HOOD RIVER — A few extra holiday pounds weren’t enough to slow the Hood River Valley wrestling team Tuesday when it hosted a four-team dual meet tournament at the high school.
Despite the weather-induced three-week break from competition, the Eagles still looked sharp against teams from Parkrose, Rex Putnam and Mac-Hi (Milton-Freewater), winning two out of three matches to take second place with 31 points.
Team scoring was based on individual performances, with five points going to the first place winner in each weight class, three for second place, and one for third place. Pins, tech falls and major decisions counted toward the individual scores.
Junior Zach Bohince (119 pounds) and seniors Rocky Level (140), Jorge Lujano (275) and Jason DeHart (160) each won their weight classes, accounting for the majority of the team’s points.
Three others — Nigel Bond (215), Leo Gonzalez (125) and Erik Flory (152) — went 2-1, giving HRV a lift in head-to-head victories over Parkrose (36-32) and Mac-Hi (36-30).
The Eagles lost to Putnam, 39-29, in the second match of the night. But even with five forfeits, they still nearly caught Mac-Hi (33 points) in the team standings.
“Tuesday night was a makeup for the Jan Anderson Invitational that never took place,” said coach Mark Brown, who helped coordinate the event along with Athletic Director Mitch Sanders.
“It ended up being a pretty successful little tournament, too, and I think all the teams benefitted from it. We may even have to do another one,” he said.
Brown said that, just like his team, the three other schools were looking for any possible way to find mat time after being snowed in since New Year’s Day. And because all four teams were so evenly matched, it made for some pretty exciting bouts.
“We lost to Putnam, but then we beat Mac-Hi, who had beaten Putnam earlier,” Brown said. “If we had just had a couple more bodies there, I think we would have finished first.”
Two lineup spots that are normally filled -- 103 and 145 pounds -- were empty, and the Eagles' lack of depth is more apparent this year than in seasons past. However, regardless of where the Eagles finished, the wrestlers’ overall impression of the team's performance was positive.
“Some of us might be a step slow because we haven’t wrestled a match since before Christmas,” Bohince said. “It’s going to take a couple weeks to get back in shape, but if we keep practicing like we did this week, we’ll be ready for districts.”
HRV still has five Intermountain Conference dual meets to worry about between now and Feb. 13, starting tonight in Pendleton.
Redmond, which has already beaten two of the league’s top teams (Crook County and Pendleton) will come to town next Friday along with Bend. Matches will start at 5 p.m.