FOUR LOCAL GRAPPLERS IN MUILENBURG SEMIS
Four local wrestlers are alive for their weight championships after the first day of the La Grande Breakfast Lions Oregon Trail-Brian Muilenburg Invitational Friday.
In team points, Pendleton was in first place with 138 points. La Grande was the highest local team, in ninth place out of 15 schools with 45 points.
Enterprise was 10th with 42 points.
More than 200 wrestlers from 15 schools in Idaho and Oregon are competing in the annual two-day event, which will conclude this evening.
In the semifinals today is Imbler sophomore Jeff Smith at 171 pounds. Smith pinned Corey Nowlin of Weiser, beat Steven Cooke of Baker 12-6, then beat Jacson Rogers of Nampa (Skyview) 7-5.
Unfortunately, because Imbler has three wrestlers at 171 pounds, Smith's run will not count for the Panthers' team points.
Smith has been a pleasant surprise for Imbler coach Patrick Nearing, but Nearing is also impressed with the performance of the Panthers' Daniel Johnson.
Johnson hit his head and required 13 to 14 stitches, but wearing a bandage over his head, he managed to win a match with a first-round pin. He won another match via forfeit, then lost on points. He is still alive for a possible third-place finish.
Also in the semifinals are Elgin teammates Chad McDonald, at 189 pounds, and Blake Eckstein, at 215 pounds.
McDonald won two matches by pins, while Eckstein won both his matches in dominating fashion with first-round pins. His second match lasted only 54 seconds.
Wrestling McDonald today will be Enterprise's Jimmy VanBelle, who won both his matches by pins to make the semifinals.
Numerous other local wrestlers have won at least one match. Several of these wrestlers could finish as high as third place.
Thomas Witherspoon of Elgin at 103 pounds won a match by a first-round pin.
At 119 pounds, there are three local wrestlers with a chance to place. Andy Wallace of Enterprise won a match 12-9, Brian Boothman of La Grande won with a late third-round pin, and Jake McCleary of Enterprise won with a first-round pin before narrowly losing 3-1 in the quarterfinals to a Barlow High grappler.
Wallace and Boothman will wrestle one another today, while McLeary will wrestle Ross Weatherspoon of Baker for the chance to go up against the winner of that match.
Chad Sams of Enterprise beat Jake Moncrieff of La Grande at 125 pounds with a third-round pin, and can finish third if he has a good day today.
Austin Himes of Enterprise won two matches by pins at 130 pounds, one in only 47 seconds, and is in the third/fourth place bracket. Jeremy Blakely of La Grande, just a freshman, won a match at 130 with a first-round pin.
Levi Hug of La Grande at 135 pounds won a match with a second-round pin and is alive for third place. Billy Garrison of Union, also at 135 pounds, won a match with a second-round pin. Dino May of La Grande won a match at 135 pounds with a first-round pin.
At 140 pounds, both Ryan Barstad of Joseph and James Cox of La Grande are alive for third. Barstad won two matches with quick first-round pins, while Cox won his first match 14-7, then won his second with a a second-round pin.
At 145 pounds, Michael Godfrey of La Grande won two matches with first-round pins and can finish as high as third.
Luke Hines of Imbler and Collin Cunningham of Enterprise each won a match at 145 pounds.
At 152 pounds, Jason Douglas of Enterprise won two matches by pins, while Codi Burgess won a match 7-0 over Aaron White of Joseph. Burgess or Douglas could finish as high as third.
Brandon Frei of Wallowa at 160 pounds won a match by pin in only 39 seconds and is alive for third place. Vance Horn of Elgin won a match at 160 pounds with a first-round pin.
Zach Myers of Imbler won a match at 171 pounds with a second-round pin, and Patrick Silveira of Wallowa won a match at 171.
Clayton Lowe of Joseph won two matches with first-round pins at 189 pounds and could finish third. He was pinned by VanBelle in the third round of their quarterfinal.
Daniel Wells of La Grande won a match at 215 with a second-round pin.
Tyrell Grove of La Grande at 275 pounds won a match over Joe Singler of Enterprise by a score of 8-0. Grove is alive for third place.
Oregon Trail-Brian Muilenburg La Grande Breakfast Lions Invitational
Pendleton 138, Weiser 106.5, Nampa (Skyview) 97, Burns 85, Barlow 77, Mac-Hi 65, Capital 65, Baker 57, La Grande 45, Enterprise 42, Elgin 38, Joseph 16, Imbler 12, Wallowa 10, Union 8.