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Molalal's wrestling team took three to state tournaments and came home with three podium finishes

Seeing all the Molalla wrestlers who earned their way to state make the podium was a good feeling for Molalla High wrestling coach Nathan Smyth.

Junior Haley Hewlett snagged a fourth in the girls competition at 130 pounds, while Max Salvetti claimed a third at 113 pounds and Colby Findley took sixth at 132 pounds.

Hewlett got things rolling on June 24 at Cottage Grove High School, winning two matches and losing two. She opened with a win by fall in the first round, but fell in the second. A consolation win over her North Salem opponent got her into the third place match, where she was defeated 11-3 by her Lincoln opponent.

COURTESY PHOTO: NATHAN SMYTH - Haley Hewlett works for the pin during her state tournament run.

"Haley had a very competitive bracket with many state placers. I had the utmost faith that Haley would podium this year," Smyth said. "Her work ethic in the room was focused and her determination showed every day as she fought through a shoulder injury and severely twisted ankle. Haley received and accepted an invitation for the Oregon girls team and is headed to Fargo, N.D. in July to represent Oregon on the mat."

The boys state 4A meet was held June 25-26 at Cascade High School.

Salvetti opened with wins in the first two rounds before dropping his semifinal match. He then snagged a 9-6 win in the consolation semifinals, then added a pin in the third-place match.

COURTESY PHOTO: NATHAN SMYTH - Molalla wrestlers Max Salvetti and Colby Findley each placed at this year's 4A state wrestling tournament.

"Max was hungry and on fire. In one of the most competitive brackets, pound for pound, Max held his own and left his mark," Smyth said. "Max was an animal and had two distinct victories against previous opponents that he had lost to early in the season. He received and accepted an opportunity to try out for Team Oregon, which will dual many of the western states with a goal to represent Oregon at the Team Nationals tournament in late summer."

Findley was seeded No. 7 coming into the tournament but bettered that by a place. After an opening round win, he dropped into the consolation bracket after a second round loss. From there, he went 2-2, falling in the fifth-place match to a Sweet Home opponent.

COURTESY PHOTO: NATHAN SMYTH - Molalla wrestling coach Nathan Smyth with Haley Hewlett after her state tournament run to fourth place.

"Colby fought long and hard to accomplish a goal, following major shoulder surgery about a year ago," Smyth said. "Colby was not certain if he would ever wrestle his senior year due to Covid restrictions and the surgery. Although his two days were filled with victories and defeats, Colby left the state tournament with his name in Molalla's and the state record books. I am proud of this young man and look forward to what he will accomplish as he moves beyond this phase of his life.

"I am proud of this team's accomplishments," Smyth added. "Nothing is given, everything is earned and these grapplers just earned their way into the record books."

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