Kennedy places second at district wrestling championships
In the span of four years, the Kennedy wrestling team has gone from a fledgling new program to a district contender. But there's always room for improvement, which the Trojans experienced first hand after missing out on the program's first district title by just two points at the Special District 1 championships on June 17.
Led by five finalists and three district champions, Kennedy scored 194 points to place runner-up to the district champion Toledo Boomers.
Just down the road, the Gervais wrestling team made an impact of its own, placing all five of their participants in the top three — including two district champions — to place sixth overall with 92 points.
For the Trojans, this year's district championship was the culmination of a four-year journey for several of the team's wrestlers, including senior Camryn Biegel, who was one Kennedy's three champions on the day.
After battling injuries the past two years, Biegel claimed victory over the two top-seeded wrestlers in the 220-pound bracket to claim his title. After beating second-seeded senior Isaac Barnes of Nestucca in the semifinals, Biegel needed just over a minute to pin top-seeded junior Cody West of Vernonia in the championship.
He was joined by teammates Daniel Beltran (126) and Lucas Bischoff (160) in the winner's circle, the three of which became the first district champions in school history for the Trojans
Beltran had an automatic berth into the finals, where he and Toledo junior Klaira Flatt were the lone competitors. Beltran scored an 18-14 decision over Flatt to win the championship medal.
Bischoff had a longer road to the championship, but got there with relative ease, pinning his first two opponents in the first round to advance to the finals. He went on to pin Toledo senior Jacoby Simonds in the second round.
In the 195-pound bracket, senior Cole Boen knocked off second-seeded senior DeAndre Broxterman of Sherwood with a first-round pin in the semifinals before falling in the second round to Colton's Nolan Earls.
Freshman teammate Thomas Bischoff gave Kennedy another runner-up, pinning Nestucca's Jonathan Pena in 51 seconds before falling in the second round against top-seeded freshman Ash Blomstrom of Toledo in the finals.
Freshman Kira Boitano earned an automatic berth to the state tournament in the three-competitors 106-pound bracket, placing third after falling in 1:59 to Toledo's Cocao Barrett in the semifinals.
Likewise for sophomore teammate Briggs Snell, who fell in the semifinals to Gervais' Andy Cruz to place third.
Other placers for Kennedy include Taylor Alexander (6th, 113), Alex Geschwell (6th, 120), William Meadows (6th, 160), Griffin Kilbourne (5th, 170), Dominic Carbajal (5th, 195), Zachary Talbot (4th, 182), Adam Reyes (4th, 120) and Jamarcus Gonzalez (4th, 138)
The Cougars brought a small team to the event, but were pound-for-pound one of the best programs at the tournament.
All but one of Gervais' five wrestlers advanced to the championship match of their respective bracket, two of whom went on to take home district titles.
The 132-pound bracket belonged to the Cougars, where teammates Skyler Kempton and Gottien Ramon battled for the district title. As the top-seeded wrestler, the freshman Ramon earned an automatic berth into the finals, but Kempton had to earn his way there, scoring an 11-6 decision over Toledo's Christian Retherford in the semifinals.
In the finals, the more experienced junior Kempton scored a 2-0 decision over Ramon to win the final match.
In the 106-pound bracket, freshman Frankie Giron maintained his perfect record this season after beating Barrett in the finals with a 44-second pin.
Gervais' last finalist came in the 285-pound bracket, where Cruz fell in the first round to top-seeded senior Kenneth Johnson of Toledo after beating Kennedy's Snell in the semifinals.
Rounding out the Cougars, sophomore Jorge Barroso recovered from a loss in the semifinals to place third in the 152-pound bracket, beating Nestucca sophomore Cooper Stirling-Hollow with a second-round pin in the consolation finals. Barroso opened the tournament with a 49-second pin over Waldport's Liam Morgan before falling by first-round pin to Colton's Dylan Bonfield in the semifinals. Barroso followed with a 24-second pin over Santiam's Randall Fox in the consolation semifinals.
The state qualifers for Gervais and Kennedy advance to the championship tournament Friday and Saturday at Sweet Home High School.
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