The La Grande wrestling team went 3-2 in dual matchups at the Best of the West Friday in Pasco, Washington, picking up wins over Sandpoint, Idaho; Union, Washington; and Hermiston along the way.
The Tigers had no problem with Sandpoint, picking up a 58-21 victory. Seven of the Tigers won by fall: Ryan Stubblefield (113 pounds), Alex Kehr (120), Grayson Livingston (152), Hayden Shafer (160), Elijah Livingston (182), Chris Woodworth (195) and Spencer Gerst (220). Ezra McIntosh (126) added a major decision
The Tigers then dropped a close dual to Camas, Washington, 36-35. Winning for the Tigers by fall were Braxton Bisenius (113), Elijah Livingston and Gerst. Shafer had a major decision, and both Kehr and McIntosh won by decision.
“The duals on Friday, we were so close. That’s the team (Camas) that beat us at Tri-State,” La Grande head coach Klel Carson said, referring to the fact that Camas edged La Grande in the small school title at the Tri-State tournament.
La Grande dominated throughout in a dual win over Union, 45-30. Kehr, Shafer, Elijah Livingston and Woodworth all won by fall. Cole Isaacson (132) and Austin Palmer (145) picked up major decision victories, and McIntosh won by decision.
The only other dual loss for La Grande came against North Central, Washington, 37-33. Elijah Livingston and Woodworth had pins in the match, and McIntosh had the only other win on the mat with a decision. The Tigers added three wins by forfeit.
La Grande added to a mix a close 42-39 win over Hermiston, the first win over Hermiston for La Grande in several years according to Carson.
“We haven’t beat Hermiston in...it’s been years and years,” he said. “That dual was a lot of fun.”
Isaacson, Keith Oswald (138), Elijah Livingston, Gerst, Kehr and McIntosh all had victories by fall. Carson said the final two pins — by Kehr and McIntosh — were the ones that put the team over top to end the dual. La Grande trailed 39-30 before those victories.
“That was pretty cool for the kids to see tha thar work paying off,” he said.
Tigers take 11th in bracket wrestling
La Grande scored 62 points to take 11th bracket wrestling in Day 2 of the Best of the West.
The Tigers saw three wrestlers place in the tournament. Elijah Livingston reached the finals at 182, including a victory by fall over Dylan Goodpaster of Evergreen, Washington, in the quarterfinals and a 6-0 decision over Newberg’s Kadyn Lauer in the semifinals.
In the finals, he fell to Flathead, Montana’s Tucker Nadeau by 15-3 major decision.
Isaacson placed seventh at 126. He reached the quarterfinals, then dropped two straight matches before taking the seventh-place match by injury default over Newberg’s Diego Salinas.
Gerst had a similar fate as Isaacson, taking seventh at 220. He dropped a pair of close decisions after reaching the quarterfinals, but in the seventh-place match picked up a pin over Walla Walla’s Isaac Melton.
Enterprise and Elgin also took wrestlers to the bracket round. The Outlaws placed 23rd with 36 points and the Huskies were 27th with 17.
Cole Farwell was the top placer for Enterprise, reaching the semifinals before taking fourth at 132. Farwell had two pins, including over Washougal’s Scott Lees in the quarterfinals, then was pinned by North Central’s Clayton Gilliam in the semifinals. He ended by dropping a close third-place match to Camas’ Jack Latimer by 2-1 decision.
Shane Lund took fifth at 120 for Enterprise. Lund dropped a close quarterfinal match to Union, Washington’s Aaron Avery by 6-5 decision, but won both his consolation matches, including the fifth-place match over Union’s Brandon Esperto by fall.
Dohnovan Tate was the lone scorer for Elgin, taking fourth place. Tate reached the semifinals by topping Caldwell’s Elijah Becker by fall. In the semifinals, he fell to Camas’ Samuel Malychewski by fall, and dropped the third-place match, also by fall, to Deer Park, Washington’s Hunter Lelifeld.