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Madras White Buffalo wrestling team loses close home dual to Hood River Eagles 43-35, prepare for Oregon Classic.

STEELE HAUGEN - Colin Switzler pins his Hood River opponent in the second round at a home dual Jan. 7.The Madras White Buffalo wrestling team hosted a dual against the 5A Hood River Valley Eagles Jan. 4, losing a close 43-35 contest.

Dalton Kiefer (138) was the first White Buffalo to step on the mat, but he was pinned in the first round.

The next Buffalo was Colin Switzler at 145 pounds, who was dominant from the very start. Switzler was able to do whatever he wanted in the first round and took a 15-3 lead after the first round. He was able to score on a near fall to make the score 19-4, winning by technical fall.

Connor Comingore stepped on the mat at 152 pounds and, after a fast-paced first round, Comingore was pinned with the score tied at 4.

At 160 pounds, Josh Olney was pinned in 38 seconds, but teammate Reece White (170) was able to pin his Hood River challenger in the last 25 seconds of Round One after already having a big 8-2 lead.

In the next match, three-time female state champion wrestler Bailey Dennis took the mat for the Buffalos. Her Hood River opponent was able to get an early takedown in the first round, but she was able to score a reversal to tie the score 2-2.

Maverick Gellar, of Hood River, was able to escape and earn a takedown in the last 10 seconds of the first round, taking a 5-2 lead over Dennis. The second and third rounds were all Gellar, and Dennis lost a 16-2 decision.

"Bailey hit that one reversal and hit that kid off guard and that kid got scared," head coach Brad Padgett said. "I saw it on his face. The only reason he won was because of his strength. Bailey was on a different level technically. I think that said volumes about who she is as a wrestler."

At 220 pounds, Kody Zemke didn't waste any time, pinning his opponent in 42 seconds.

Chris Gandy stepped on the mat and was taken down to start the match. He was able to reverse the position, but was soon reversed himself and pinned.

Heavyweight wrestler David Sumner showed his patience and strength in his match for Madras. After a slow start, Sumner used one quick move to take down his challenger, Danny Chavarria, and pin him soon after.

After the heavyweights, the dual continued at 106 pounds as female freshman Kylie Boynton wrestled next for Madras. Boynton was taken down right away, but kept fighting as the round continued.

She was able to escape and earn a takedown in the last few seconds of the opening round, taking a 3-2 lead. Boynton started on top in the second round and was called for illegal placement of the hands. After the foul, her Hood River opponent Noah McElheran, was able to score on a reversal, taking a 5-3 lead.

In the final round, Boynton started on the bottom and quickly escaped, cutting the Hood River lead to 5-4. Boynton was eventually taken down and was again called for illegal hands, as Boynton lost an 8-5 decision.

"I told her I think she could win," said Padgett before the match started. "I think she realized she can do a lot better than she thought she could. It was really cool to see the guys rally around them and say, 'No, you are a part of us, there is no separation. We want you to win, we think you can win,' and as a whole, it was amazing. It sparked a new drive in me."

Madras did not have a 113-pound wrestler and Hood River scored points on a disqualification, but Hood River did not have a 120-pound wrestler and Madras also scored on a disqualification.

Malachi Alire was pinned in the first round in the next match, but freshman teammate Cael White was able to earn a fall in the first round to end the dual between the Madras White Buffalos and the Hood River Valley Eagles.

The 5A Eagles were able to edge off the Buffs for a 43-35 victory. The only matches that went all six minutes were with female wrestlers Dennis and Boynton.

"My thoughts after this first dual is, these kids actually showed up for war and put on a good show," Padgett said. "That was the highlight of my night. Five years ago when I was the coach, we couldn't handle a dual because we would give up like six forfeits. We did not have a full lineup. This is the first year, in a lot of years, where we only forfeited one weight. We competed with this team, and I think they are rated number 10 for the 5A schools.

"After the dual, I asked the team, 'Are you proud of yourselves? Are you happy with how you showed up?'" he said. "Me, I always want to win, but first I want to win with these kids in life. Kody Zemke stepped up as a captain and said, 'I am really proud of how we did.' I asked him why and he responded, 'Because all these years I have been wrestling here, duals have never really mattered until tonight.'

"It was really cool to see that fire lit in them, and the next day at practice these kids were animals," Padgett said. "That dual created hunger. That eight points is two matches. If we win two more matches, we win that dual. They are an established team. With Cameron Mitchem handing the program off with such excellence, he is setting us up for success as last year's head coach.

"These kids, with the people that are involved in this program like the Whites, Boyntons, Dennises, Alires, Zemkes, all of our coaches and everything together, it shocked the world for me on Tuesday in my mind," said Padgett. "We did have a loss and are still hungry to win, but I think we did win with our community."

Madras competes in the Oregon Classic wrestling tournament at the Expo Center in Redmond Jan. 17-18. The tournament starts at 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 17.

"My expectations are for us to just show up for war and wrestle tough," said Padgett. "With the weights we wrestled Tuesday, I think we might show up and do some damage. At the same time, it depends on how they show up. I think we can win and compete and I will do everything I can to prepare them mentally and physically to succeed."

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