PORTLAND — If Crescent Valley freshman Alex Rich had an Achilles’ heel this year, it was his defense against double-leg takedowns.
Rich refused to let Churchill’s Housten Ezell get to his legs, and Rich was rewarded with a state championship Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.
After a scoreless first round, Rich earned an escape point to begin the second and scored a late takedown in the third to seal a 3-0 win in the 5A 126 championship match.
“My plan was not to get double-legged because that is all he was going after,” said Rich, only the second Raider to win a state title.
“That is the move I got taken down with all year. So, I just had to defend against it, wrestle strong, and I knew I would win.”
Rich ends his freshman campaign with a 42-1 record, including 34 falls.
Dennis Moore delivered CV’s first state championship at 168 pounds in 1983. With Rich on the squad for three more seasons, the Raiders might not have to wait 29 more years for their next champion.
Lebanon's Garrett Urrutia remembered the pain he felt after Hood River Valley’s Robert Frasier pinned him in the 145-pound state championship match in 2011.
“Never again,” Urrutia told himself immediately follow the loss.
After a year of grueling training, the Lebanon senior successfully erased that bitter memory with a dominating 9-5 victory over Sandy’s Kyle Bateman to win the 5A 160-pound title.
Urrutia hardly reacted after winning the match, being unable to fully comprehend what he had just accomplished.
“I think I am still in shock a little bit,” Urrutia said at a rate of speech much slower than normal. “I guess I don’t realize that that was it. That was the last tournament of my high school career.”
Lebanon coach Michael Cox could not have been happier for Urrutia, who is one of the hardest workers he has ever coached.
Cox remembered calling Urrutia at 10 a.m. the day after he lost his state finals match in 2011. Urrutia uncharacteristically did not pick up, so Cox dialed Garrett’s older brother and former Lebanon wrestler, Dalton.
“So Dalton answers the phone and he is breathing hard, and I ask, ‘What’s going on? How’s Garrett?’ And he’s like, ‘He’s fine. We are on an eight-mile run.’ He was already getting ready for next year. That is the kind of worker he is,” Cox said.
“He is always there working. He is never gone. He is like my athletic secretary. He does a lot of my paperwork for me. He does almost everything for me. We are going to miss him as an athletic department and a school.”
Urrutia, a three-sport athlete, is still deciding between a football career at Willamette University or joining his brother and wrestling at Southern Oregon University.
Not much in the tournament came easy for West Albany senior Ryker Smith, and Saturday night was no different.
Smith twice overcame a one-point deficit, including one in overtime, to defeat Sandy’s Manny Dickinson 4-3 for the 182-pound title.
Smith, a four-time state placer, was wrestling about 10 pounds under the limit after making the move up a weight class. He lost last year’s 160 final to Churchill’s Zac Brunson, who on Saturday won his fourth state title.
“Zac Brunson is an amazing wrestler. If I wanted to be a state champion I had to move up and that’s what I did,” Smith said. “It’s so rewarding. It’s the best thing ever.”
Dickinson slipped away from under Smith after a scoreless one-minute extra period.
Smith needed to work fast.
He was awarded one point after a locking-hands violation on Dickinson, and Smith followed with an escape with nine seconds remaining. Smith stayed out of Dickinson’s reach from there to get the win.
West Albany’s Jackson Soto lost a 7-3 decision to top seed Brian Wojahn of Wilson in the 195 final.
Steely Smith’s run to the 220-pound title hit a giant roadblock in Dallas’ Ben Rebischke.
The Dragons senior controlled the match from the beginning in a 8-1 decision over Smith, the younger brother of Ryker Smith.
Rebischke needed a late takedown to defeat Smith at their Mid-Willamette Conference dual meet, but Rebischke’s strength and experience proved to be the difference Saturday night over the West sophomore.
Lebanon’s Bryan Lacy (106) and Daniel Aranda (170), and West Albany’s John Hesseltine (138) took fourth in their respective brackets.
Lebanon’s Charlie Vandetta pinned West Albany’s Dustin Schneider in the 113 fifth-sixth match. South Albany’s Adam Allen won by forfeit against West Albany’s David St. Pierre in the 132 fifth-sixth match. Crescent Valley’s Brennan King (145) took fifth.
Saturday in Portland
Seeds in parentheses
Team scores: 1. Dallas 164, 2. Pendleton 150, 3. Hermiston 134.5, 4. Churchill, 132.5, 5. West Albany 96.5, 6. Lebanon 89.5, 17. Crescent Valley 44.5, 19. South Albany 34, 24. (tie) Corvallis 8
126: (1) Alex Rich, Crescent Valley, dec. (2) Housten Ezell, Churchill, 3-0
160: (1) Garrett Urrutia, Lebanon, dec. (2) Kyle Bateman, Sandy, 9-5
182: (3) Ryker Smith, West Albany, dec. Manny Dickinson, Sandy, 4-3 OT
195: (1) Brian Wojahn, Wilson, dec. (2) Jackson Soto, West Albany, 7-3
220: Ben Rebischke, Dallas, dec. Steely Smith, West Albany, 8-1
113: (1) Thaddeus Nelson, Marshfield, maj. dec. Dustin Schneider, West Albany, 14-3
126: (1) Alex Rich, Crescent Valley, maj. dec. Max Freund, Cleveland, 9-1
132: (1) Tyler Berger, Hermiston, p. (4) David St. Pierre, West Albany, 2:59; (2) Daniel Leonard, Sherwood, maj. dec. Adam Allen, South Albany, 11-0
145: Wyatt Passantino, Dallas, maj. dec. Brennan King, Crescent Valley, 10-0
160: (1) Garrett Urrutia, Lebanon, tech. fall Ali AlShujery, Franklin, 5:19
182: (3) Ryker Smith, West Albany, dec. Kenny Dailey, Bend, 3-2
195: (2) Jackson Soto, West Albany, dec. Trevor Roberts, Mountain View, 10-3
220: Steely Smith, West Albany, p. Andy Morrison, Cleveland, 5:01
106: Colton Skeen, Pendleton, dec. Bryan Lacy, Lebanon, 2-1
138: Brandon Mawery, Sandy, dec. John Hesseltine, West Albany, 3-0
170: Joaquin Reyes, Summit, dec. Daniel Aranda, Lebanon, 3-1 OT
113: Charlie Vandetta, Lebanon, p. Dustin Schneider, West Albany, 2:43
132: Adam Allen, South Albany, def. (4) David St. Pierre, West Albany, forfeit
145: Brennan King, Crescent Valley, dec. Cesar Zarate, Hood River Valley, 6-5