Tigers place 18th at state tourney

By Observer staff February 25, 2013 09:21 am

Observer staff

PORTLAND — The La Grande wrestling team finished in 18th place at the 4A state tournament in Portland Saturday.

The Tigers finished with 27.5 team points, while Crook County won the team title with 290 points. 

Henley (196), Sweet Home (161), Cascade (126) and Tillamook (104) rounded out the top five.

McLoughlin placed ninth with 53 points, while Ontario finished in 15th place with 33 points and Baker was 17th with 30 points.

“This was the first time that a lot of these kids have been to the state tournament,” LHS head coach Klel Carson said. 

“So I thought they competed really well.”

Caleb Woodworth and Ryan Middleton were La Grande’s top wrestlers.

Both finished in sixth place at their respective weight classes.

Woodworth wrestled at 160 pounds.

The junior won his first two matches before falling to eventual state champion, Gary Jantzer of Henley.

Woodworth then went on to fall to Dean Smith of Crook County before losing to Brendan Harkey of Crook County in the fifth/sixth-place match.

At 132 pounds, Ryan Middleton won three straight matches after losing his opening match.

The junior then went on to lose to Tillamook’s Kody Prulhiere in the fifth/sixth-place match.

“Ryan always battles,” Carson said of Middleton.

“He always rises up to the occasion.”

Cole Rohan won two matches 

at 106 pounds after losing his first match of the weekend.

Leon Fuller won three matches at 170 pounds before getting ousted by Scappoose’s Isaiah Goodrich.

At 220 pounds, Gunnar Long won one of three matches, while Taran Hardwick won one of his three contests in the 113-pound division.

Travis Hardwick (138 pounds), Creed Smith (152 pounds) and Dylan Reece (heavyweight) all lost both of their matches.

For seniors Long, Smith and Fuller, this was their first time qualifying for the state tournament.

“It was really cool having our three seniors there,” Carson said.

The coach added that this season’s team, despite its youth, exceeded expectations in a way.

“The team got better quicker than we thought they would,” Carson said.

“They really came along this year and won some big tournaments.”

Carson thinks that will bode well for the future.

“It’s exciting. Next year we have a really good opportunity to go far,” he said.