Caleb Carter places sixth to pace St. Helens wrestlers at state
The Lions knew what they were in for.
St. Helens' best wrestlers — competing in the Class 5A state tournament at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Friday and Saturday — knew the competition would be tough, but the Lions got after it just the same.
By the time the two-day event had finished, five St. Helens wrestlers had participated in 14 matches, their efforts highlighted by senior Caleb Carter's sixth-place finish at 285 pounds.
For Carter, who earlier took second in the Northwest Oregon Conference district tournament, his success at state just reinforced his decision to return to wrestling after a two-year hiatus.
"I think it was really important to me coming back after just wrestling my freshman year," Carter said. "To come back and make state myself, it means a lot to the team and the county."
Carter, who was sixth-seeded in the 285-pound bracket, opened his tournament with a second-round pin of Churchill's Cole Woodke, but fell short in his ensuing quarterfinal, dropping a 3-1 overtime decision to Mountain View's third-seeded Reed Sehorn-Hurst.
Undaunted, Carter rallied to win his next three matches, beating Summit's Jonah Yunker with a first-round pin, winning a 5-4 tiebreaker over Brandon Lareau of Crescent Valley next, then pinning Hermiston's Beau Blake 26 seconds into the third round.
But then, in the fifth-place match, Carter ran into Sehorn-Hurst again, this time falling short in a hard-fought 2-0 loss.
"I was hoping for more, but I'm definitely pleased with myself after the amount of time that I have had and experience that I have had," Carter said.
Key to his senior season success, Carter said, was the solid coaching he got all year and the hard work his coaches encouraged him to put in.
"My coaches helped me a ton, and with extra work at practice and hard work with former state champion Miguel Olmedo and his brother (Mario Olmedo), everyone just came out and helped," he said.
The Lions sent four other wrestlers on to state — each of them fourth-place finishers at district — junior Joseph Austin at 106, sophomore Ethan Hubbs at 126, senior William Webb at 138 and sophomore Ryan Burri at 152.
In his two matches, Austin lost by a second-round pin to Chance Lamer of Crescent Valley, then was eliminated when he was pinned in the first round by Crater's Jacob Banry.
Hubbs also wrestled twice at state, giving up a first-round pin to Cade Ezell of Thurston, then getting pinned at the end of the first round against Silverton's Isaac Whitehead.
In his two matches, Webb lost by first-round pin to Shane Teigen of Thurston, then was pinned in the third round by John Cole of Mountain View.
Burri, likewise, wrestled twice at state, dropping a 9-1 major decision to Carson Fassett of Mountain View in his opener, then falling 13-3 in his finale to Cody Klient of Lebanon.
St. Helens finished 24th in the team standings with 11 points; Dallas won the team title with 188 points while Crater took second at 158.
— Lon Austin contributed to this story