PORTLAND — Riding a wave of confidence and enthusiasm after last weekend’s dismantling of the Mt. Hood Conference, 11 members of the HRV wrestling team dug in Thursday for the first day of the OSAA/U.S. Bank State Championships.
By winning five of their first nine matches — three by fall — the Eagles sat among the top five teams in the state after round one. After round two, they still remained in the top ten and had one wrestler vying for the top spot in his weight class.
“A top 10 finish is realistic, but there are a lot of teams with the same amount of guys competing,” coach Mark Brown said.
Senior Esteban Avila, the district runner-up at 119 pounds, still remained in the hunt after Thursday’s action and looked to put everything on the line Friday (results not available at press time).
“My individual goal for my senior year was to place,” Avila said. “I’ve still got some tough guys ahead, but no matter how I do, I’m having a lot of fun.”
Avila earned a fall in his opening match against Greg Widdicombe of Willamette and then gutted out a tough 4-1 second-round decision over David Hess of Southridge.
District champ Jacobe Krizman, meanwhile, looked as dominant as ever in his first 160-pound match, pinning first-round opponent Noah Olson of Sprague in just 1:32. But he ran into a roadblock in round two, losing a 17-4 major decision to Roseburg’s Nick Shaffer.
Surprisingly, Krizman — who hadn’t lost a 160-pound match all season — lost his first consolation match to Barlow’s David Rau and was eliminated.
Three more Eagle wrestlers enjoyed early success at state, as Josh Van Ek (112), Trent Shelton (145) and Nigel Bond (189) won first-round decisions.
Van Ek lost his second-round match 10-4 to No. 1 seed Luke Waetjen of Crook County, but put up an excellent fight and looked strong going into the consolation round.
Shelton won his first match by fall over Darren Mackaravitz of McKay, but fell to Morgan Edenstrom of Eagle Point in round two. Shelton rebounded in consolation round two, however, and advanced to Friday’s action.
One of the grittiest performances Thursday was Bond’s first-round match against Bobby Gardner of Sheldon — a double-overtime match he won by decision.
“I’m in the best shape of the season and I can’t hold anything back,” Bond said. “I’m happy with the win, but I learned back in sixth grade not to get overconfident.”
Bond lost his second match 6-3 to Chad Plaisted of Oregon City, but won his first consolation match to advance to Friday.
Also moving on to day two were John Harvey (140), Tommy Owyen (275), David Posey (130), Felipe Magaña (140) and Rocky Level (135). Jason Macioroski (171) had a difficult draw on day one and did not advance.
Regardless of how the team fares in the final standings, each wrestler has benefitted from the state experience and has given Brown much to be proud of.
“The whole group puts the team above themselves,” he said. “It’s been that way all season and it’s great to see.”