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The Spartans qualify 10 for the upcoming 5A state wrestling championships, while the Braves will send 12 to the 4A meet.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Hillsboro's Preston Echeverria wrestles in the 170-pound final as part of the NWOC District Wrestling Championshps Feb. 11-12, at Hillsboro High School.It wasn't the district title they were looking for, but the Hillsboro boys wrestling team still represented well at the Northwest Oregon Conference district wrestling championships this past Friday and Saturday, Feb. 11-12, at Hillsboro High School.

The Spartans finished second overall to St. Helens, boasting three district champions en route to qualifying 10 wrestlers for the OSAA 5A state wrestling championships Feb. 26 at Ridgeview High School.

Amongst Hillsboro's three champions was senior Michael Ellis, who ran roughshod over his bracket on his way to the 152-pound title. Ellis pinned all of his opponents, including St. Helens' Malakie Gibney in the 152-pound final, each in under 48 seconds — something he had little issue with.

"I think I get my practicing in during practice," Ellis said. "As little time as I can spend on the mat in competition is just fine with me."

The senior said overall that he was pleased with how he wrestled in the event, especially coming off of a defeat to Scappoose's Wyatt Anicker — who wrestled at and placed second in the 160-pound weight division at districts — during a dual meet just over a week ago.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Hillsboro's Michael Ellis accepts his first place medal for winning the 152-pound weight division at the NWOC District Wrestling Championshps Feb. 11-12, at Hillsboro High School."I thought I wrestled great," he said. "I was excited going in, especially after losing last week, so I was really pumped for every single match and tried to treat them each like a final."

Ellis' teammate Darrius Walker too stood atop the podium after winning the 195-pound weight division. Walker was forced to face teammate Matthew Baker — something he said is always a little difficult — in the final, but prior to the final, he pinned his first three opponents rather quickly.

The senior said he's ready for state and is excited for the challenge of facing the state's best.

"It's always exciting," he said. "I'm pretty happy with how I wrestled here this weekend and excited to go to that level."

Junior Sebastian Echeverria joined Ellis and Walker as district champions, winning the 220-pound division by pinning St. Helens' Daniel Bennett.

Second-place finishers included sophomore Preston Echeverria at 170 pounds, Baker, and sophomore Skyler Salzman, who was pleased with his tournament despite coming up short in the 138-pound final.

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Banks' Daevon Vereen holds up his hand in victory after winning the 182-pound weight division at the OSAA 4A Special District 1 wrestling meet Feb. 11-12, at Molalla High School."I feel great," Salzman said. "Obviously, I didn't get first, but I'm still going to state, and that's what matters to me."

Salzman said that last year, he wrestled injured at state, so this year, he said, he's extra-motivated and interested to see how he stacks up with a healthy go of it.

"Being hurt last year was tough, but this year I'm 100 percent and I'm excited to see how I can do," said Salzman.

Meanwhile, the Banks Braves finished second to Tillamook in the 4A Special District 1 regional Feb. 11-12, at Molalla High School.

The Braves qualified 12 kids for the 4A state wrestling championships, scheduled for Feb. 26 at Cascade High School, and claimed three first-place finishes, two seconds, three thirds and four fourths.

Head coach Dan Herb said he was for the most part happy with his team's performance, as well as excited to see what they can do at the upcoming state tournament.

"We wrestled tough," Herb said. "With 12 kids going through to state that puts us in a solid position to bring home a top-four trophy."

Banks got first-place finishes from senior Dylan Smith (132), junior Daevon Vereen (182) and sophomore Mishael Mauck (220), along with seconds from Mason Warren (113) and Jack Vandehey (138), thirds from Jack Lyda (138), Ayden Rambel (195), and Braydon Ball (285), and fourths from Benjamin Dinan (106), Luke Bozied (145), Trent Rogers (170) and Luke Bigsby (285).

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