The official wrestling season may have ended with the state championship three weeks ago, but on March 8, Eagle wrestlers found themselves at Sweet Home High School competing to represent Oregon at a series of exhibition matches in South Africa later this year.
Chad Muenzer Jr., a junior who placed third at state, finished first in the 140-pound bracket to earn a spot on the Oregon team. Muenzer defeated a pair of state champions on his way to victory in the nine person bracket. Senior Emily Mitchell also placed first in her 165-pound bracket, but is unable to go on the trip.
Two Hood River athletes, senior Elena Kroll and freshman Emily Sullenger, finished second in their respective 145-pound and 125-pound brackets and were designated as alternates on the team. By Sunday, they were informed that they had earned a spot on the team alongside Muenzer. Other Eagle athletes who placed were Aaron Osborned in fourth at 170-pounds and Clayton Morris-Reade in fourth at 185-pounds.
The South Africa trip is one of a series of international exchange programs that Oregon has participated in. In recent years, the state has hosted teams from Russia, Switzerland, South Africa, New Zealand and Japan. The trip this year will last for three weeks and take place between the middle of July through early August.
The Oregon USA Cultural Exchange wrestling team has 20 athletes, consisting of 12 boys and eight girls. Hood River Valley High School is the only school to qualify three athletes on the team.