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Parker Robinson (right) finished second in the 90-pound 10-and-under division at the Reno Worlds Tournament recently. Cole Rohan (left) took third place in the 98-pound 15-and-under division.
by CASEY KELLAS / The Observer
RENO, Nev. — Parker Robinson is quickly making a name for himself in the world of wrestling.
Robinson, a member of the La Grande Mat Club, took second place in the 90-pound 10-and-under division of the Reno Worlds Tournament held in Reno, Nev., April 11-14.
Robinson took third place a year ago at the open invite tournament that is the largest collegiate-style tournament in the world.
It attracted wrestlers from 40 states, three countries and two independent territories this year.
“I was disappointed at first,” Robinson said of finishing second.
“But Reno is one of the toughest tournaments in the world.”
Robinson won his first three matches before running into the No. 2 seed, Anthony Carman, from the West Virginia-based Flight Time wrestling club in the semifinals.
Robinson pulled out a 7-3 decision to make it to the championship match against top-seeded Rocky Elam from Team Central Wrestling Club of Kansas City, Mo.
After nearly taking Elam down in the first period, Robinson gave up a two-point takedown which proved to be the only score of the match.
Robinson said he wasn’t too familiar with Elam entering the title bout, but that he wanted take him deep into the match.
“I knew he wasn’t used to going to the third round,” Robinson said. “So I just wanted it go (three rounds).”
Despite the loss, Robinson was pleased with his overall performance.
“I wasn’t expecting to make it that far,” Robinson said. “I knew (going into the finals) that win or lose, I was going home a champion.”
Robinson added that having the chance to compete last year helped him throughout the tournament this year.
“My first year, I thought third place was good,” he said. “This year I wanted to try and go further and just have fun with my family. I showed them what I could do. I was more calm (this year), not as jumpy.”
Robinson said that he plans on returning to Reno again next year to try and take the next step toward a national title.
“I want to see how far I can go next year,” he said.
Rohan takes third
Cole Rohan took third place in the 98-pound 15-and-under division. Rohan, who wrestles for La Grande High School, competed last year but lost early on.
He said that experience helped him at this year’s tournament.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Rohan said of taking third. “This year I was the aggressor and just took it to people. I knew I was stronger than most of my opponents and wanted to go at them.”
Rohan drew the No. 1 seed early on in the tournament and lost. But Rohan bounced back to win five straight matches to earn a spot in the third-place match against Ian Timmons of the Damonte Ranch Mustangs of Sparks, Nev.
Rohan pulled out a 5-4 decision over Timmons to take third place in the national field.
“Sometimes stuff happens,” Rohan said of his thoughts after losing early on in the tournament. “I knew I just had to battle back. My coach always says that the toughest wrestler takes third.”
Ryan Middleton, Taran Hardwick, Caleb Woodworth and Preston Armstrong also represented La Grande High School at the tournament.
Middleton won his first two matches before being ousted, while Hardwick advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to the eventual champion. Woodworth and Armstrong both went two-and-out.
Alex Kehr, Ridge Kehr and Tabian Kehr represented the La Grande Mat Club. Alex Kehr won two matches in Reno, while his brothers each won a single match at the tournament before falling.