SHS wrestlers overcome early season adversity

Siuslaw senior John Corser awaits the referee’s signal to begin the round in a match at Marshfield on Dec. 22. (Photo by Zac Burtt/Siuslaw News).

Girls 4th, boys 10th at Grants Pass

Dec. 29, 2021 — The Siuslaw Viking wrestling team traveled south the weekend of Dec. 17 and 18 to compete in the Winter Kickoff hosted by Grants Pass High School. Though nursing early season injury and sickness, the team continued to show the steady improvement needed to get in position to compete at district and state at the end of the season.

First off, the future of the Viking wresting program, the junior varsity team, competed well and shows there’s a bright future for the SHS wrestling program.

“Lots of the JV kids did a good job and that’s encouraging,” said Siuslaw Wrestling Coach Neil Wartnick. “It’s nice when you see your younger kids developing.”

The girls varsity team had an outstanding showing at Grants Pass, finishing tied for fourth. The three schools in front of them, Crater, North Medford and Del Norte (from California), have enrollments many times that of Siuslaw High School, making the Viking girls’ performance all the more impressive.

Three girls brought home second place medals for SHS on Dec. 18, two seniors along with a breakout performance by a freshman.

At 110, freshman Macali Lade was given the opportunity to avenge a previous loss when, in the second round, she beat North Bend’s Haley Buskerud. Buskerud had beaten Lade the weekend before at the North Bend Coast Classic.

After the win, Lade received a bye in the final round to earn second place and 12 points for the team score.

Senior Bailey Overton, at 120, also finished second and may have placed higher if not for an injury she suffered in her semifinal match, forcing her to forfeit a chance at a first-place medal.

“It’s called an injury default,” said Warnick. “We did that just to keep her safe. We didn’t want her to get more injured and lose her for a longer period of time. Bailey has been great. She’s made great progress all year.”

Also finishing second was another senior, Hayden Muller, at 140.

“She fought hard,” said Wartnick. “Always gives us everything she has. She had a week where she was battling sickness and minor injury, so just to see her compete was an accomplishment.”

Besides Muller, other wrestlers on the girls team were also facing injury and/or sickness and were forced to sit out the meet completely. The perseverance showed in still pulling off a fourth place finish is indicative of the toughness of this team.

“The girls are just really something,” said Wartnick. “Even with girls out, we still came home with a pretty good place.”

The boys team is also showing improvement as the season progresses and had their best showing of the season thus far at Grants Pass. The team is still working out some early season conditioning issues, as indicated by the fact they were in fourth place going into the finals, but couldn’t get any wins in the last round and ended up finishing 10th. The Viks may have ran out of gas.

“We did all our good work in earlier rounds,” said Wartnick.

Even so, the Viking boys had two second-place finishers, Mason Buss and Dayne Muller.

Buss, a junior, overcame sickness and injury himself but still managed to wrestle well at 170.

“Just to see him compete was an accomplishment in itself,” said Wartnick. “The fact he came home with second place is a tribute to his skill.”

Wartnick was especially impressed by the improvement Dayne showed from the previous weekend’s matches.

“He was able to make adjustments from last week,” said Wartnick. “Previously he had had some losses that maybe could have gone the other way. This weekend he showed a whole lot more self-control and composure. He had a huge match in the semifinal where he came from behind and pinned his opponent. That was perhaps the most exciting match of the day for us.”

The following Thursday, on Dec. 22, the Vikings traveled to Marshfield for a dual meet with the Pirates. SHS won six of the eight matches on the night, but because of forfeits, the home team picked up the win 42-36.

“We wrestled very well," said Wartnick. "Our lineup was depleted due to sickness, injury and travel."

Wins came from freshmen Aiden Armstrong and Leo Robertson, sophomores Rosa Velasco-Mendez and Cort Waggoner and juniors Yoskar DeLaMora and Hunter Petterson.

The Viks are next on the mat Jan. 6 for their first home meet of the season. The Sky-Em Dual Meet Championship starts at 2 p.m. at Glen Butler Court in Florence.