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White Buffalo wrestlers reach new heights ahead of important stretch of the season.

For the second tournament in a row, Madras advanced one of its wrestlers to a finals match for the first time in his high school career.

Two weekends ago, it was Tyrell Reynoso. Last Saturday at the Bend Invite, William Lemus completed the feat.

The White Buffalos had only eight guys entered in the varsity bracket, with others competing in the novice section, yet still managed a fifth-place finish out of 10 teams. The Buffs' placement in the team standings means little to Madras head coach Cameron Mitchem. He said the more important thing is seeing his guys make individual improvements. Since two Buffs reached milestones they hadn't prior to the last two weeks, the Buffs' progress is revealing itself, slowly, but surely.

"So far, (I'm) pretty happy with the progressions we're making," Mitchem said.

In the 220-pound division, Lemus found himself on the upswing last Saturday, when he registered a pair of pins, against Rory Eck of Mountain View and Henry DeRose of Summit. Those two wins earned Lemus a spot in the finals against Mountain View's Jacob Conklin, who placed at the 5A state tournament a year ago.

Though Conklin prevailed in a 10-2 major decision, the tournament was a breakthrough for Lemus, who had been knocking on the door of a similar outcome a couple other times this season.

"That was a big step up for William," Mitchem said. "He wrestled really well at Pendleton, and made a big jump, so that was good."

Harrison Manu (195) also made the finals for Madras, after he pinned Bend's Julian Cano in 1 minute, 5 seconds. In the finals, Manu and Luke Schulz of Mountain View battled into the third round, with Schulz ultimately winning by fall in 5:19.

Thomas LeClaire (182) and Reynoso (152) both placed third. In both of his victories, LeClaire spent very little time on the mat, as he pinned Sunnyslope's Arturo Orozco in 51 seconds and Ryan Calderon of Mountain View in 1:27. LeClaire's only loss of the day came in the semifinals to Haakon Kjellesvik of Bend.

Reynoso kicked off the tournament with a 13-10 decision over Damien Wills of Sisters. He then lost to Mountain View's Blake Ohlson, a reigning 5A state placer, then earned third place by injury default over Mountain View's Beau Caldwell.

Other placers for Madras included Kody Zemke taking fourth at 195 and Catalino LeClaire fifth at 170.

The upcoming week should give Madras a much better idea where it stands relative to other teams within the 4A classification. So far on the season, all but one of the Buffs' tournaments has taken place in Central Oregon, where few 4A teams compete. That will change this weekend.

Madras will take part in the Crook County Duals on Thursday, then head to the Oregon Wrestling Classic in Redmond on Friday and Saturday.

The Buffs were previously entered in the 3A non scoring portion of the two-day duals tournament, but were able to take the spot of another 4A team that dropped out a couple weeks ago.

"We'll get a pretty good test this week," Mitchem said. "We'll have a pretty good idea where we stand at the state level with some of these guys by the end of next weekend."

Contact Will Denner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Follow him on Twitter
@MadrasSports, @WillCDenner

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