BOARDMAN — Echo senior Logan Butler took the mat at Saturday’s Class 3A Special District 3 tournament with his one and only trip to the state championship meet on the line.
Butler, at 182 pounds, was knocked into the consolation bracket after getting pinned by a Nyssa Bulldog in just 33 seconds. With a bye in the next round, Butler had time to recoup and went on to defeat senior Chris Ramirez of Nyssa by 7-0 decision. He was then pitted against Irrigon’s Reece Sheller, with the winner of the third place bout advancing to state.
The two scoped each other out for the first 30 seconds of the match, and then Butler made his first move — a lunge at the feet of Sheller. No points came from those efforts, but he would later get two points for a take down and then build his lead to 4-1 after the first round.
Through the second, Butler had a 9-2 advantage and he eventually ended things in 5:06 for the win and the third place finish.
“I saw that he was getting tired and I figured mentally I was ahead of him and I knew I’d be alright,” Butler said. “It’s my senior year and I have a lot to lose because after this I’m not doing any spring sports ... so I had to leave it all on the mat.”
Butler joins four other Cougars who will be making the trip to Portland on Feb. 16. Fellow senior Kyle Ranger, who made it to state in 2016 but was knocked out in the second round, will have one last chance to take the podium.
Ranger’s fate would again come down to a bout against Mohammed, as the two met again in the third place match. He improved after their first showing and pinned Mohammed in 1:34.
The Cougars had three wrestlers make it to the finals, all guaranteed a spot at the state tournament. Senior Hayden Hilliard (132) and junior Mychael Pointer (145) finished in second place, and in one of the final matches of the day, senior Kenneth Bevan (195) earned Echo’s only first place finish.
Andrew Barker, a senior in front of his home crowd, defeated Nyssa’s Raul Ruiz 10-7 to earn his first ever district title.
Five other Riverside wrestlers will join Barker at state, starting with sophomore Fernando Ortega, who won the 106-pound district title by fall in 3:04 over Nyssa freshman Efrain Caldera. Joining them will be Abraham Silva (2nd place, 113), Christian Reyes (3rd, 132), Ethan Snyder (3rd, 138) and Ivan Salgado (2nd, 182).
“At the beginning of the year, I didn’t know if we could get more than five (wrestlers to state), so getting six we overachieved,” head coach Richard Rockwell said.
Irrigon brought 12 wrestlers to the district tournament, and all 12 placed in the top six of their respective weight class.
Seven Knights are going to state, including Alex Miranda-Walls. Juniors Silvestre Vasquez and Kyler Shelton were guaranteed the trip when they both made it into the 126-pound finals. Vasquez would go on to defeat his fellow Knight, and win the district title by an 11-2 major decision.
Shelton, along with Harrington — the Irrigon junior that was defeated by Bevan — and junior Kaleb Kendrick (285) each finished in second place.
Nyssa, the reigning district champions for the past three years, continued its reign by handily taking home the team district title with 270 points.
Burns followed in second place with 206.5, and Irrigon rounded out the top three with 160.5 points.
Riverside (148), Vale (129.5) and Echo (109) finished fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.