The Hermiston middle school wrestling team had its shot at the state title but fell painfully short Saturday at Woodburn High School.

After entering the quarterfinals in first place, Henley of Klamath Falls made a huge charge and jumped both Hermiston and defending state champ Crook County in the semifinals to snag the title tile with 157.5 points.

Crook County finished second with 119 and Hermiston third with 107.

“Our kids competed real well,” Hermiston head coach Ken Thompson said. “Henley had a tremendous semifinal round and we didn’t.”

Thompson said the team lost a lot of matches decided by a single point, but only had two wrestlers lose two straight matches.

Hermiston placed five wrestlers and had one state champ, 175-pounder Sam Colbray. He pinned everyone he wrestled and was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler in the upper weights.

Andy Wagner placed third at 102 pounds while John Henry Line was fourth at 160. Isaiah Aguilar earned a fourth-place spot at 75 pounds and Colton Walker was Hermiston’s final place-winner with a sixth-place spot at 95 pounds.

When compared to high school wrestling from a team standpoint, middle school wrestling is completely different, Thompson said.

Only a few schools have actual sustained programs, he said, while the bulk of the wrestlers are club-based competitors that end up representing their school and not part of an actual team.

“That can make things a bit difficult because those club kids are pretty tough,” he said.

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