Eggers, Jamerson lead Scappoose at Class 4A wrestling
The Indians battled.
Weight by weight, match by match and day by day, the Scappoose wrestling team battled the state's best at the Class 4A state tournament, held Friday and Saturday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
And when the smoke had cleared at the end of the two-day event, the Indians had proven that they belonged with the best, finishing 13th in the team standings with 39 points. Crook County won the team title with 238.5 points, while Marshfield placed second with 155.5.
Scappoose, which earlier placed sixth at the regional tournament, took five wrestlers to the state tournament and three of those athletes placed among the top six in their respective weight classes.
Those efforts were led by senior Jack Eggers (the fourth-place finisher at 170 pounds), senior Zeddy Jamerson (fifth at 182) and sophomore A.J. DeGrande (sixth at 106). Sophomore Colton Frates and sophomore Peyton Healey were the Indians' other state qualifiers.
For Eggers, his third trip to state was his best and his most meaningful.
"I'll just remember the progress I made over the entire year," Eggers said. "Last year, I wasn't even close to the caliber I am this year. I got a lot better this year and I'm proud of that. I'm glad to be on the podium for the first time."
Eggers, the fifth seed at 170, kicked off his tournament with a second-round pin of Sutherlin's Will Singleton, then posted a 9-2 win over La Grande's Christopher Woodworth in his quarterfinal match.
But in his semifinal, top-seeded Travis Wittlake of Marshfield — the eventual state champion — was just too much. Wittlake, who closed his career as a four-time state champion, beat Eggers by technical fall, though Eggers was the only one of Wittlake's tournament opponents that didn't get pinned.
"He's one of the best guys in the nation and he's going to Oklahoma State so he's big time," Eggers said. "There's nothing I can do about that, but at least I didn't get pinned."
Eggers then came back to post a technical fall over Nich James of Sweet Home, before losing an 8-1 decision to Woodworth in the third-place match.
"I just made some mistakes my last match … (but) I'm happy with how I ended up," he added. "It's been a ride. It's taught me a lot of life lessons."
While Jamerson was making his first trip to state, he was tough, too. After placing just fourth in the regional tournament, he battled all the way to fifth at state.
And why not? He'd been toughened up pretty well by the region's best, with Special District 1 champ Draco Yandell of Estacada taking third at state, district runner-up Fabian Niemi of Tillamook taking fourth at state and Crook County's Jaxson Rhoden — the third-place finisher at regionals — placing second in the 4A tournament.
"Four of the people here are from my district so our district was pretty good," Jamerson said. "They are all pretty tough."
Jamerson opened his tournament with a 10-6 loss to top-seeded Matt Carillo of North Marion, but then strung together three straight wins in consolation action to stay alive. First, he beat Elmira's Mat Thorne 8-3. Next, he knocked off Kadin Baker of Douglas/Camas Valley 6-5. And then, he ousted Aiden Adams of Marshfield 8-5.
In the consolation semifinals, Jamerson dropped an 18-11 decision to Yandell, but he came back to beat Carillo 6-5 to place fifth.
"I went against the first seed in my first match and lost by four, then I came back again to meet him to take fifth place," Jamerson said. "I just wanted to make it on the podium."
Jamerson said that the key to his successful senior season was learning to deal with adversity.
"My coach showed me this video that basically told me to fight through and conquer your demons," he recalled. "I was suffering through being sick and having a hurt knee, so just getting through those was my accomplishment."
DeGrande, the Indians' other place winner, opened his tourney with a first-round pin of Douglas/Camas Valley's Clayton Hatcher, but lost an 11-3 major decision to Junction City's Cameron Truesdell in the quarterfinals.
DeGrande won his next two matches to earn a spot among the state's top six, posting a technical fall victory over Froylan Santiago of Ontario, then notching a 9-6 win over Reily Liesegang of Yamhill-Carlton/Gaston.
But Evan Potter of Junction City beat DeGrande by technical fall and Truesdell followed with a 5-3 victory in the fifth-place match.
Frates lost his opener at 113, but won his next two matches before falling in the third round of the consolation bracket. Healey, meanwhile, went 0-2 at 120.