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Buffs claim silver at home tourney, beat Wilsonville in dual; girls compete at qualifiers tourney.

STEELE HAUGEN - Senior Kody Zemke uses a suplex takedown in his championship match at the White Buffalo Invitational Feb. 8. 
Zemke pinned his challenger at the 3:58 mark. Madras placed second as a team, scoring 187 points. Hood River claimed gold with 197.5 points.

The Madras White Buffalo wrestling team hosted the White Buffalo Invitational Saturday, Feb. 8.

Eight teams including Madras participated in the invite, and Madras scored 187 points, placing second at the home tournament. 5A Hood River (197.5) claimed gold and 5A Wilsonville (175) placed third. Molalla (155), Sisters (122), The Dalles (92), North Marion (88) and Corbett (60) were also at the tournament.

"We came out a little flat, which is something I really was not sure if the kids would be ready for," head coach Brad Padgett said. "It was a late-night setup after they already wrestled in a dual. My thoughts leading up the tournament was just telling the kids this was practice for districts. Go out there, fight, and work on what we have learned. Right now, we are focused on districts and state. We could have showed up with a little bit more heart and fight, but at the same time, these kids continually make me proud and always surprise me every day."

First-time wrestler Jesus Alonzo continued to show his potential as he placed first at 120 pounds. Alonzo had a quarterfinals bye and only needed 32 seconds to pin his semifinals challenger.

In his championship match, Alonzo faced Trey Conner, of Corbett. Alonzo took down Conner at will in the first round and would let Conner up after every takedown. Alonzo had a 6-3 lead at the end of the first round. He earned a takedown and pin in the second round to place first for Madras.

"I think I did good," Alonzo said. "I just wanted to go and win. I train hard and I am disciplined. For districts, I am going to practice hard, never give up, and stay positive. It is all mental."

"I think the reason why he has adjusted to the wrestling world so fast is because he puts hard work first, before potential," Padgett said. "He has athletic ability, but so does everyone else on the team. One thing that separated him from everyone else is his ability to continually work hard. Winning this tournament is a big confidence booster for him going into districts. I think this kid can place at state. He continuously asks what he can work on and fix. We tell him once, and it is fixed."

At 152 pounds, senior Orlando Torres placed first for the Buffs. Torres won his first two matches by fall to reach the finals match, where he would face Austin Sharpe, of Wilsonville.

Sharpe was able to take Torres down early, but Torres earned an escape. Near the end of the first round, Sharpe was also able to score a reversal, taking a 4-2 lead over Torres.

Torres started on the bottom in the second round and earned a reversal and near fall, taking a 6-4 lead over Sharpe heading into the final round. Torres was on top to start the third round and was patient, earning points for two near falls to secure a 12-4 decision victory.

Senior Kody Zemke claimed gold at the tournament in impressive fashion. The 195-pound wrestler pinned his first opponent in 1:06 to reach the finals after a quarterfinals bye. Zemke faced Ethan Martin, of Sisters, in the finals match.

Zemke and Martin were patient in the first round, but Zemke was able to earn a takedown in the last 29 seconds of the first round. Still, he was reversed in the last second of the first round. The score was tied 2-2 after the opening round.

Zemke started on the bottom in the second round but quickly scored on an escape. Zemke took down Martin with a suplex takedown, which led to a pin victory at the 3:58 mark.

Sophomore Reece White made it to the championship match after pinning his first two opponents. Dusty Dodge, of The Dalles, was able to earn a takedown early in the finals match, but White reversed the position.

After a short break due to blood, Dodge was able to pin White at the 1:39 mark. White placed second for the Buffalos.

STEELE HAUGEN - Freshman Cael White lifts up his opponent during the White Buffalo Invitational Feb. 8. 
White placed third at the tournament and the Buffs finished in second place.Malacai Alire (126), Cael White (132), Dalton Kiefer (138) and Tom Kallenbach (145) all went 2-1 at the tournament, placing third for Madras. Shain Beymer (220) also placed third with a 1-1 record.

Conner Comingore (152) went 3-2 at the tournament, and Isaiah Martinez (145) went 3-1. Avan Garcia (106), Colin Switzler (138), and Dominick Holliday (182) all won one match. At the same time, Robert Warner (132), Ayden Holcomb (145), Alex Arreola (160), Josh Olney (160), Leander Smith (160), Garrett Jackson (170), Isaias Abianeda (195) and Chris Gandy (285) were winless.

Dual against Wildcats

The day before the tournament, Madras and Wilsonville squared off in a dual. The Buffalos came away with a 42-30 victory on senior night.

"I got a little emotional before the dual," Padgett said. "I brought in all the seniors in and talked to them before we started. I have gotten really close to this team despite our ups and downs, but that is what a family is like. I really sought to create that family culture, and these seniors really embraced it. With me coming in, I did not get to coach them their whole high school career. It was really nice to see that trust from them. I can really see it in their performances on the mat. It goes hand in hand. It added a little bit of pizazz to their stature and wrestling style that I would love to see them continue with here on out. These are some tough men that I really don't want to say goodbye to."

Malacai Alire (126) won by fall and Cael White (132) a 12-0 major decision to give Madras a 10-0 lead to start the dual off. The 138- and 152-pound matches were won by fall by Wilsonville, but Madras won the 145-pound match due to forfeit.

Orlando Torres won a very close 5-3 decision at 160 pounds to give the Buffs a 19-12 lead. Wilsonville won the 170-pound match, but Reece White (182) was able to get the Buffalos back on track with a fall at the 2:38 mark. Madras won the 195- and 220-pound matches due to forfeit.

Wilsonville won the 285-pound match and won the 106-pound match due to forfeit. The 113-pound match was a double forfeit, and Jesus Alonzo (120) won a 17-2 technical fall victory to secure the 42-30 victory over Wilsonville.

The Buffalos travel to La Grande for the district tournament Feb. 21-22.

Girls qualifiers

Three female wrestlers competed in the girls South Regional qualifier competition at Thurston High School Feb. 7-8. With 59 schools, including Madras, the girls placed 11th with 69 points. Thurston (265), Bend (131) and North Medford (123) placed in the top three.

Three-time female state champion wrestler Bailey Dennis (170) took care of business at the qualifier, winning all four matches by fall. In her championship match, Bailey Dennis pinned Zoey Smalley, of Douglas, in 48 seconds.

Peyton Dennis (155) won her first two matches by fall but lost her semifinals match by fall at the 3:10 mark. She only needed 1:14 to pin her consolation semifinals opponent, but she lost her third-place match in an 11-2 major decision. Peyton Dennis placed fourth in the qualifier.

Ashlyn Dennis (190) won her first two matches but lost her next two by decisions. She pinned her opponent in 55 seconds in the fifth-place match but lost the fourth-place match by fall. She placed fifth for Madras.

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