PORTLAND — Just when you thought they were over and done, the Hood River Valley High School wrestlers bounced back with a vengeance on days two and three of state, and placed four wrestlers among the top eight in their respective weight classes.
After a forgettable first day at the OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires State Wrestling Championships,
seniors Jacobe Krizman, Tommy Owyen and Trent Shelton joined junior Rocky Level on the podium, and helped the Eagles surge into a 12th-place tie with Century in the team standings.
“This is the most physically drained I’ve ever been,” said Level, who rebounded from a first-round loss to claim seventh place at 140 pounds. “That first match (a 7-5 loss to Jason Appleton of Southridge) exhausted me, but it also motivated me.”
Krizman, the fifth-place finisher at 171 pounds, said the same thing.
“At state, you just have to forget about the losses and be happy with what you’ve accomplished,” he said. “I’m really proud that I made it into the top five after losing my first match, and the other guys should be happy as well.”
Like Krizman and Level, Shelton (7th at 152 pounds) and Owyen (7th at 275 pounds) went a long way to prove that simply making it to state wasn’t good enough. They wanted to finish their high-school careers on the medal stand, and nothing was going to stand in their way.
“I’m happy to place top eight,” Shelton said, “but I should have beaten that Centennial guy (Ian Pero) in the second round. I heard he wasn’t that great, and got a little overconfident. But it’s nice to finish on a winning note.”
In fact, all four state placers finished with a win. Shelton defeated Kyle Fogel of Madison by fall, while Krizman beat Jason Dorfer of Oregon City by a score of 12-4, Level beat Elliott Tracy of Sheldon by a score of 5-3, and Owyen earned an injury forfeit over Pendleton’s Sean Orr.
“I’m not disappointed, but I’m not satisfied either,” said Owyen, who won four matches by fall, and also lost two by fall. “I’m definitely proud of the team, though. This was a good note for all of us to end on.”
The Eagles’ four state placers were the most the program has had at the 4A level, while the team’s 12th place finish was also a 4A best for the program.
Level and the Eagles’ other two underclassmen at state — junior Nigel Bond and sophomore Zach Bohince —will lead a polished HRV squad into battle next year when the Eagles look to improve on the number of state qualifiers from this year (eight).
“We’ve got the talent and the experience,” Level said. “We can bring the same numbers to state next year, and maybe do even better as a team.”
Krizman also gave his vote of confidence for the team’s underclassmen.
“Experience is the key,” he said. “Nigel and Zach wrestled tough this year, and they know what it will take to place next year.”
Both Bond and Bohince will continue to wrestle Greco-Roman and Freestyle through the summer to help them achieve the same elite level as their teammates at the 2004 state meet.