By MATT RAWLINGS
Of the Keizertimes
The McNary High School wrestling team sent 11 athletes to the podium and finished in third place as a squad in the 24-team Springfield Invitational on Saturday, Dec 8.
With their first conference meet right around their corner, head coach Jason Ebbs is impressed with how his young squad is progressing.
“It was a pleasant surprise to see how much success we had,” Ebbs said. “Overall, I’m really happy with how we are developing and improving. We’re getting some good experience for our young kids.”
Of all the Celtic wrestlers, Anthony Garcia-Reyes was the most impressive.
The junior went 5-0 for the tournament and won all of his matches either by pin or major decision and was crowned the tournament champion in the 220-pound division.
“It felt really good to win,” Garcia-Reyes said. “I feel like all the work and conditioning I’ve been putting in was put to the test and I was able to step up to the challenge.”
It was first time Garcia-Reyes had placed first at a tournament in his career.
“In the years that he’s been wrestling, that’s the first time that I’ve seen (Garcia-Reyes) string together five really good matches in a row,” Ebbs said. “Everything that happened in those matches was controlled and determined by him.”
Grady Burrows (120 lbs.) and Garrett Wampler (182) each took third in their respective weight classes after ending the day with a record of 4-1. Eoan Sharabarin (113) Matthew Mehlhoff (160) and Ryan Bamford (182) finished in sixth place while Noah Gatchet (120) took seventh.
After losing his first match, Gilbert Parra (145) came back to win his next two before falling in the consolation championship.
McNary also got big contributions from a trio of freshmen.
Jordan Orr (106) won three out of his four matches to take sixth place. Estaban Victoria (138) also placed sixth while Layne Runyan (220) took seventh.
“It’s huge for our freshmen to win some matches and have success early in the season,” Ebbs said. “The sooner we can get those guys to climb that ladder, the sooner we can get them to set future goals for themselves.”
McNary will compete in the Liberty Invitational Tournament at Liberty High School in Hillsboro on Saturday starting at 9 a.m. Their first Mountain Valley Conference dual meet will take place at Sprague High School on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
By MATT RAWLINGS