Irrigon had its best showing at the state wrestling tournament in more than 10 years, as eight of its nine participants placed in the top six at the 3A state tournament on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.
“I am proud of my boys,” Irrigon coach Jason Dunten said. “Four of them had never been to state before. We took them on a hard schedule this year, and they reaped the rewards. We had a couple of placers last year, but eight placers is the best finish in a long while.”
Irrigon finished seventh in the team race with 103.5 points. La Pine won the team title with 150 points, with Nyssa right behind at 141.
Riverside, which had Ethan Snyder place fifth at 132 pounds, finished 20th with 10 points.
Alex Miranda-Walls (170 pounds) and Gabriel Romero (113) finished third for the Knights, while Kyler Olney (126) and Kaleb Kendrick (285) were fourth, Josue Aguilara (195) and Brady Harrington (182) were fifth, and Asher Hall (106) and Reece Sheller (220) were sixth.
Miranda-Walls (43-3), who lost his opening match to eventual state champion Dax Bennett of Harrisburg, steamrolled his way through the consolation bracket. He finished with a 10-2 major decision over Owen Amerson of Yamhill-Carlton.
“Alex’s three losses are to the kid (Hon Rushton) from Baker who was third at the 4A tournament, and two returning state champions,” Dunten said. “He had a great year.” Miranda-Walls also was third last year.
Romero, who reached the quarterfinals, won all four of his consolation matches. In the third-place match, he beat Efrain Caldera of Nyssa 4-2 in overtime.
“We kind of had to drag him through the season,” Dunten said. “Then he finishes third.”
Kendrick (28-13) reached the semifinals before suffering a loss and was relegated to the consolation bracket. He was pinned by Aaron Schaefer of Santiam Christian in the first round of the third place match.
Olney also reached the semis, where he lost a 4-2 decision. He bounced back with a pin of Logan Matthews of La Pine before losing a 10-2 decision to Justin Winn of Burns in the third-place match.
Harrington (20-10), who was injured in the consolation semifinals, was cleared to return for his final match, where he beat Korbin Howell of Rainier 13-6.
Aguilara (32-11), who lost his first match at the tournament, worked his way back through the consolation bracket. He earned a 6-0 decision over Zachary Lepre of Southerlin in the fifth-place match.
Hall (22-17) reached the semifinals on the first day of action, but did not have the same success on Day 2. He lost all three matches, including the fifth-place match, where he was pinned by Russell Talmadge of Harrisburg in 5:09.
Sheller (32-17) finished 2-3 at state, including a loss in the fifth-place match, where he was pinned by David Bowlin of Dayton in 48 seconds.