Senior Casey Roberts, junior Lane Stigall lead North Marion as regional champs

JO WHEAT - North Marion senior Casey Roberts was one of seven Huskies who advanced to the bracket championship of the 4A Special District 2 regional tournament on Saturday. Roberts went on to win the 132-pound final, joining junior teammate Lane Stigall as regional champions.The North Marion wrestling program has seen some big performances this season, and a season’s worth of hard work and success on the mat paid of Saturday at the District 2 regional tournament, where the Huskies placed second and qualified a school record 13 wrestlers to the state championship tournament this weekend.

“I called them record breakers, and they’re setting the precedence for our program,” head coach Jared Wilson said.

The Huskies were led by a pair of regional champions in junior Lane Stigall (152 pounds) and senior Casey Roberts (132), who were two of seven North Marion wrestlers to advance to the championship round of their respective weight brackets.

Stigall was further named Regional Wrestler of the Year by opposing coaches for posting a second consecutive undefeated season. He was joined by his coach, Wilson, who was named Coach of the Year as well.

“I guess it is an honor that the other coaches think highly of the job you do in your program,” Wilson said, deflecting the praise to the wrestlers in the program. “It really doesn’t have much to do with me.”

North Marion put together one of its most dominating seasons in program history over the past three months, and much of it is due to the depth of the talent the Huskies have put on the mat this season. The team has seen success in nearly every weight class, and found success not just on their varsity roster, but at the JV level as well. Four of North Marion’s junior varsity wrestlers placed in the top six at Saturday’s regional tournament, with three — Matt Carrillo (182, fourth), Juan Tarula (160, third) and Russel Stigall (120, second) — going on to place in the top four to earn a berth to the state championships.

JO WHEAT - The Huskies 13 state qualifiers and the North Marion coaching staff proudly display their medals.One of those cheesy lines you hear is that iron sharpens iron,” Wilson said, “and when they’re in there practicing against each other, they get that much better.”

There were few surprises at the top of the roster for North Marion, where Stigall continued to win as he has done throughout his nearly three years with the program.

The junior had little trouble at the 152-pound weight class, bumping up a level after winning the 145-pound state championship as a sophomore last year.

Stigall had a quick track to the quarterfinals after a forfeit win in the first round, and went on to pin his next two opponents in the second round. In the championship match, Stigall won a 15-4 major decision over Cascade senior James Baxter.

The Huskies’ other regional champion, Roberts, had a much tougher competition in the final match, scoring a 3-2 victory over Ricky Yunke of Sweet Home in the championship. Roberts pinned his first two opponents of the tournament, and enjoyed a 6-2 win over Tyler Fincher of Sweet Home in the semifinals.

North Marion sent five other wrestlers to the championship match of their weight class — Cristian Ramirez (106), Kyle McConkey (113), Russel Stigall (120), Brandon Gibson (126) and Levi Wing (160) — three of whom fell to wrestlers from the regional champion Sweet Home Huskies.

Sweet Home was the favorite to win the championship going into the tournament, and finished with 376 team points, well ahead of second place North Marion’s 304.

Between Sweet Home and North Marion, along with regional 4A powers in Crook County, Henley and Marshfield, Wilson said the competition level at the 4A level is on par with the best in Oregon.

“The 4A, my opinion is that it’s the toughest, deepest division in the state,” Wilson said. “4A is very deep, so for these kids to be competing at the level they’re at, it’s impressive.”

Rounding out the Huskies’ state qualifiers are Triston Rostocil (120, third), Damian Chavez (170, third), Rogelio Mejia (285, fourth) and Ruben Verdugo (170, fifth).

The 2016 OSAA State Wrestling Championships will be held at the Portland Memorial Coliseum on Friday and Saturday.

Phil Hawkins covers sports and the city of Gervais. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-765-1194.PHIL HAWKINS - North Marion junior Lane Stigall earned Special District 2 Regional Wrestler of the Year honors after claiming his third consecutive regional title on Saturday.

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