Wrestling: North Marion shines in debut
The North Marion wrestling team still has it.
The Huskies made a strong debut last week, defeating the Canby Cougars 43-33 on Nov. 29 before traveling to Cascade High School where the team placed sixth against a deep field in the annual Perry Burlison Wrestling Classic.
It was a good reminder to the rest of the 4A teams that the Huskies have hardly skipped a beat after graduating state champion Lane Stigall and state runner-up Levi Wing, along with two other state qualifiers, from last year's team that placed third at the state championships.
Of course North Marion brings back junior Russel Stigall, who claimed the 120-pound state title in 2017 and is looking to add another championship to his resume this season. Stigall took a forfeit victory in last week's win over the 6A Cougars, which was the first of four straight individual wins for the Huskies to rally from a 33-19 deficit.
Brandon Gibson (138 pounds), Avidan Sanchez (145) and Travis Randall (152) scored pins to give the Huskies an emphatic comeback victory after taking an initial lead Wednesday night.
The dual began with a pin from Saul Tarula at 160 points, followed by a major decision from Alec Roberts at 182, another pin by Matt Carrillo at 195 and a decision by Ramon Organiz at 220 to give North Marion a 19-3 lead early in the match.
But the Cougars stormed back with a win in the 285-pound match, which began a streak of five straight wins by pinfall or forfeit to take a 14-point lead before the Huskies' comeback to steal the win.
North Marion carried that momentum into the weekend, where the team placed four of 10 wrestlers in a talented field that included last year's 4A champion Sweet Home and second-place team Crook County.
Stigall had the team's biggest victory of the tournament, scoring a 5-3 decision over Crook County's Pacer Quire to win the 132-pound bracket. The two have met in each of the past two state championship tournaments, with Stigall defeating Quire in last year's semifinal to earn a berth to the championship match.
Gibson also reached the title match at the Cascade tournament, picking up wins by pinfall, major decision and twice by decision before losing by technical fall to Crescent Valley's two-time 5A state champion Legend Lamer.
Other North Marion placers include Carrillo, who, placed third in the 195-pound bracket, and Sanchez.
Carrillo won back-to-back matches to advance to the bracket semifinal, but lost a 6-3 decision to Thurston's Avery Jaramillo to fall to the consolation side, where he won his final two matches by first round pinfall, finishing the weekend on a high note.
Sanchez opened the tournament with a tie-breaker loss, but rallied with four straight victories to advance to the 145-pound consolation semifinals. Sanchez lost his final two matches of the weekend to finish sixth overall.
The Huskies continue their season this week with a return trip to Cascade on Wednesday for a tri-dual match, followed by weekend tournaments at Silverton and Westview high schools for the Rose City Championships.