Local wrestlers earned mixed results at annual Don York Invitational
Newberg's Price Pothier placed first in the 152-pound weight class and Gavin Korkeakoski took top honors at 160, leading the Tigers to the team title Saturday at the Don York Invitational high school wrestling tournament at Portland's Cleveland High School.
The Tigers entered 27 wrestlers in the two-day tournament and rode the strength of six finalists to a 285-246 victory over runner-up Centennial in the 21-team race. Tualatin placed third with 241.5 points.
Each of the three local teams — Clackamas, Gladstone, and Putnam — had their moments, but fell short of landing any individual titles and walked away from the tournament wanting more.
Gladstone heavyweights Josh Heywood and Stefan Smith finished second and third, respectively, Hunter Lehman finished fourth at 160, Chael Williams took fifth at 170, and Carlos Rodriguez placed sixth at 195 to help lift the Gladiators to a ninth-place finish with 128.5 points.
Heywood, seeded third at 285, won his first three matches with consecutive first-round pins against Southridge's Jackson Loftis, St. Helens' Tyler Jennings, and Tualatin's Braden Moore, setting up a finals showdown with top-seeded Ford McKinnis of Sandy.
McKinnis, coming off a 4-2 win over Gladstone's Smith in the semifinals, scored the initial takedown in the final and took Heywood directly to his back, winning by fall at 47 seconds of the first round.
"Overall, I guess we did all right, but not as good as I thought we were going to do," said Gladiators coach Rodney Hawthorne, who brought 16 wrestlers to the tournament. "Everybody seemed a little stale. I know we placed in the top 10, but I wanted a top-seven finish.
"At this point in the season, I thought some of the younger guys needed to step up and show me a little bit more. The competition here was a little stiffer and maybe it was the tougher competition, I don't know. But I thought we could have put in a little bit better effort."
Clackamas showed up with a 14-man team and advanced three in the semifinals. Andrew Talavera placed third at 145, Johnny Ryan finished third at 152, and Jackson Wilcoxen settled for fourth at 113 as the Cavaliers finished 10th in the team race with 126 points.
"For us, this is our fourth Saturday in a row at a tournament," Cavaliers coach Jayson Wullbrandt said. "When you've got a tournament and then you've got a couple of days to practice, they' you've got a holiday, and they you've got another tournament, it's always hard and that showed here where we were a little bit behind and not quite where we need to be with some of our technique."
Talavera, seeded fourth at 145, bounced back from a 7-5 loss to top-seeded Patrick Brown of Cleveland in the semifinals with a 14-4 major decision over Liberty's David Ponce in the consolation semifinals and a 10-4 victory over Sunset's Humberto Soto in the third-place match.
"Talavera is the epitome of what we want — really tough, doesn't give up points, really basic with what he does, and he does simple things simple things very well," Wullbrandt said. "You win a lot of matches if you do simple things really well and you don't give up a lot of points, especially against good wrestlers."
Ryan, the No. 1 seed at 152, surrendered a third-round fall to Newberg's Pothier in the semifinals, but turned around and defeated Tualatin's Noah Brooks 8-2 and then won by first-round fall over Reynolds' Allen Jacinto for third place.
"It was a good tournament for those guys, and some other guys have some stuff to work on here with David Douglas coming up Thursday," Wullbrandt said. "We get three good days of practice and then you get to wrestle a good kid. Hopefully, we'll fix some of these things that they've been struggling with.
"Over the next month, it will be nice to have some time to go back and adjust stuff instead of just trying to fix things on the fly."
Putnam 126-pounder Drew Greco bounced back from a loss in the semifinals to place fourth, while Ray Taitingfong finished fifth at 106 and Kevin Villa took fifth at 220 for the Kingsmen, who finished 15th overall with 95 points.
"We were pleased with our wrestlers," Putnam coach John Telesmanich said. "As young as we are, we had a couple of first-year kids who were one match away from getting through to Saturday's round. They wrestled really well, so we were happy.
"It's hard going from where we've been to being pleased with a 15th-place finish, but with our youth and the way we're growing, what we did over these two days was nice."
Of the 17 Putnam wrestlers in the tournament, six advanced into Saturday's round.
"I think only two of our kids wrestled only twice," Telesmanich said. "The rest of our kids all got to wrestle at least three matches each and a few of them got their first varsity win, so that was huge."
Sugar and spice
In the girls tournament, Centennial's Daisy Lerma pinned her way to the 155-pound title and Sade Davis placed first at 170, pacing the Eagles to a 184-132 victory over Forest Grove in the team race.
Putnam's Cheyenne MacKenzie went 3-0 with three first-round pins to claim the 140-pound title. She stopped Southridge's Fiona Finnigan in 19 seconds in the quarterfinals, she pinned Lincoln's Maxine Fhurer at 1:35 in the semifinals, and then she put Wilsonville's Emilie Miller on her back at 1:08 in the finals.
Milwaukie's Fiona McConnell dominated the 190-pound bracket, pinning McNary's Dalilia Hernandez at 1:34 of the first round in the semifinals, and then winning by fall over Sandy's Olivia Willard with 32 seconds remaining in the second round of the championship final.
In other highlights, Milwaukie's Jaden South went 3-1 and placed third at 125, Clackamas' Cadence Ciupryk went 1-2 and finished fifth at 170, Clackamas' Dakota Reeves went 2-2 and placed sixth at 120, and Gladstone's Allie Grant also went 2-2 and took sixth at 145.
A field of 106 wrestlers representing 22 schools competed in the girls tournament, which featured two 12-girls brackets (120, 130), one 11-girl bracket (145), and two nine-girl brackets (125, 155).
By Jim Beseda
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