Wrestling: Huskies place 10th at state finals
After another high school wrestling season is in the books, the North Marion Huskies once again rank among the best 4A teams in the state following the conclusion of the 2018 State Wrestling Championships on Friday and Saturday.
Led by 132-pound state champion Russel Stigall, North Marion qualified two wrestlers for the finals and placed three overall, finishing in 10th place with 56 points, marking the eighth time in the past nine season the Huskies have ended the season as one of the top 4A programs in the state.
And while Stigall's second consecutive title dominated the conversation on Saturday, the other six Huskies who qualified for state had plenty of success on the mat to celebrate this season.
Brandon Gibson — 2nd, 138 pounds
Brandon Gibson wrapped up his senior season with a second-place finish in the 138-pound bracket following a razor thin 2-1 loss to defending state champion A.J. Lira of Marshfield on Saturday.
Despite Lira's past credentials, Gibson entered the tournament as the top-seeded wrestler after defeating Lira 2-0 earlier in the season. When both wrestlers cruised to the semifinals the first day, it seemed inevitable that the two would meet in the championship round on Saturday.
Gibson's path to the final began with a pair of pinfalls on Friday, taking down sophomore Jacob Dunn of Cottage Grove in 1:53 in the first round and then No. 8 junior Dylan Dickson of Tillamook in the quarterfinals.
He opened Saturday's semifinal round with a dominant 10-2 major decision of McLoughlin's No. 4-seeded senior Zach Crisman to forge the championship showdown with Lira, who similarly defeated his semifinal opponent, No. 3 Tyler Fiorvanti of Crook County, by 10-2 major decision.
Both Gibson and Lira wrestled extremely cautiously in their championship match, feeling each other out over the first two minutes of the match and going into the second round scoreless.
Gibson started on the bottom and managed to escape halfway through to head into the final round up 1-0.
With two minutes left between Gibson and a state title, the North Marion senior rode Lira hard throughout the entire round, putting pressure on the Marshfield senior's head, preventing him from developing a strong base with which to escape.
But with 30 seconds remaining, Lira took advantage of Gibson overextending on top and was able to slip out from underneath for a reversal to go up 2-1. Needing only to escape to tie the match and send it into overtime, Gibson struggled to break free of Lira and was able to get up to one knee with five seconds remaining. But Lira pulled him back down to the mat as time expired,securing the win and a second consecutive championship.
Gibson finished his wrestling career at North Marion with three straight trips to the state tournament, placing third and second in his junior and senior seasons.
Matt Carrillo — 6th, 182 pounds
Hampered by a leg injury that limited his mobility in the final day of competition, the top-seeded Matt Carrillo wrapped up his senior season with a sixth-place finish in the 182-pound bracket.
Carrillo finished the first day of competition as one of three North Marion wrestlers to qualify for the state semifinals, opening the competition with a 10-6 decision over Scappoose senior Zeddy Jamerson and following with a 5-2 win over No. 8 senior Brandyn Chaney of McLoughlin in the quarterfinals.
But he was knocked down to the consolation bracket on the second day after falling in the semifinals by 5-0 decision to Crook County's fifth-seeded junior Jaxson Rhoden, who had beaten Carrillo for third place in last year's consolation finals.
He followed with a 6-4 loss to No. 6 seed Fabian Niemi of Tillamook, dropping him down to the fifth-place match in a rematch with Jamerson, who had won three straight matches after his first-round loss to Carrillo on Friday.
With Carrillo favoring his leg for much of the match, Jamerson was able to take advantage and grind out a 6-5 victory.
Carrillo ends his tenure with the North Marion wrestling program as a three-time state qualifier, placing fourth his junior season and sixth as a senior.
Ramon Organiz — 195 pounds
Not all things went swimmingly for North Marion.
Ramon Organiz headed into this weekend's tournament with title aspirations like his fellow district champion teammates, but ran into trouble in the first round of the tournament.
Facing Newport junior Jimmy Acevedo, the two were locked at 1-1 in the third round when Organiz was penalized for stalling, giving Acevedo his first lead of the match.
Organiz then received penalties for tugging on Acevedo's singlet and striking Acevedo in the head, putting the North Marion senior down 4-1 with less than 30 seconds left in the match.
Organiz was able to pull within 4-3 before time ran out, dropping him to the consolation side of the bracket.
The North Marion senior rebounded from the disappointing loss, defeating Mazama junior Jacob Healy by 3-0 decision and following that with a 2-1 tiebreaker victory over No. 3 Joshua Torres of McLoughlin to stay alive in the competition.
But that's as far as Organiz was to go in the bracket, losing by 9-3 decision to Gladstone senior Jacob Wanlass in the consolation quarterfinals, dropping out of the competition one match shy of the placement rounds.
Organiz finishes his career at North Marion as a two-time state qualifier, placing sixth overall in the 195-pound bracket as a junior.
Saul Tarula — 138 pounds
Saul Tarula went 0-2 in his return to the state championship, falling by 12-0 major decision to eventual champion Lira of Marshfield and following with a loss in 0:54 to Tillamook freshman Miguel Niemi.
Justin McConkey opened the tournament with a 15-0 technical fall loss to No. 2 freshman Evan Potter of Junction City and was eliminated in a 16-8 major decision loss to No. 7 freshman Brady Libby of Siuslaw.
Ulises Maldonado — 160 pounds
Ulises Maldonado lost his opening match to No. 4 Hayden McDonald of Sweet Home in 5:35 and followed with a 2:37 loss to Mazama senior Braydon Wright to finish his day at the state tournament.
Alec Roberts — 170 pounds
North Marion senior Alec Roberts was stricken ill the week after finishing second at the district tournament and was forced to withdraw from the state championships.