in 1:29 over Pleasant Hill’s Gavin Haratyk.
Placing sixth for the Challengers, who finished ninth with 48 points, were Logan Rud (138) and Brandon Parker (182).
Harrisburg posted 342 points to claim the team title over Pleasant Hill.
TEAM SCORES: Harrisburg 342, Pleasant Hill 186, Santiam Christian 154.5, South Umpqua 152, Scio 132.5, Sutherlin 102.5, Douglas 95, Creswell 68.5, Cascade Christian 48, Brookings-Harbor 0.
CLASS 2A/1A DISTRICT 3 CHAMPIONSHIPS: At Myrtle Point, Illinois Valley crowned five champions and had three others place second to dominate the 13-school district meet, winning the team title with a 134 1/2-point edge over runner-up Lakeview.
Rogue River finished fourth overall with 105 points.
Earning championships for the Cougars were Michael Miller (106), Micah Martinho (113), Skyler Wylie (138), Ryan Griffin (145) and Jozia Williams (160).
Rogue River junior Christian Moody finished runner-up at 285 after losing a 4-1 decision to Coquille’s Tom Riley in the finals.
Sophomore James Anderson also advanced to the finals at 126 for the Chieftains but was pinned in 1:14 by Bonanza’s Joel Rodriguez. Anderson then lost a wrestle-off for second place by virtue of a fall in 2:39 by Blair Doud of Riddle/Days Creek.
Ethan Green (113), Ryon Martinho (152) and Jacob Deters (170) each finished runner-up for Illinois Valley.
Rogue River junior Anthony Isom pinned Colton Ashford of Lakeview in 3:22 to place third at 152, while junior Logan Basharel scored an 8-2 decision in his third-place final over Coquille’s Kieran Sherritt at 220.
The top two finishers at each weight automatically advance to the state tournament next Saturday at Culver High School. All third-place finishers are pooled and criterion applied to select three additional qualifiers per weight.
TEAM SCORES: Illinois Valley 292.5, Lakeview 158, Coquille 136, Rogue River 105, Glendale 102, Bonanza 89, Riddle/Days Creek 73, Camas Valley 66, Myrtle Point 63, Chiloquin 14, North Lake 13, Gold Beach 3, Lost River 0.
Reach sports editor Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry