Marrow, Vandervort give Trojans a pair of talented wrestlers to build the program

The Kennedy wrestling program has seen its share of accomplishments in the first few weeks of the season, and the Trojans crossed another one off the list on Saturday when freshman Mateo Marrow placed first in the 106-pound bracket of the Bill Hagerty Invitational on Saturday.

PHIL HAWKINS - Kennedy's Mateo Marrow practices against head coach Dewey Enos on Thursday. Marrow became the first Trojan wrestler to win a bracket championship this season after going undefeated at the Bill Hagerty Invitational in Nestucca on Saturday.
Marrow is making his high school debut this year, but boasts eight years of wrestling experience, the last three of which have been with Kennedy head coach Dewey Enos.

"I coached him for two years at Silverton before I came here," Enos said. "He's always willing to put in the work."

It didn't take much for Marrow to make it deep in his bracket, which had just six entrees, giving the Kennedy freshman an automatic trip to the semifinals. But once there, he showed why Enos thinks he has a bright future with the Trojans.

Marrow took down Amity's Blake Runion in the semifinals by 10-2 major decision, then scored a 6-5 decision over Jose Flores of Taft in the bracket finals to earn first place.

The win came a week after Marrow advanced to the championship match of the Scio Holiday Tournament, where he was pinned by Toledo freshman Ethan Ferris in 1:45. Enos expects Ferris and Marrow to be among the frontrunners for a district title this year, and despite the first-round exit in their first match of the season, the Kennedy coach thinks Marrow can make up the difference over the course of the season.

"He wrestled a little tight and ended up getting beat in the first round, but the kid is very beatable," Enos said. "We'll fix that with mental preparation. For him, I'd say a good goal is top four in state this year. He's definitely capable of it."

Marrow was one of three wrestlers to place for the Trojans at the Nestucca tournament. Teammate David Reyes took home fifth place in the 138-pound bracket, pinning Rainier's Rylee O'Brien in the fifth-place match to finish 4-2 on the day.

He was joined on the podium by 132-pounder Jose Salazar, who placed sixth.

The week before at Scio, junior Bryce Vandervort placed second in the 182-pound bracket to match Marrow's performance. The two wrestlers give the Trojans a solid backbone with which to build their budding program this year.

PHIL HAWKINS - Kennedy junior Bryce Vandervort placed second at the Scio Holiday Tournament on Dec. 9 and is currently ranked seventh by the Oregon Wrestling Forum at 2A 182-pounds.
"He's a workhorse," Enos said of Vandervort. "He puts in the work. He sets the tone and that mindset that I'm going to get after it and do whatever it takes."

The Trojans boast a relatively small team this season, which is somewhat expected from a first-year program that requires the level of dedication and work that comes from wrestling. Enos hopes to get more athletes interested in the program over time, but admits it can be a hard sell for kids looking for an after-school activity.

"You just have to really educate them on the sport," Enos said. "It's a lifestyle. You've got to eat right, sleep right, train right. Hopefully then wrestle right."

The combination of the strength and endurance it takes to wrestle, along with the intimacy of going one-on-one against an opponent can be a barrier to entry for some, but Enos knows from experience just how great kids can come out on the other side of the season.

"I try to look at the positive side of things," he said. "You will feel great. You might have some injuries through the year, but all in all, I will get you in the best shape of your life."

The Trojans were scheduled to travel to Santiam on Tuesday for a dual and will take an extended break before finishing the month at Willamina on Dec. 30.

Phil Hawkins can be reached at 503-765-1194 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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