Siuslaw honors senior grapplers

The Siuslaw wrestling team’s seniors; from left; Hayden Muller, Brooke Olson, Bailey Overton, Jason Garcia and John Corser. (Photo by Zac Burtt/Siuslaw News)

Muller wins district, Lade also advances to state

Feb. 8, 2022 — A festive week for the Siuslaw mat team started with a celebration of the five seniors and their careers wrestling for SHS and ended with two Viking wrestlers qualifying for state. One wrestler, senior Hayden Muller, won the District 2 championship at 135 pounds.

First, on Thursday, Feb. 3, Siuslaw hosted Stayton for a dual meet. Before the wrestling began, Siuslaw held its annual wrestling Senior Night and honored John Corser, Jason Garcia, Hayden Muller, Brooke Olson and Bailey Overton.

Each wrestler was announced and accompanied to the center of the mat by their families, where they each were presented with flowers and balloons to commemorate the completion of their careers on the mats at Glen Butler Court.

First was Corser, a skilled wrester and also the consummate teammate, according to Siuslaw Head Coach Neil Wartnick.

“John has always given us his best every day and has won a lot of big matches for us through the years, in dual meets particularly,” said Wartnick. “He’s also the kind of person who doesn’t look around when something needs to be done. He’s leading by example all the time. You cannot count on anyone to be more consistent at practice than John.”

Next was Garcia, who, in the dual meet after the ceremony, staged a dramatic comeback win over Lyric Burroughs of Stayton.

“Compassionate, hardworking, dedicated, those are words I’d use to describe Jason,” said Wartnick. “He also knows when its time, when he faces adversity, to be tough and to face difficult challenges head on. He got behind in his match but came back and won. That match changed the momentum and the feeling in the gym. We didn’t lose again after that.”

Corser and Garcia were the only two boy seniors on the team.

“When I think of John and Jason, I think they’re in the same mold and I think they are both just amazing men,” said Wartnick.

Muller was the first senior girl presented. She has reached state all four years at SHS and will finish her career as one of the most accomplished female wrestlers in Siuslaw history.

“Her career started well when she took first place at the middle school girls state wrestling tournament,” said Wartnick. “We’ve never had a girl wrestler win any sort of state title, so it was pretty special. She’s had so many great moments and been such a great influence on all her teammates.”

Next was Olson, one of a large group of cheerleaders who tried wrestling to start the season and the only one to make it to the end of the season.

“I have so much admiration for Brooke,” said Wartnick. “She’s a strong, strong person, both mentally and physically, and a hard worker and good listener. She’s someone who just loves pushing herself. She also added a lot of good camaraderie and spirit to the girls team. I think very highly of Brooke. She’ll do well wherever she goes.”

The last senior introduced was Overton. Before she was injured around the holidays, Overton was one of the best wrestler on the girls team and a strong contender to place at state.

“Bailey is an outstanding wrestler,” said Wartnick. “She would have been going to state if not for her injury. Great attitude. She has brought spirit, life and joy to the team even when she hasn’t been able to wrestle.”

After the celebration of seniors, Siuslaw faced Stayton in the dual meet. Viking wrestlers Garcia, junior Mason Buss and sophomore Cort Waggoner picked up wins, but Stayton beat Siuslaw 44-18.

Then, on Saturday, Feb. 5, four Vikings traveled to Cottage Grove to compete in Special District 2 Girls Regional Championships.

Muller, competing in her final district meet of a long and accomplished wrestling career, swept through her competition to win district at 135 and earn a trip to state, at Culver High on Feb. 24.

“To win a regional tournament is a big accomplishment,” said Wartnick. “For me though, what was most satisfying was to see who she wrestled in her matches. She was fundamentally very dominating. She controlled positions, something we’ve been working on, so it’s a real testament to her growth.”

Muller has placed fourth at state the last two years, but Wartnick thinks this might be the year she finishes higher.

“She’s been really listening to the coaching staff and making adjustments and I think that can allow her to place higher than she ever has,” said Wartnick.

At 110 pounds, freshman Macali Lade won two of three matches. She lost in the final to Destiny Weaver of Glendale, but still earned a second place finish and a trip to state in her first year ever competing in the sport of wrestling.

“In the semifinal, Macali really rallied her spirits and worked through some difficult positions and ended up coming back and pinning the girl,” said Wartnick.

Olson and sophomore Makayla Freeman also competed. Olson earned seven team points and Freeman nine. Siuslaw scored 57 total team points to finish an impressive fifth out of 37 teams.

Next up for the Siuslaw boys team is Special District 2 Regionals held here in Florence on Glen Butler on Saturday, Feb. 12. First match is at 10 a.m. This meet will decide which boy wrestlers qualify for state.