March 3, 2020 — The challenge of the state tournament is meeting the most difficult competition of the season in a stressful, crowded and overwhelming environment in the amphitheater at Memorial Coliseum. Even the most skilled and best-conditioned wrestlers in the state tend to struggle with the pressure of performing in that environment.
That being said, Siuslaw’s eight-person state team rose to the challenge despite the fact that, for wrestlers like Luis Infante-Marquez and Christian Newlan, it was a first-time qualification for state. Both wrestled tough matches in two highly competitive weight classes. Infante-Marquez lost to Cade Wynne of Mazama, who went on to place fifth at 182 pounds. For Newlan, after scoring a win, he was eliminated by Dyontae Navarrete of Woodburn — the eventual third-place winner at 220 lbs.
Freshman Mason Buss wrestled a number of strategic matches in the 120-pound bracket. After defeating Bradley Rieger of Tillamook in the first round, he wrestled against the eventual fifth-place finisher from La Grande.
During that match, Buss was slammed to the mat and fought injury the remainder of the tournament before eventually being eliminated by third-place finisher Gavin Stone of Baker-Powder Valley just before the placement rounds.
At 152 lbs., Ryan Jennings went toe-to-toe with the best in the state’s 4A division. After a first-round win, Jennings faced off against state runner-up Jacob Dunn of Cottage Grove. Jennings remained tied with Dunn through the first round and most of the second before Dunn pulled away in the third to secure a victory.
Jennings was dominant in his next match, pinning his opponent to secure a spot in the second day of competition. Jen-nings then lost a heartbreaker just before the placing rounds to fourth-place finisher Tanner Gibson of Junction City.
In that match, Jennings led Gibson in scoring the entire match until, in the last 15 seconds, Gibson scored a reversal for a 1-point victory.
The standout performances of the tournament came at 285 lbs. from Matthew Horrillo, and at 138 lbs. from Elijah La-Cosse.
On Friday, Horrillo squelched two opponents to make the semi-finals round, advancing to meet Christopher Woods of Hidden Valley on the mats. After a dead heat and scoreless first round, Woods caught Horrillo for a second-round pin. Horrillo went on to fight his way back through the consolation rounds, ending the tournament with two very decisive victories to stand on the podium in third place.
LaCosse, meanwhile, suffered a disappointing first-round loss to Alex Kehr of La Grande — the team that went on to claim the team title. Kehr pulled ahead early and went on to pin LaCosse in the second round. But the Viking 138-pounder rose above the defeat, dominating and pinning five consecutive opponents to secure third place overall.
Along the way, LaCosse defeated two returning state-placers, eliminated No. 3 seed Keegan Hagerty of Tillamook from the tournament and also defeating Sweet Home’s Tristan Spencer. LaCosse’s final match of the tournament was a re-match against Kehr for third place — with LaCosse pinning Kehr in the first round to secure the win.
The eight-man team finished 13th out of 32 teams, with LaCosse scoring an impressive 23 team points — the most points that can be scored by a third-place finisher at state.
In the girls’ tournament, sophomores Bailey Overton and Hayden Muller endured difficult first-round matches against the No. 2 seeds in their brackets. Unlike the boys tournament, the girls compete against every Oregon division (1A-6A), making the competition especially tough.
Overton and Muller competed well, with each of them winning matches at state. Muller was matched against Haylee Davis, a regional champion from Banks. The Viking sophomore defeated Davis with a first-round pin to move into the semifinals. Though she suffered a loss in the next round, Muller dominated Jasmine Hopkins from Forrest Grove to place fourth in her weight class.
On the podium, Muller was flanked by three upperclassman (two seniors and one junior), two of whom were returning state champions.