The Sherwood High School wrestling team reached new heights.
The Bowmen not only had their highest placing in the team standings since they moved to the Class 6A level, but they also sent a pair of wrestlers — sophomore Ethan Ritchie and junior Bryan Cuthbertson — to the championship finals of the Class 6A state wrestling tournament, held Friday and Saturday at Portland's Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
"It means a lot," said Ritchie, who was the state runner-up at 106 pounds. "I've worked really hard over the summer for this. I'm disappointed that it didn't go my way, but it was a great experience, really fun."
"Yeah, it's probably the best year we've had in awhile," said Sherwood sophomore Seth Glenn, who placed sixth at 160 pounds. "It was really fun, I got to spend a lot of time with my teammates."
Sherwood, which had 10 competitors at the state tournament, finished in sixth place in the team standings with a score of 95 points.
"We did good. Better than last year, with less guys," Ritchie said. "I thought even should have won some matches that we lost. Everyone has improved a lot."
Ritchie sure showed his improvement since last year.
The No. 2-seeded Ritchie, who finished sixth at 106 pounds a year ago, received a first-round bye to start the tournament. He then pinned Roseburg's Cristian Martinez, in a time of 1 minute and 46 seconds, in a second-round match. In the quarterfinals, Ritchie got an 11-2 major decision win over seventh-seeded Josue Guttierez of Tualatin. That put Ritchie in the semifinals against Centennial freshman Mason Belles, the No. 3 seed.
With a spot in the finals on the line, Ritchie didn't waste any time. He scored on a takedown just 12 seconds into the match, and then pinned Belles at the 0:58 mark.
"The person I wrestled was my toughest opponent all year. I wrestled him twice," Ritchie said. "It just felt good to stick him in the first round, and get to the finals."
Ritchie appeared to be overcome with joy following the victory, running over and jumping up into the arms of Bowmen head coach Jeff Wilson.
"They were out of the roof," Ritchie said of his emotions. "I was super happy. I was happy to get in the finals. That was the main thing, especially beating him."
In the 106-pound title match, against top-seeded Braydon Boyd of Sprague, Ritchie was in for a battle. Boyd took a 2-0 lead with a takedown coming with 1:16 left in the first round. Ritchie countered with an escape, cutting the lead to 2-1 going into the second round.
Ritchie then got another escape to open the second period, tying the match at 2-2. But Boyd came back strong, getting a takedown and a 3-point nearfall to open up a 7-2 lead. Ritchie came back again. The Bowmen sophomore got an escape and a reversal, as well as a penalty point, cutting Boyd's lead to 9-6 going into the third round. But Boyd scored on both a reversal and a takedown in the final period on his way to getting a 13-7 decision victory.
"Braydon Boyd is a great wrestler. He beat me twice last year, in the first round both times, but, I don't know. Honestly, I have no clue. It was just tough and long."
Still, Ritchie was happy with his second-place finish.
"It means a lot," said Ritchie, who ended his season with a 31-5 record.. "It shows that I've improved a lot, worked hard. It was blood, sweat and tears just to get to this point. The tournament was really fun. It was very nerve-wracking for the first day. For the second day, I turned the switch and it was really good, really exciting."
Cuthbertson, the No. 1 seed at 220, got off to a roaring-fast start to the tournament. After receiving a first-round bye, Cuthbertson pinned Tualatin's Curtis Strahm in 0:15, he pinned McNary's Aldo Villalvazo in 3:23 in the quarterfinals, and he beat Roseburg's Hunter Blix by fall in 1:32 in the semifinals, giving the Bowmen junior a berth in the 220 finals for the second year in a row.
In the state title bout, against Mountain View's Titus Schulz, who pinned his previous four opponents, Cuthbertson started strong, getting a takedown and a 2-point nearfall to claim a 4-0 lead going into the second round. Schulz opened the scoring in the second round with a 2-point nearfall, making the score 4-2 with 1:09 left in the round, but Cuthbertson came back with an escape, giving him a 5-2 lead going into the final period.
Schulz scored on a reversal to start the third round. Cuthbertson came back with an escape, but Schulz then scored on a takedown, tying the score at 6-6. Cuthbertson took a 7-6 lead with an escape with 45 seconds left in the match, but Schulz answered with a takedown, and then a 3-point nearfall as time expired, giving him an 11-7 decision victory.
Cuthbertson finished his outstanding junior season with a 40-2 record.
Glenn, wrestling at the state tournament for the first time, received a first-round bye, but then he lost to fourth-seeded Brook Byers of Sprague by technical fall in a second-round bout.
"My first match, I didn't feel comfortable, but it was my first time at state," Glenn said.
Glenn rebounded in a big way. He won four straight matches in the consolation bracket, including a 5-1 decision win over Westview's Kevon Zaluka, the No. 5 seed, in the consolation fifth round.
Glenn then fell to No. 7 seed Cougar Friesen of Newberg, and second-seeded Colin Rietmann of Roseburg, leaving him in sixth place.
"It means a lot, because my dad placed here, four times," Glenn said. "So, I really pushed through the season, just trying to compete a lot in practice, way harder than I did last year."
Other Bowmen grapplers found success at state. Senior Philip Resch went 4-2 at 138 pounds. Senior Nick Severson went 4-2 at 285. Junior Dallen Jolley went 3-2 at 132. Senior Bram Nelson, at 145, and senior Brody Stevens, at 152, each picked up one win.
Junior Zackary Coenen, at 120 pounds, and senior Ian Glenn, at 170, also wrestled for Sherwood at the state tournament.
Newberg won the Class 6A state team championship with a score of 310.5. Roseburg was second at 262.5.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.