Buffalos place third at Cottage Grove
The Madras wrestling program took third place at the Cottage Grove Invitational Jan. 31-Feb. 2. With 30 teams at the tournament, the Buffalos scored 193.5 points to claim bronze. Grants Pass (387.5) took home the gold trophy, and McKay was barely able to edge out Madras, scoring 194 points to place second.
Sophomore Reece White was the highest placer for the White Buffalos with a second-place finish. After a first round bye, White pinned his first two opponents. The first in 1 minute, 22 seconds and the next challenger in 4:56.
White then beat Fisher Bastian, of Hidden Valley, in an 11-5 decision in the quarterfinals and bested Izaak Worsch, of Corvallis, in an extremely close 3-2 decision victory to reach the championship match.
Drew Swenson, of Cottage Grove, was able to beat White in a 7-2 decision to place first in the finals match at 170 pounds. White scored 26 team points for Madras.
"Overall it was a very good performance," said Reece White about the team. "There was some really tough schools and some really high-ranked schools and they had a lot more kids than us. All of our wrestlers performed really well and we are looking good for districts and state."
"I could have done a little bit more in my finals match, but overall everyone wrestled well," he said. "We need to keep working hard, don't let outside stuff come in, and just keep doing what needs to be done to get better."
Senior Kody Zemke (195) won six of his seven matches by fall, placing third for the White Buffalos. He pinned his first two challengers in under two minutes, but fell to Conner Kohn, of Philomath, by fall at the 3:10 mark.
Zemke came back strong after his loss, pinning his next two opponents to reach the consolation semifinals match. He was able to beat Christian Newlan, of Siuslaw, in a late fall at the 4:32 mark.
In the match for third place, Zemke only needed 1:59, a last-second pin at the end of the first round to defeat Davis Ruiz, of Grants Pass. Zemke scored 28 team points and was awarded a trophy for the most falls (6) in the fastest times. Zemke won his six matches in an average time of 2:17.
Senior Orlando Torres (152) competed in eight matches and won six of them, placing fourth. He also won an award for the most total points against his opponents. Torres scored 68 points against his challengers, more than any wrestler in the entire tournament.
After a first round bye, Torres pinned his first opponent in 1:25. In his second match, Torres was winning his match but was pinned in the last 13 seconds. Torres won his next four matches to reach the consolation semifinals match, where he was able to beat Rowan VonOrtloff, of Pleasant Hill, by fall in 1:51.
In the third place match, Skylar Peters, of Pleasant Hill, edged out Torres in a 14-11 decision. Torres scored 23 team points for the White Buffalos.
"We all had a rough week, but at the end we got everything together and by the time it was time to get on the mat and wrestle, we all went out there and gave it our all," Orlando Torres said. "We had a bunch of wins the first round, and I think as a team we were mentally and physically there. We competed how we were supposed to, and that is why we placed third.
"Everyone went out there and competed the best they could," he said. "People like Malachai, Kody, Reece, Erik, all wrestled hard and it showed because Kody earned an award, Reece placed second, Malachai and Erik wrestled back and tough. They called me up to the front and I thought I was in trouble because I did not know what I would be winning an award for. They told me I got close to 70 points in the whole tournament.
"I was preparing for this tournament all week," said Torres. "I didn't want anyone to be able to hold me down, (be) good on my feet and it paid off in the end."
Malachai Alire (126) finished in sixth place for the Buffs, scoring 17 team points. Alire lost his first match by fall after a first round bye, but was able to come back strong, winning his next four matches by fall.
Alire lost his consolation semifinals match to Diego Chaves, of Grants Pass, in an 11-0 major decision but won his next match by a 12-6 decision to place fifth.
Senior Erik Boynton (145) returned to action after missing several meets due to illness and was able to place sixth for Madras. Boynton won his first four matches by fall, but lost his next three matches, scoring 19 team points for the Buffs.
White, Zemke, Torres, Alire and Boynton combined for 113 of the Buffs' 193.5 points scored as a team.
Jesus Alonzo (120) and Shain Beymer (220) went 4-2 at the tournament, while Isaiah Martinez was able to go 3-2. Cale White (132), Dalton Kiefer (138), Colin Switzler (138), Conner Comingore (152) and Bailey Dennis (182) finished the tournament with 2-2 records.
Robert Warner (132), Josh Olney (160), Joel Kwiecien (170), Isaias Abianeda (195) and Chris Gandy (285) all won one match.
Madras hosts the White Buffalos Invitational Saturday, Feb. 8. Madras won the White Buffalo Invitational last season. This is the last time Madras will be at home this season. They had to La Grande for the district tournament Feb. 14-15.
"We just need to repeat from last year, have a couple kids win and place first as a team," White said.
"I definitely think this year is going to be a lot different because last year we did not have very many wrestlers and we still did really good," Torres said. "This year, with the kids we have and the mentality we have going into the tournament, we want the best for the team and we have the tools to win it again."
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