Buff wrestling splits home duals on Feb. 1, beating Molalla and losing to Estacada.

WILL DENNER/MADRAS PIONEER - Catalino LeClaire won both of his matches at Thursday's home duals.
Madras split its final regular season dual at home last Thursday, beating Molalla 34-30 and losing to Estacada 48-27.

The night was significant for several reasons, namely senior night, and it being the Buffs' final home event of the season. But perhaps more importantly, it was the last live action Madras will see until the Feb. 9-10 4A Special District 1 Tournament in Molalla, where the top four placers will advance to the 4A State Tournament, Feb. 16-17 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

Some appeared ready for the postseason, including Catalino LeClaire (160) and Kody Zemke (182), who won both of their matches on the evening.

Three others were undefeated, though they only wrestled one match: Thomas LeClaire (170) topped Molalla's Wyatt Perkins by a 12-4 major decision; Harrison Manu (195) pinned Estacada's Draco Yandell in 2 minutes, 31 seconds; and William Lemus (220) prevailed over Estacada's Kenny Clark in a 5-3 decision. But in losses, even some wins, Madras found some moments to learn from during the upcoming week of practice.

"Some of us are getting out of character a little bit, trying to muscle people a little bit, instead of wrestling (with) technique," Madras head coach Cameron Mitchem said.

"We got to believe in our technique and work on it rather than just trying to be brutes."

Though some of the Buffs' younger wrestlers spent last weekend at the Central Oregon Frosh-Novice Championships at Mountain View High, those competing at districts were given a much-needed weekend off to rest.

The week of practice leading up to districts will largely be about reviewing and fine-tuning the techniques that they've already been working on all season.

Manu and Thomas LeClaire are the only Buffs to place at districts previously, and Manu is the only returning state qualifier. However, the team aims to get several more to state.

"From about 152 up to heavy, we're in the conversation," Mitchem said. "Whether they do (qualify) or not, they've got to perform ... They're all in the conversation."

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