Plenty of wrestlers scored pins and got to wear the heavy, but favored, “OOOSSS” metal Thursday.
In Hood River Valley High School’s season-opening meet at Vannet Court, the Eagles defeated visiting St. Helens, 45-30.
With a large crowd on hand, the scoring went back and forth, and Hood River led only 33-30 late in the meet.
“On paper, we weren’t supposed to win that match,” coach Trent Kroll said. Preston Armstrong (145) and Miles Lee (113) beat ranked opponents in Ethan Hubbs (12th) and Blake Gohlman (14th)
The pins, or falls, came in quick fashion for wrestlers, including Elena Kroll, Blake Willis and Chad Muenzer. Kroll, a third-place finisher at state in 2017-18, was one of the first to get the metal OOOSSS “pin chain,” a weighty plaque that is worn until the next teammate’s pin. (OOOSSS is a traditional celebratory wrestling term, and the plaque, inspired by the Ohio State University team’s use of it, was adopted by Kroll last season.)
“We out-performed ourselves,” coach Kroll said. “When you talk about competing at 120 percent, it gave me goosebumps tonight. The power of your teammates make you better out there on the mat. If we’re just going out there individually, you’re not as strong as we are together as a group. It was pretty exciting to watch that happen,” he said.
“It paid off — all the conditioning and strengths,” Beto Rojas said after his overtime win.
The meet started with three girls’ matches: Collette (Jacq) Wisniewski lost by fall (pin) and Trinity Jones and Elena Kroll earned quick pins.
“Trinity looked tough tonight. One year experience, and she looked great,” coach Kroll said.
Willis, a sophomore, had the night’s fastest pin, in 26 seconds, over Gannon Carter.
He said, “I just took what he was giving me. He gave me a jitney. I threw it, he ended upon his back and I pinned him. Feels good to be back. I’m glad to have the pin chain back.”
For Kroll, it was the jitney that got her the win. “It’s a move I used in my state match: I do a snap-down and I grab the head and go under an arm and just drive her over. I was really nervous at the start, just being in your first match, it’s really nervous, but you get out here you forget everyone’s watching, and you’re good to go.”
“I’m excited,” Kroll said of the new season. “I got third in state last year and just coming back as a senior I’m really excited to see where that will go.”
Armstrong had four separate escapes in his high scoring 18-14 win that saw at least five lead changes.
“I love to battle,” he said. “Our coaches really show us how to do that. They push us, in conditioning and mental training.”
Timothy Fletcher said he was looking to win with a reversal and came up with the pin.
“Coach (Sean Baker) said I could be a little stronger on being on top, I was a little high but all in all I was pretty solid,” he said.
The win had extra meaning for Fletcher, a junior who took last year off.
“I’m really glad to be back,” he said.
Asked about getting back on the mat for the new season, Muenzer said, “It feels great. I missed it, a lot. All the practice pays off.”
Another highlight match was Rojas’ overtime win over Marricle Bask. Down 8-5 with 10 seconds left in the third round, Rojas tied Bask with an escape (one point) and a take down (two), and then won in overtime with a takedown.
“I had to keep track of the score, obviously, and the time, and it made me want to concentrate on my next moves I wanted to do,” Rojas said. “I didn’t want get tired out because I knew I couldn’t pin him and I just needed to win on points. He was a pretty strong kid on top, but on the bottom he was kind of weak, so I took the shots and I scored.”
Capping off the meet was Ryan Zeller’s dramatic pin.
“I started off kind of light on my feet and he capitalized on that,” Zeller said. “But you just never give up. Finish your moves, don’t lose courage, just keep going after it, no matter the start.”
HRVHS-St. Helens match list
138: Chad Muenzer (HR) over Trevor Johnson (SH), Fall 0:13
145: Preston Armstrong (HR) over Ethan Hubbs (SH), Dec 20-14
152: William Chalk (SH) over Benjamin Griggs (HR), Fall 0:57
160: Tristan Keely (HR) over Alexander Bilton (SH), Fall 1:29
170: Timothy Fletcher (HR) over Rachawn Lee (SH), Fall 4:58
182: Ryan Burri (SH) over Clayton Morris-Reade (HR), Fall 3:12
195: Alberto Rojas (HR) over Marricle Bask (SH), Dec., OT
220: Blake Willis (HD) over Gannon Carter (SH), Fall 0:26
285: Ben Torres (SH) over Cody Durham (HR), Fall 3:49
106: Daniel Harris (SH,) win by forfeit
113: Miles Lee (HR) over Blake Gohlman (SH), Dec. 8-6
120: Marcizo Garza (SH), win by forfeit
126: Kaden Shropshire (HR) over Michael Aguilar-Rose (SH), Fall 1:58
132: Ryan Zeller (HR) over Tristin Buchanan (SH), Fall 1:01
Hood River Valley 12, St. Helens 6
110: Hannah Barber (SH) over Colette Wisniewski HR), Fall 1:42
135: Trinity Jones (HR) over Olivia Manson (SH), Fall 1:03
145: Elena Kroll (HR) over Isabella French (SH), Fall 0:57