Kennedy's Biegel goes into history books as wrestler
The relatively new Kennedy High School wrestling program has its first mark in the record books, and it came on Oregon's highest stage. Then-senior and now alumnus Camryn Biegel became the first wrestler in school history to place at the 2A/1A state championship meet on June 26, when he landed in fourth place.
"It's pretty surreal," Biegel said. "Like I wasn't expecting it at the beginning of the season to even make it to the state tournament And then to be the first Kennedy placer … it felt really amazing."
Biegel's journey through the tournament wasn't perfect, but it was enough. The district champion at 220 pounds received a first round bye and then pocketed a pinfall victory over Glide's Brock Barron-Perreitr in 2:27. The semifinal matchup against Culver's Eduardo Penaloza was as close to the gold as he would get, losing a 12-3 major decision. Biegel bounced back with a 4-2 decision over Coquille's Tom Riley before falling in the third place match.
But to hear Biegel say it, that place in the standings isn't too bad, especially considering he has just two years of competitive wrestling under his belt.
"For me, fourth was just the perfect way to end the high school career playing sports," Biegel said. "Like it felt like I just accomplished something huge. Yeah, I lost the third- and fourth-place match, but I still left that mat (with a) smile knowing I placed and no one else in Kennedy history has. And so it just felt really good to end my sports career."
Biegel got his first taste of wrestling as a freshman, when new wrestling coach Dewey Enos pitched wrestling to boost performance in football. Biegel, who has admitted that football is his favorite sport, decided to take Enos up on the offer.
According to the coach, Biegel was one of the kids who bought in from the jump.
"He wasn't afraid of challenges, if I needed him to go up in weight or if he wanted to go down in weight," Enos said. "He was very optimistic and open to any suggestions, very coachable and willing to put in the work and do the extra."
While the wins were sparce his freshman year, Biegel says he saw improvement in his performance on the football field. However, injuries to his knees his sophomore and junior years kept him out of competitions those years. It was a personal decision to come back and participate in the six-week season in 2021.
"Everyone was trying to talk me out of it because they weren't sure how my knees were going to hold up because I couldn't wear a brace," Biegel said. "And so for the longest time I was actually just planning on being the team manager, and like a month until the season started I'm like, 'OK, I'm going to just give it a shot. Like it's my last season of high school sports. So might as well give it a shot.'"
It paid off. Biegel joined six other Kennedy wrestlers at the state tournament: Kira Boitano (106), Daniel Beltran (126), Lucas Bischoff (160), Thomas Bischoff (182), Cole Boen (195) and Briggs Snell (285). Though his time in a Kennedy singlet is done, Biegel expects the program to take off in his absence.
"I feel like the program is going to skyrocket," Biegel said. "Dewey is an amazing person, an amazing coach. He'll get kids out. And the kids wrestling right now are really, really fun people. So I feel like the programs in good hands, like it's going to keep getting bigger and keep succeeding."
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