Wrestlers place well in Valley meet


Last updated 1/31/2023 at Noon

Carter Van Meter pushed his season record to 6-8 on his way to fifth place at 120 pounds in the Tod Surmon Mid-Valley Classic wrestling tournament hosted by West Albany High School last week. After losing by fall (5:25) to Joey Evanston of Mountainside, Van Meter took down Sam Calderon of McNary in under a minute and then beat Rodney Cheever of South Albany by fall (2:23).

The 132-pound Tyson Kemp lost a 5-2 decision in his initial match to Taylor Gauntlett of West Albany, and after a bye in the next round lost to David Ramirez Sierra of McNary by fall (0:52).

Hayden Kunz followed a bye in round one with a win by fall over Kenneth Farnsworth of West Albany (1:52), but lost to the eventual champion Seth Carp of Sprague by fall (1:12).

The 152-pound weight class featured some top-ranked wrestlers, including Sisters’ own Ben Cooper, who entered the tournament with a 21-7 record. After a first-round bye, Cooper took out Corvallis wrestler Gavin Hale (22-5) by fall (1:54) before facing off with Central’s undefeated Ethan Dunigan (28-0). Cooper survived all three rounds but was outpointed 10-0. Owen Oliver of Sheldon (23-5) ended Cooper’s day with a win by fall (4:55) in the third-place match.

Jace Owens also wrestled in the 152-pound class, where he went 0-2. He lost to Sheldon’s Oliver (0:58) and to Robbie Johnston of South Albany (2:59).

Scott Henderson rounded out the scoring for Sisters in the 170-pound class that included a long day of wrestling. He earned an 8-4 decision over James Larkins of Sprague, who came into the meet with a record of 17-8. Henderson then grappled with David Griffith (15-4) of Philomath, but lost by fall (1:34). Henderson bounced back with wins in the consolation bracket over Carson Hunsaker of Sprague (fall, 5:51) and Trevor Temple of Corvallis (fall, 5:50) only to meet Larkins again with a chance at fifth place. Larkins had the upper hand in the rematch and pinned Henderson at the 4:58 mark.

The Outlaws scored 50 points in total to place 10th among 13 teams, most of which were from the 5A and 6A ranks. Host West Albany won the team title with 173.5 points to edge Sprague (173).

“I felt the boys competed extremely well against some very good competition,” said coach David Kemp. “Four of our six boys placed in the top six.”

Three girls competed for the Outlaws as well, according to Kemp.

Brooklyn Cooper lost her first-round match to Janie Parker of Sheldon, but stormed back to win her next two on her way to fifth place. She took down Shirley Moralez of Corvallis (fall, 1:05) and made even quicker work of Hilda Garcia of Newport (fall, 0:55).

Addie Laird notched first place in her division by beating Lisa Fujiwara of West Albany twice, both by fall. Kistin Elbek had to go a step further by beating Ivy Nicolas three times, all falls, to secure her first-place title.

“I am proud of how our Outlaws competed against top-quality teams,” the coach said. “It was our last tournament before District and was a great proving ground for where we are individually and as a team.”

The girls team will compete at the OSAA 4A/3A/2A/1A Regional tournament February 3-4 at Cottage Grove, which serves as the qualifier for the state tournament. The boys have a dual meet at La Pine on Wednesday, February 1, and will compete at the district tournament February 10 and 11.


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