PORTLAND — Don't ever put anything past Bryan Cuthbertson.
He very well may surprise you — or pin you.
The Sherwood High School sophomore did plenty of surprising, and pinning, at the Class 6A state wrestling tournament.
Cuthbertson, a third-place finisher at the Pacific Conference district tournament the week before, and unseeded for the state tourney, battled his way to second place in the 220-pound weight class at the Class 6A state championships, held Friday and Saturday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
"It means a ton. It means everything to me," Cuthbertson said Saturday night, after receiving his second-place medal."I never really thought I'd make it to the finals. I knew it would be a challenge just to get to state. It was just different. I was No. 3 from our district, and I came into the state tournament unseeded. No one expected anything from me. I wasn't really sure what I could accomplish."
Well, Cuthbertson, and the Bowmen, ended up accomplishing a lot at the state tourney. In addition to Cuthbertson's second-place finish, and, of course, senior Gaven Jolley's state championship performance at 126 pounds (see related story, Gaven Jolley), Sherwood freshman Ethan Ritchie also earned a spot on the award stand. The Bowmen also finished in eighth place in the team standings at the state tournament with a score of 94.5 points.
"We're doing really well," Ritchie said. "We got two guys in the finals. That's pretty good."
"We did great this year," Jolley said. "We've got Bryan at 220, and he's a beast. We had 11 guys qualify to be here, and that's the most we've ever had. I'm really proud of our team."
Cuthbertson started the tournament by getting a 4-2 decision win over No. 7 seed Hunter Blix of Roseburg in a first-round match. He then pinned Sprague's Jacob Luna in a time of 1 minute and 42 seconds in a second-round bout.
In the quarterfinals, Cuthbertson came up with one of the big upsets of the tournament, as he scored a 4-3 decision win over second-seeded Julian Stone of North Medford.
In the semifinals, Cuthbertson went up against No. 3 seed Gavin Moore from Tualatin. Cuthbertson got off to a fast start o the match, scoring on a quick takedown and a 3-point nearfall to take a 5-0 lead with 1:12 left in the first round. Moore countered with an escape, but Cuthbertson came back with another takedown to take a 7-1 lead with 0:55 left in the period.
But Moore, also a competitor, answered with an escape and takedown, cutting Cuthbertson's lead to 7-4 going into the second round. In the second period, Cuthbertson had three more takedowns, as he upped the margin to 13-6 going into the third round.
Cuthbertson then pinned Moore at the 5:29 mark of the match, putting him in the finals.
"Gavin Moore is an amazing wrestler," Cuthbertson said. "Earlier this year, he got my teammate in this one move, over and over again. So, during my match with him, we had a good game plan, but he's an amazing wrestler."
In the finals, against fourth-seeded Sandrey Mitberg of Beaverton, Cuthbertson ended up getting pinned at the 1:20 mark of the match. Still, Cuthbertson was smiling as he stood on the award stand, getting his second-place medal.
"I knew this was going to be the toughest tournament I've been to all year," he said. "I knew that if I was wanted to go big, I was going to have to win some crazy hard matches, and that's what I did.
"Honestly, before every match I just mentally prepared, and got a good warm-up in. Before every match my coaches gave me a game plan — how I'm going to win this match, what I need to do, what this guy likes to do. They always believed in me, and I believe in myself."
"It's amazing," Sherwood coach Jeff Wilson said of Cuthbertson's performance at the state tournament. "That kid's probably wrestled for a total of six months. We've always known that this was something he was very capable of doing, we just thought it might be another year, or so, away. He's just a really coachable kid, who catches on real fast. And, of course, he's an incredible athlete."
Cuthbertson, a three-sport star at Sherwood, is already looking ahead to his junior wrestling season.
"Hopefully, maybe a title next year," he said with a smile. "That's the only way to go up."
Ritchie, after getting a first-round bye, opened his trek at the state tournament by pinning fifth-seeded Alex Silva of North Medford in 2:23 in a second-round match. He then lost a 5-3 decision to fourth-seeded Hayden Narruhn of David Douglas in the quarterfinals.
Ritchie bounced back to pin Lakeridge's Ian Healy in 1:47 in a consolation fourth-round match. He then pinned Roseburg's Cameron Cross in 4:33 in a consolation fifth-round bout. In the consolation semifinals, Ritchie lost by fall to Sprague's Brandon Boyd. In the fifth-place bout, a rematch with Narruhn, Ritchie lost another 5-3 decision, leaving him in sixth place.
"It means a lot. It's fun to be here," Ritchie said. "I just was excited that I was able to get on the podium, with all these people here, and all these people watching."
Like Cuthbertson, Ritchie is also hoping for big things next year.
"That's the goal again next year, to be up there again, and maybe win it," he said.
Also for Sherwood at the state tournament, junior Nick Hekker (113 pounds), sophomore Dallen Jolley (138), junior Brody Stevens (160), junior Ian Glenn (182) and senior Kaden Rhinehart (195) each picked up at least one victory. Junior Philip Resch (138) and senior Jackson Barton (220) also wrestled at the state tournament. Sophomore Malachi Tishendorf (145) also qualified for the tournament, but didn't participate due to illness.
Roseburg won the Class 6A state championship with a score of 263. Newberg was second at 256.
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