Senior takes fifth, snaps two-year drought for Wildcats

by: JEFF GOODMAN / PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Justin Hamilton (top) finished his Wilsonville wrestling career with a fifth-place finish at this year's Class 5A state championships Feb. 28 and March 1 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland. He is the Wildcats' first state placer since Neil Ochs in 2011. Above, the senior works against Lebanon sophomore Arien Craggett in the first round of the 195-pound bracket. He won the match by fall in 3 minutes 31 seconds.PORTLAND — Justin Hamilton remembered how it felt to compete at the OSAA state wrestling meet and not be able to stand on the podium. He knew what it was like to be eliminated from contention before second day of the tournament.

“I’ve put in lots of work — four years of my time,” the Wilsonville senior said March 1 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. “Not being a placer the last two years kind of (stunk).”

Those previous experiences colored Hamilton’s outlook on his performance at this year’s Class 5A championships, where he earned a state medal and a tier on the podium after taking fifth place in the 195-pound bracket.

Hamilton capped his high school career by becoming the Wildcats’ first state placer since Neil Ochs in 2011, ending a two-season drought.

“I was hoping to get third place, but just getting on the podium feels pretty good,” he said.

Hamilton accounted for four of Wilsonville’s six victories at the state tournament, where the team’s five representatives tallied a 6-10 record with 20 points to take 24th place. Hermiston (174) won the 5A championship.

Thanks to Hamilton, senior Colin Cubbage and sophomores Josiah Day, Jakob Fulbright and Tony Munoz, the Wildcats had at least five representatives at the state meet for the fifth year in a row under seventh-year coach Jason Milham.

Hamilton finished his campaign with a 35-11 record, including byes and forfeits. He went 4-2 at the state meet.

Hamilton locked up a place on the podium with a pin of Redmond senior Zach LaCasse in 2:32, which earned him a trip to the consolation semifinals against third-seeded Ryan Jurgens.

Hamilton came away with a 15-3 loss by major decision, his fourth setback against the Sherwood senior this season — including in the district title bout.

“I knew I was already in the top six automatically,” he said. “"he said his campaign with a 36-11 record, including byes and forfeits. He went 4-2 at the state meet.ket.le to stand on the pIt would’ve been nice to get him by a couple points in the last time going up against him, but just being on the podium is great.”

Hamilton, who plans to join the U.S. Marine Corps, earned a victory in his final high school match. He topped The Dalles sophomore Joseph Linebarger 6-5 to take fifth place.

Hamilton was consistently Wilsonville’s best wrestler this season. He placed third Dec. 14 at the Rose City Championship tournament, was a runner-up Dec. 21 at the Oregon National Guard Invitational and took second Jan. 4 at the Don York Invitational. He also won the Hood River Valley Elks Invitational tournament Jan. 25.

Cubbage and Day each squeezed in a state-meet victory before wrapping up their seasons on the first day of the tournament.

Cubbage (138), who took third place at the district championships, found himself in an unfavorable position late in the third period of his opening-round match against Redmond freshman Mitch Willett. He lost by fall in 5:47 and dropped into the consolation bracket.

Cubbage controlled his next match against Hermiston sophomore Devin Bonser, picking up a 15-6 win by major decision to advance, but his experience came to an end with an 8-4 loss to Silverton senior Ben Griesenauer in his ensuing bout.

Parkrose senior Joshua Reyes, the NWOC champion, lived up to his top seed by cruising past Bend-Mountain View junior Kaleb Winebarger with a 13-4 major decision in the title match.

Day (145), a Vancouver-Skyview (Wash.) transfer, qualified for the OSAA meet in his first year at Wilsonville.

The sophomore was dealt a loss by fall in 1:19 in his opening-round match against Corvallis-Crescent Valley senior Brock Wilson.

He bounced back with a pin of his own, defeating The Dalles sophomore Mitchell Waters in 2:47 to advance in the consolation bracket.

Day was eliminated by fourth-seeded Portland-Jefferson freshman Terrell West, the eventual third-place finisher. West won by fall in 3:42.

Unranked Dallas senior Ryan Spencer upset No. 1 Mountain View senior Tracy Pitcher 6-3 to win the state title.

Fulbright and Munoz earned top-four finishes at the district tournament but were unable to earn victories at the state meet.

Fulbright (170) lost to Silverton senior David Horsey by fall in 1:25 in the opening round, sending him into the consolation bracket. He was then eliminated in his next match by Churchill senior Michael Monroy, who won by fall in 2:48.

Top-seeded Lebanon junior Colton Sallee won the state title with a 5-1 win over third-seeded Sandy senior Devin White, the NWOC champion.

Munoz (285), meanwhile, was paired with second-seeded Ashland senior Cody Frost-Eisenberg in his first match. A loss by fall in 5:05 dropped him into the consolation bracket.

Munoz was eliminated by West Albany senior Devon Wade, who advanced by fall in 2:20.

Top-seeded Roosevelt senior Semise Kofe claimed first place with a 4-2 victory over Frost-Eisenberg.



Class 5A state championships

Feb. 28 and March 1 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum (Portland)

Team scores: 1. Hermiston, 174; 2. Dallas, 145; 3. Lebanon, 134; 4. Eagle Point, 111.5; 5. Sandy, 97; 6. Churchill, 86; 7. Mountain View, 72; 8. Portland-Jefferson, 71; 9. Sherwood, 70; 10. West Albany, 64; 11. Pendleton, 61; 12. Hood River Valley, 58; 13. Redmond, 57.5; 14. Ashland, 51; 15. Parkrose, 49; 16. Wilson, 48.5; 17. Silverton, 45; 18. Cleveland, 43; 19. Liberty, 38; 20. Crescent Valley, 35; 21. Roosevelt, 24; 21. St. Helens, 24; 23. South Albany, 22.5; 24. Wilsonville, 20; 25. Bend, 16; 26. Putnam 12; 27. Woodburn, 11.5; 28. The Dalles, 10; 29. Summit, 8; 30. Springfield, 6; 31. Corvallis, 3; 32. Benson, 2; 33. Franklin, 0; 33. Milwaukie, 0.

By Jeff Goodman
Sports editor
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