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Boys and girls competed in Cottage Grove and the boys finished in 7th place overall, as a team.

COURTESY PHOTO: AMY GADBOIS - St. Helens High School boy wrestlers from left to right: Narcizo Garcia, Tristin Buchanan, Gavin Schaer and Wyatt Dingman. St. Helens High School boys and girls wrestling coach Greg Gadbois braved broiling hot weather to bring his wrestling squad to Cottage Grove for state meets this past weekend.

More than a dozen boys qualified for the boys OWA 5A State Tournament at Cottage Grove High School Friday, June 25 and Saturday, June 26.

As a team, the boys finished in seventh place, with two finalists and four placers overall.

Wyatt Dingman, who weighed in at 106 pounds, finished in third place. At 113, Gavin Schaer finished in fifth place. At 132, Narcizo Garza finished in second place. At 138, Tristin Buchanan finished in second place.

Other boys participating in the Cottage Grove event: Evan Willis, Malakie Gibney, Brendan Clegg, Jordan Johnson, Adam Stockwell, Josh DuHaime, Mavrick Rask, Tyler Jennings and Gunnar Thomas

Two female wrestlers qualified for the girl's state tournament at Cottage Grove High School on Thursday, June 24, as well: Isabella Nelson at 105 pounds and Kate Leonard at 110 pounds. Nelson finished in fourth place. The St. Helens girls finished 33rd place overall as a team, out of 55 that qualified.

Gadbois was encourage by the results. "I feel really good about it," he said. "As far as my time at St. Helens, that's the best we've done — for a lot of them, this is the most success they've ever had. All in all, it was a great experience and a great turnout for us. Finishing seventh in state is about as high as we've done in, maybe, the last 20 years."

Gadbois was happy about the girls' performance.

"The girls, as a team, have improved so much," he said. "It's so hard to play at girls state because it is one state meet for them. It's really hard for girls. Just to get there is a huge accomplishment."

When Gadbois started coaching at St. Helens, the girls team consisted of only two wrestlers. Today, they have between eight and ten at any given time.

"Our girls are improving by leaps and bounds," he said. "We have a couple of more girls coming up from the junior high that are going to help us next year. We only lose Isabella, whose is our only girl who graduates, so we're excited about the future of the girls program, too."

Gadbois is already thinking about next year's roster.

"I'm excited about the future of the program," he said. "I'm really happy for these kids."


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