One wrestler will be competing for his fourth state championship, two will be going for their third, and one team will attempt to win its 12th title in 13 years as Central Oregon squads travel to Portland this weekend for OSAA’s wrestling state championships.
Lorenzo Vasquez, winner of three straight Class 2A/1A state championships, is the top seed at 126 pounds.
His Culver team will look to continue its dynasty Friday and Saturday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
“Anybody that tells you there’s not expectations at Culver, they’re lying,” longtime Bulldogs coach J.D. Alley said. “We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the year. We definitely have a core group of seniors and an awful lot of rookies, too. I thought we advanced and came along as a team fundamentally and strength- and conditioningwise. We’ve been wrestling pretty well since the first of the year.”
Culver has two more No. 1 seeds, Cylus Hoke, a defending state champion at 195 pounds, and Lane Downing at 138. Hunter Augustynovich is the No. 2 seed at 145 pounds.
Mountain View junior Beau Ohlson, the No. 1 seed at 138 pounds, is seeking his third state championship after winning 5A titles at 113 pounds as a freshman and 126 as a sophomore.
But Ohlson and the Cougars have moved up to 6A this year.
“I definitely don’t recognize a lot of names so it will be different,” Ohlson said of wrestling in 6A. “I’ll have a lot of different matches and it will be a little bit more tougher competition for sure.”
While Ohlson pinned North Medford junior Cole Zoller, the No. 3 seed, at the Oregon Classic earlier this season, he has yet to wrestle Westview senior Joey Coste, seeded second.
“I don’t know too much about him but it should be a tough match,” Ohlson said. “I definitely feel a lot more confident coming in as a two-timer. I just need to go out and wrestle my best, just perform and scrap.”
Carson Fassett, another Mountain View junior and the No. 1 seed at 152 pounds, is seeking his first state title after breaking his left wrist as a freshman and then failing to place last year.
“I got it in my head that I wasn’t good enough to be there,” Fassett said of the 2018 state tournament. “I’m going into it pretty confident this year.”
Fassett defeated the No. 2 seed, Roseburg senior Austin David, a state runner-up last season, at the Oregon Classic last month. Fassett is not as familiar with the rest of his bracket.
“I haven’t really wrestled many of the guys in my bracket so it’s going to be a different tournament for sure,” he said. “I’m going to wrestle like I’m wrestling any other tournament, like I’m not seeded.”
La Pine senior Derrik Kerr is also seeking his third state championship in Class 3A. The top seed at 132 pounds, Kerr would become the second La Pine wrestler to ever win three titles, following his brother David.
Daniel Underwood, a state placer for La Pine last season as a sophomore, is seeded second at 220 pounds.
“I think we’re wrestling the best we have all year,” Hawks coach Aaron Flack said. “We’re peaking at the right time. Had a good tournament last weekend at the regionals. We won by over 100 points. Things are rolling right now so hopefully it just continues on through the weekend.”
Crook County, which has won five 4A state titles in the last six years, has also moved up a classification to 5A.
The Cowboys have one returning state champion — Hunter Mode, the top seed at 126 pounds.
Zachary Mauras (132), Kyle Knudtson (182), Tannon Joyner (106) and Steven Ware (113), all state finalists last season, are also back seeking a state title. Caleb Parrott, a state placer a year ago, is the top seed at 285 pounds.
“I think they’re ready to go and if we go out and compete for six minutes or however long it takes, I think we’ll be OK,” Crook County coach Jake Gonzales said. “I just want our guys to wrestle well and compete hard, all of them.”
Also in 5A, Redmond’s Kagen Lawrence, who placed second at 106 pounds last season as a freshman, is the No. 2 seed at 113 pounds. Clayton Elrod is No. 4 at 160 pounds after placing fourth in the same weight a year ago.
Orlando Torres, a 2A/1A state finalist at 126 pounds for Culver last season, is seeded fifth in the 4A 145-pound bracket for Madras. His older brother Victor is the No. 3 seed at 152 pounds.
Ten Central Oregon wrestlers will compete in the girls division on Saturday, including regional champions Olivia Flack (La Pine, 100), Charli Stewart (Bend, 120), Taylor Ohlson (Mountain View, 130), Alexandra Byrne (Mountain View, 140), Evangelina Toruno (La Pine, 170) and Bailey Dennis (Madras, 190).
Dennis won the 160-pound state championship last season for Ridgeview.
Ohlson, a junior, claimed the state title as a freshman but battled a back injury and finished third last season.
“I’ve just got to not hesitate and just go for it,” Ohlson said. “Last year was a tough year, I didn’t want to wrestle. I didn’t really give it all my effort. I was hurt. This year is going to be different because I actually want to wrestle.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0307, email@example.com