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Senior Maximus Tate, reigning 126-pound Class 4A champion, returns form illness to lead Indians

PMG PHOTO: DEREK WILEY - Molalla senior Maximus Tate pins Santiam Christian's Riley Rothrock in the second period Tuesday night.

Molalla got its leader back.

Senior Maximus Tate, the reigning 126-pound Class 4A champion, returned to the mat Tuesday night after missing most of the season with whooping cough.

"I've been watching my teammates wrestle and it's been killing me not to be able to," said Tate, holding a salt inhaler for the cough. "It's my senior year and it sucks. It's time to get back into it."

Tate won his 132-pound match Tuesday, pinning Riley Rothrock in the second period.

To make weight, Tate said he did not eat anything for two days, which included his birthday.

While the whooping cough has put Tate behind in conditioning, his technique has improved.

"Honestly I think my wrestling itself has gotten better because I've been able to slow down and focus on my technique," Tate said. "I think I'm ahead of where I was last year. I've just got to get my conditioning up."

Of Tuesday's nine contested matches, the Indians won seven by fall to easily defeat Class 3A Santiam Christian 51-6 in a non-league dual.

Wrestling at 182 pounds, Audgen Shepard had the shortest match, pinning Aiden Meola in 27 seconds.

Molalla's Francisco Ignacio (285) and Dylan Wynn (152) wrestled the closest matches. After Ignacio won a 2-1 decision, Wynn, leading 11-9 in the second period, was able to get Zach Mitchell in an arm bar for a pin.

"It really just comes down to who wants it more and whose got more heart," Wynn said.

"He has a tendency to really create a lot of heart attacks for coaches," Molalla coach Nate Smyth said of Wynn. "This year especially, Dylan is really doing a good job of maintaining his composure on the mat. He just keeps fighting and it's paid off for him a lot."

PMG PHOTO: DEREK WILEY - Molalla wrestler Colby Findley won by fall Tuesday night against Santiam Christian.

Wyatt Steach (120), Alex Lowry (126), Christian Roberts (138) and Colby Findley (145) also earned pins for Molalla against Santiam Christian.

"They're starting to move," Smyth said. "That's what we're looking for. We don't want to see just flopping down on the mat. We want to see action and moving. It's a lot harder to hang on to someone when they're moving."

The Indians will spend next week in Central Oregon, wrestling at powerhouse Crook County on Thursday, Jan. 16 and then competing in the Oregon Classic at the Deschutes County Expo Center in Redmond Jan. 17-18.

The experience of battling the state's best will not only be good for Tate, but for all of Molalla's wrestlers.

"We're going to max him out," Smyth said of Tate. "We're going to push him hard. It's time. He's got to hit it."


Derek Wiley
Reporter
503-263-6831
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