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Tarula, Sanchez, McConkey each advance to the second day of the 2019 State Wrestling Championships

DAVID BALL - North Marion senior Saul Tarula bounced back from his first round loss to Noah Thompson to post a pair of victories on the consolation side of the 4A 145-pound bracket at the 2019 state wrestling championships.The North Marion wrestling team sent four representatives to the 2019 4A State Championships in Portland on Friday and Saturday. Though the Huskies were unable to come home with any placers, the team sent three of four state qualifiers to the second day of competition, helping North Marion score 19 points to take 22nd place overall.

Justin McConkey — 113 pounds

McConkey opened the tournament with a resounding victory, upsetting 7-seed sophomore Hunter Lucas of Hidden Valley in a 14-2 major decision before falling in 3:34 to 2-seed Evan Potter of Junction City in the bracket quarterfinals.

On the consolation side, McConkey advanced to the second day of competition with a 5-0 decision over Sweet Home freshman Christian Gregory.

McConkey's weekend came to a close one match shy of the placement rounds, falling by 6-2 decision to 3-seed senior Ezra DeLuca of Phoenix.

Wyatt Haberstich — 132 pounds

Haberstich dropped his opening match to Klamath Union junior Blake Fritz in 5:02. After a forfeit victory over Cottage Grove senior Chance Ralston. Haberstich bowed out of the competition with a 2:43 pinfall loss to 3-seed senior Colton Anderson of Baker/Powder Valley.

Avidan Sanchez — 138 pounds

Like his teammate McConkey, Sanchez picked up an impressive first-round victory over a seeded opponent, taking down 8-seed sophomore Braxton Bisenius of La Grande with a 13-0 major decision to advance to the quarterfinals.

After falling in the second round to top-seeded junior Kane Nixon of Cascade, Sanchez rebounded with a first-round pinfall victory over Cottage Grove junior Fernando Soto-Cruz to qualify for the second day of competition.

But Sanchez was unable to advance any further, falling in the opening round on Saturday in a 5-4 decision to 4-seed sophomore Casey McCall of La Grande.

Saul Tarula — 145 pounds

After a tough loss to open the state tournament, Tarula bounced back in the consolation rounds.

Tarula opened against 6-seed sophomore Noah Thompson of Cascade and fell in 5:32 by 17-2 technical fall.

Undeterred by the loss, Tarula scored a 4:44 pin of La Grande freshman Brody MacMillian to forge a rematch against Woodburn senior Angel Acevedo.

Tarula and Acevedo had clashed in the semifinals of the district tournament, where the Woodburn wrestler pulled out a victory. The second time around, Tarula controlled the match to the tune of an 11-6 victory, advancing to the consolation quarterfinals.

There he ended his weekend, dropping a 5-0 decision to 3-seed junior Jacob Dunn of Cottage Grove.

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