Wrestling: Molalla earns three podium finishes at state championships
Molalla's wrestling team again saw success at the OSAA State Championships as three athletes earned podium finishes, two of them capping off their high school careers as seniors.
Senior Ryan Mount took third place in the 145-pound weight class after blowing through the first two rounds of wrestling. In the first round, he won by a 15-0 technical fall over Sweet Home's Zak Fox in three minutes, 33 seconds. In the quarterfinals, he met senior teammate and practice partner Ben Pruitt; Mount took the win with a 48-second pin to move onto the semifinals, where he faced off with Cascade's Kade VanDeHey. The match went all three rounds as VanDeHey would win by an 8-5 decision; he would eventually go on to place second.
That moved Mount into the consolation bracket, where he took on Henley's Anthony Kraan. The match went to three rounds, but Mount was able to make his move quickly and pinned Krann eight seconds into the third round, earning his way into the third-place title match against Sweet Home's Ricky Yunke. Mount again wrestled three full rounds, this time coming out on top by a 4-2 decision to take third place in the Class 4A 145-pound weight class.
"I feel like I really wrestled well, other than my semifinals match didn't go as planned," Mount said. "It was great to finally achieve my goal of getting on the podium my senior year; I really feel like I earned it with the work I have put in."
"I've been wearing my medal ever since I got it," Mount said. He finished his senior season with a 35-4 record.
Sophomore Max Tate also took third place in the 126-pound weight class, making his way through the first two rounds, first through Mazama's Israel Gill with a pin in three minutes, three seconds, and then by a 10-7 decision over Baker/Powder Valley's Colton Anderson in the quarterfinals.
In his semifinal match, Tate found a tough matchup against Cascade's Kane Nixon; the two went nearly all three rounds until Tate got caught in a bad spot and was pinned at five minutes, 37 seconds to move into the consolation bracket and a shot at third place.
"I think I need to be more consistent in my wrestling," Tate said. "I didn't start the tournament off ver well, and on the second day I fell short in my first match."
"I was winning in the first rounf but let things get out of hand later on. But after that loss, I think I finished the tournament well. I'll be taking a few weeks off before I keep wrestling club tournament to let me knees heal up, but I think overall I did [well] this season, but I definitely have a lot to improve on," he said.
Tate matched up with Philomath's Anthony Rath in the consolation semifinals, and came out with a 4-2 decision in his favor to move on to the third place match against Sweet Home's Jackson Royer. Tate picked up his intensity and won by an 11-0 major decision to take third place in the Class 4A 126-pound weight class. He finished his sophomore season with a 32-3 record.
After falling to Mount in the quarterfinal round, Pruitt moved into the consolation bracket and matched up with Ontario's Ruben Chavez. Pruitt made fairly quick work of Chavez and earned a pin five seconds into the second round.
In the consolation third round, Pruitt faced off against La Grande's Blaine Shaw, who came into the match with only 15 matches under his belt on the season. Pruitt's experience showed in the end as he pinned Shaw in four minutes, 49 seconds to move on to the consolation semifinal round, with a chance to yet again face off against his teammate in a title match.
Pruitt fought hard against Yunke – who would go on to take fourth after losing to Mount in the third place match – but lost by a fall in three minutes, 34 seconds to move on to the fifth place match.
Pruitt took on Kraan and came out on top by a 7-4 decision, earning his way onto the podium and taking fifth place in the Class 4A 145-pound weight class. He finished the season with a 38-14 record.
"I think these last few weeks have been some of my best wrestling, especially at the state tournament and in regionals," Pruitt said. "I beat people who had beaten me earlier in the season, and others who I thought I'd have little chance with, and, honestly, I think I did better than I had anticipated, and I'm not going to take anything away from that."
"Those are the 16 best wrestlers in the state, they are all good, so taking fifth is a great accomplishment for me," he said.
Pruitt said he's proud of how his senior season ended, as he achieved his goal of earning a spot on the podium at the state tournament.
"I can look back at it and know I left it all on the mat, and that feeling is amazing," he said.
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