State champion Christian Marquez.
Coach Trent Kroll has a lot of catching up to do in the Hood River Valley High School wrestling room, and after several months of hard work over the winter and extended spring wrestling seasons, it’s the kind of labor he enjoys the most.
Among the many names Kroll will be adding to the room’s “Wall of Fame” are Andrew DeHart and Christian Marquez, who earned worthy state champion honors over the weekend. The two, along with a group of about 15 others from the high school team, were at Crescent Valley High School for the two-day USA Wrestling Oregon Freestyle and Greco Wrestling Championships.
For DeHart, a senior who went 4-0 in the freestyle tournament Saturday and 3-0 in Sunday’s Greco tournament, earning dual state championships is a satisfying way to end his high school career. “Those two wrestled phenomenally,” Kroll said. “I couldn’t be happier for Andrew; he’s such a great kid and he truly deserved to end his high school career this way. We wrestle 11 months out of the year at the high school, and Andrew has been working his butt off to accomplish his goals. I’m super proud of him.”
Marquez, a junior, finished the high school season in February with an OSAA 5A 126 pound state title. By earning both freestyle and Greco tournaments, he gets the rare distinction of being a Triple-Crown winner — one of just three in school history (others were Jim Donnelly in 1995 and Sean Baker in 2008) to claim all three state titles in the same season. Marquez had an impressive showing in both tournaments, where he won via two pins, a technical fall and an injury default Saturday and three straight technical falls Sunday, while allowing zero points to be scored against him in all seven matches.
“Christian rolled through the competition this weekend,” Kroll said. “Earning the Triple Crown was a big goal of his, and he worked hard to accomplish it.”
Along with the two state champions, several other HRV wrestlers had podium finishes. In the freestyle tournament, Jessica DeHart competed in the 120-pound bracket, where she went 1-3 to finish sixth. At 195, Steven Swafford was sixth as well, while Max Lane finished fourth at 220 in the junior age group and was third in the cadet tournament. In the Greco tournament, Swafford was fifth and Lane was third in the junior bracket and in the cadet bracket Lane was second, Junior Manzo and Alex Pedroza were fourth and Mark Reyes was sixth.
New to the championships this year were girls freestyle and Greco state tournaments. Representing Hood River were DeHart, Jenna Powell and Payton Rigert. Due to limited numbers (only six girls total showed up), DeHart and Rigert didn’t have matches in their weight brackets; Powell had two matches and won both. Despite varying weights, to give the girls matches they were all put into a round-robin tournament, which DeHart — the lightest of the bunch — won handily.
“There’s a first year for everything,” Kroll said. “Other states have girls’ wrestling programs, but Oregon doesn’t. Hopefully it will gain traction and we’ll get more girls there next year.”
n The extended season isn’t quite over yet. Kroll and HRV wrestling host the Oregon Beach Wrestling Championships on May 17 at the Hood River Marina beach. The annual tournament has gained popularity in its seven-year history and comes to Hood River for the second time.