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Banks qualifies nine wrestlers for this week's OSAA/OnPoint State Boys and Girls Wrestling Championships

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Banks' Hunter Smith wrestles during the 4A Special District 1 Regionals this past Friday and Saturday, Feb. 21-22, at North Marion High School in Aurora.The Banks wrestling team traveled to the 4A Special District 1 regionals this past weekend, placing fourth overall in the eight-team event held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 21-22, at North Marion High School in Aurora.

In all, the Braves qualified nine boys and one girl (Haylee Davis) for the OSAA/OnPoint State Wrestling Championships this Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28-29, at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

"I thought we wrestled to our potential," Banks head coach Dan Herb said. "We seemed to peak at the right time this year, wrestling our best over the last couple weeks."

Banks crowned two regional champions: sophomore Hunter Smith, who defeated Woodburn's Juan Velasquez by fall in the second round of their 106 pound match, and senior J.J. Ellis, who pinned Estacada's Nico Winsor in the first round of their 220 pound match.

Other qualifiers included second place finishers Dylan Smith, who lost to Tillamook's Austin Simmons in the 113 pound final, and Rephael Mauck, who placed second in the 170 pound weight class. Junior Ramsey Hering placed third in the heavyweight division, and Tyler Smith (138), Johnathan Dudley (160), Daevan Vereen (182) and Bryson Cook (220) finished fourth.

Tillamook won the team event, totaling 402 points, while Woodburn was second with 262, Estacada third with 239.5 and Banks fourth with 210. Rounding out the field were Molalla 144.5, Seaside 139.5, North Marion 58 and Astoria 40.

Herb said he was pleased with the bulk of his wrestlers' draw in the recently released state brackets, but also understands that some of his boys will be up against it due to their fourth place finishes.

"Our spots in the brackets look good for the most part," Herb said. "We had four guys who were fourth place at regionals, so it's the nature of the beast that they drew pretty tough kids in the first round."

The state championships are scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 28, and matches will be conducted until 10:30 p.m. Matches continue at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, with the finals beginning at 7 p.m.

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