PORTLAND — State started Thursday at Portland Memorial Coliseum with little or no sign of the Hood River Valley Eagles.
The team that cruised through the Feb. 14-15 district tournament with thoughts of a top-10 state finish had just one wrestler (sophomore 103-pounder Zach Bohince) reach the quarterfinals, and only four advance to round two — one by forfeit.
“We have some good athletes on this team, but everyone at state is a good athlete,” coach Mark Brown said. “At this level, you need to dedicate yourself to being a wrestler or you’re going to get beat. You almost have to sell your soul, and we haven’t done that.”
At least three HRV wrestlers —senior Jacobe Krizman (171),
senior Tommy Owyen (275) and junior district champion Rocky Level (140) — were expected to be in the running for the title at their respective weight classes.
But, almost without warning, all three dropped their opening- round matches — two, decisively.
“I just didn’t wrestle the way I usually wrestle,” said Level, who faced senior Jason Appleton of Southridge in round one, and lost a controversial 7-5 decision.
Appleton is the only wrestler to defeat Level this season, and Level was geared up for the rematch, taking down Appleton at least once in round one. But, instead of awarding five points to Level for a takedown and nearfall, the referee declared “no control” and the round ended deadlocked at 0-0.
The score remained tied until the 1:30 mark of round three, when Appleton earned a takedown from which Level never recovered.
“I wanted it so bad, but for some reason, I just wasn’t up to it,” Level said.
Level bounced back to defeat Bo Icalia of McKay, 20-10, and Chris McCartney of St. Helens, 5-4, in the consolation round. He was scheduled to face Tyler Laird of Milwaukie on Friday, but results were not available at press time.
Owyen also won his second match of the day — a fall over Max Fishback of Grant — after losing a surprising first-round fall to Marcus Heyer of Marshfield. In the third round, Owyen beat Oregon City’s Cody Johnson by fall, and was scheduled to face Peter St. John of Beaverton on Friday.
Likewise, Krizman overcame a 16-6 first-round defeat at the hands of Westview’s Nate Stoller to manhandle John Fisher of Grant, 12-1, in the 171-pound consolation bracket. Krizman was scheduled to face Derek Arnold of Thurston in the consolation second round.
“It’s tough to see our top guys go down so early,” said junior Nigel Bond, who won his opening match, 13-4, before losing by fall to the No. 1 seed, Travis Gardner of Parkrose.
“But they’ll get back in it. All you can do in a tournament like this is go out there and wrestle,” he said.
On the bright side for the Eagles was Bohince, the 103-pound district champ. He won his opening match, 6-2, over Logan Wirkuty of Centennial, and then defeated Jeremy Bowman of Churchill, 11-6, to reach the quarterfinals.
But, like his teammates the day before, Bohince had to settle for the consolation bracket on Friday after losing a narrow 7-6 decision to Steve Renard of Sprague.
“If everyone just goes out and wrestles hard, we can still place in the top 10,” said senior Trent Shelton, who won his opening match, 9-0, over Isaac Schaff of Thurston before losing 11-3 to Ian Perro of Centennial in round two.
“It doesn’t matter if you lose in round one or the quarterfinals. You can’t get distracted by one loss, because you never know. You may come back and beat the same guy for third place later on,” he said.
Shelton went on to beat Dallin Tawzer of Southridge, 5-3, in the consolation bracket, and was scheduled to face Chris Kyllo of Canby on Friday.
Also wrestling Friday will be Bond, who bounced back from his defeat to Gardner by beating Rudy Hermsen of David Douglas, 10-1.
Fellow senior Nate Dethman will face Matt Keefer of South Albany in consolation round two after earning a forfeit over John Wiseman of David Douglas.
The lone Eagle wrestler to not advance to Friday action was senior John Harvey, who lost an 11-1 opening-round decision to Brock Leudtke of Cleveland, and a second-round consolation match, 8-4, to Chris Piatt of North Medford.
Harvey did, however, win his “pigtail” consolation match by fall over Ryan Drummond of Lebanon.
For a complete wrap-up of Friday and Saturday’s action at the OSAA state championships, see the Feb. 26 edition.