The tooth Miguel Salamanca swallowed did not taste as good as becoming the first Camas High School wrestler to bring home a medal from the prestigious Tri-State tournament Saturday, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
The 54-team extravaganza featured wrestlers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. Although Salamanca suffered a severely bruised jaw, lost one tooth and chipped three others, the Papermaker senior still placed sixth in the 145-pound weight class.
“Before he hurt his jaw, he was like dynamite. I had never seen a Camas wrestler look that good,” said assistant coach Brody Faler.
After a first round bye, Salamanca earned a 17-2 technical fall over Waylen Anderson of Reardan, Wash. In his next match against Jordan Nolan of Kuna, Idaho, Salamanca went for a double-leg takedown. Both wrestlers crashed into the mat, and Nolan’s knee jammed right into Salamanca’s jaw.
“He looked dazed, like a boxer who got hit in the jaw,” Faler said. “The first thing he asked was how much time, and we said ‘two rounds.'”
The match was tied, and Salamanca still felt he could go. He ended up beating Nolan 10-4, and then defeated Jeremiah Gaiser of Flat Head, Mont., 3-1 to reach the semifinals.
Although he tried to fight through the pain and the swelling, Salamanca lost his next two matches. He would have loved to wrestle Gaiser again for fifth place, but Faler said it was not worth risking a further injury.
“Without question, Tri-State is the toughest tournament in the Northwest,” Faler said. “For Miguel to be the first wrestler from Camas to bring home a medal from this event, that’s a huge accomplishment.”
You cannot get the full scope of this accomplishment until you look at the 145-pound bracket, which can be downloaded at www.washingtonwrestlingreport.com. When Salamanca finished fourth in the state tournament last February, he wrestled five matches in a 16-man bracket. He also competed in five matches at Tri-State, but it was in a 64-man bracket. If not for a bye in the first round and pulling out in the finals due to injury, Salamanca would have wrestled seven matches to earn a medal.
Faler appluded the efforts of Gabe Wells, Tyler Weiss, Lucas Nicacio, Austin Miller, Dakota Safford and Tye Lommasson at Tri-State. Wells defeated Jamison Rice of Orting, Wash., 6-2 and Zach Lane of Springdale, Wash., 4-3. Weiss topped David Munding of Spokane, 7-6. Nicacio beat Tyler Osborne of Springdale, Wash., 6-2. Safford pinned Casey Ourada of Spokane. Miller bested Byrce Wetherell of Auburn, 12-6.
Camas also had some wrestlers competing at the tournament in Tumwater, Saturday. Brandon Lauer earned third at 103 pounds, and Marcus Hartman took third at 119. Tyler Marham finished fourth at 103 and Vince Huber notched fourth at 160.
The Papermakers conquered Mountain View 38-30 Dec. 14, at Camas High School. Huber pinned his opponent in the third round of the 171-pound match to give the Papermakers a seven-point lead. Mountain View made a late charge, but could not knock Camas off its perch. Salamanca, Wells and Lommasson also pinned their opponents. Other Papermaker victories went to Hartman (13-3), Safford (2-0), Nicacio (7-3) and Philip Barlas (12-2).
The Pacific Coast Championships are up next for Camas Dec. 29 and 30, at Hudson’s Bay High School in Vancouver.