Newberg wrestling dominates at district meet
There's beating an opponent soundly and then there is what the Newberg boys wrestling team did to its opposition at the Pacific Conference district wrestling meet on Saturday.
The Tigers crushed the other competing teams with 572 total points to take the district title. Century was a distant second with 213 points, followed by McMinnville with 189 points. Newberg claimed 12 individual district titles and will send 21 wrestlers to the state meet.
"It's really hard to score 400 points in a district tournament," Newberg coach Neil Russo said. "It's almost unthinkable to score over 500 and to be pushing 600 is just incredible. We got a ton of falls in the tournament, which are bonus points. Obviously we had 19 kids in the finals, which racks up a ton of points and we had teammate matchups in the finals which are automatic bonus points. So it takes a little bit of a perfect storm for that to happen and credit to our kids, for sure."
The meet was so one-sided in Newberg's favor that the team had 19 wrestlers win their way into the district finals, and seven of those matches were between teammates at 113, 120, 138, 145, 152, 160 and 220 pounds. Only two of the 14 final matches did not have at least one Newberg wrestler in them.
Despite that dominance, Russo was hesitant to make any predictions for the upcoming state championships on Saturday and Sunday at Sandy High School. His only goal is constant improvement.
"You hope that you're a little bit better than you were the week before," Russo said. "There are quality wrestlers all over the state and we have some kids that are going to get tested and there are some pretty competitive weight classes. We just hope to be in that mix and I hesitate to make any kinds of predictions about the number of finalists or the number of place winners or even the number of champions."
The Newberg district champions by weight class were Isaac Hampton (113), Ethan Ritchie (120), Zach Keinonen (126), Nicky Olmstead (132), Gus Amerson (138), Ayden Garver (145), Charlie Evans (152), Price Pothier (160), Gavin Korkeakoski (170), Kyle Kelley (182), Hudson Davis (195) and Hayden Hampton (220). Only Glencoe's Spencer Krussman (285) and Century's Tyrese Duncans (106) won their weight classes without wearing a Newberg singlet.
Also at the district meet, Newberg wrestlers raked in the all-league honors. First team all-league honors went to Isaac Hampton, Brandon Smith, Ethan Ritchie, Jacob Smith, Keinonen, Olmstead Amerson, Luke Augustus, Garver, Trae Frederick, Evans, Patrick Negra, Pothier, Cougar Friesen, Korkeakoski, Kelley, Davis, Hayden Hampton and Jonathan Moody.
Second team all-league honors went to Newberg wrestlers Dillon Le and Jeshua Storm.
Newberg's Sophia Redwine, who qualified for the girls wrestling state tournament in Culver by winning her district bracket, won the Hal Turpen Award of Merit for "outstanding character, citizenship, (and) perseverance." Russo won the Pacific Conference coach of the year.
Redwine will head to the girls state meet held at Culver High School on Thursday.
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