Twelve out of 14 Washougal wrestlers snagged medals from the Columbia Gorge Invitational Saturday, at Stevenson High School. And the team brought home the trophy.
The Panthers racked up 161.5 points to win the seven-team meet. Castle Rock was second with 156 points.
WHS junior Jacob Brown became a Gorge champion for the second year in a row. Sophomores A.J. Christianson and Bailey Duncan, and freshman Tanner Howington, finished in second place.
“It was awesome seeing two sophomores and a freshman earn trips to the finals,” said head coach John Carver.
Ruben Aguilar, Tanner Baldwin, Andrew Bedjan, Dylen Cherry, Taylor Leifsen and Ulrich Reyes took third place. Zach Oster and John Sutherland secured fourth place.
Brown beat Goldendale’s Zane Cully 12-6 to become the 220-pound champion. Duncan was ahead with 30 seconds left in the 126-pound championship match, before Vance Brewer of Hudson’s Bay reversed a hold and held on for a 7-4 victory. Christianson and Howington were overmatched by their opponents, but still gained valuable experience from wrestling in the finals.
Reyes beat Jon McMillan of Hudson’s Bay 9-4 for third place at 106 pounds. Cherry defeated Tyler Crayne of Columbia River 12-5 for third place at 113. Leifsen earned a 15-0 technical fall against Luis Santamaria of Hudson’s Bay for third place at 132. Baldwin beat Stevenson’s Noah Richart 7-1 for third place at 145. Bedjan defeated Ridgefield’s Vanea McDaniel 8-3 for third place at 160. Aguilar beat Jeremiah Borts of Hudson’s Bay 8-2 for third place at 182.
R.A. Long outlasted Washougal 39-32 in a battle of unbeaten 2A Greater St. Helens League teams Thursday, in Longview. Reyes, Duncan, Leifsen, Christianson and Duncan earned victories for the Panthers.
Washougal wrestles at Hockinson Thursday. The district tournament follows Saturday, Feb. 8, at R.A. Long High School. This is the first step toward qualifying for the Mat Classic Feb. 24 and 25, at the Tacoma Dome.
“The next three weeks of wrestling offers up the greatest challenges, and we want to face these challenges with strength and perseverance,” Carver said.
The Washougal girls racked up 174 points and earned second place at the 18-team Jaguar Invitational Saturday, at Emerald Ridge High School. Kelso won with 200 points.
Washougal’s Jessica Eakins beat Connell’s Maria Enriquez 13-2 for the 106-pound championship. Eakins also pinned Kelso’s Bryonna Munoz to get to the finals.
Two Panthers wrestled each other for the 155-pound championship. Abby Lees pinned Jessica Biron in the second round.
Yaneli Martinez and Bailiee Wright also made it to the championship round for Washougal. Both settled for second place. Erin Locke and Katelyn Purkeypyle earned third place. Alexis Flores and Mialisa Oster finished in fifth place.
“We use this tournament as a final check before the postseason push,” said head girls coach Heather Carver. “We will work tirelessly to get everybody healthy and ready for a strong finish.”