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home : sports & recreation : sports & recreation June 24, 2016

3/25/2014 1:53:00 PM
Middle school wrestlers complete season
The SMS wrestling squad had a fine season. photo provided
+ click to enlarge
The SMS wrestling squad had a fine season. photo provided

Twenty-five middle school wrestlers signed up to compete this year, and most completed the rigorous nine-week season. Most of the boys were new to the sport, and although they didn't win many matches they developed skills that will hold them in good stead over the next couple of years.

Seven wrestlers led the Outlaws to a successful year. All seven placed in the recent Central Oregon Middle School Championships. Colby Parsons was the team's top placer, who took second in the 75-pound classification. Parsons pinned two opponents in the first period to earn a spot in the finals. Colby lost in the finals to Hunter Mode of Crook County.

Coach Jeff Smith said, "Colby is one of our most skilled wrestlers. He combines those skills with great intensity. He'll be a huge leader for our team over the next couple of years."

Sixth-grader Dylan Vantress (65 pounds), scored a fourth-place finish for the Outlaws. Brady Wessels earned a fifth-place finish by pinning a Pilot Butte wrestler in 14 seconds. Two wrestlers placed sixth: Damien Wills (120 pounds), and Jake Stevens (125 pounds).

Smith said, "Jake was clearly our warrior in the tournament. He had eight matches in less than 24 hours. Jake is real intense and goes right after people. This is his first year wrestling, so he can be really successful in the future if he keeps getting more skills."

Gabe Patton took seventh at 135 pounds and Cole Pade finished eighth at 105 pounds.

The Outlaws followed the District Tournament with the State Qualifier Meet in Bend. In addition to the Central Oregon schools, several schools from the Willamette Valley were also entered in the tournament.

Brady Wessel (195 pounds) finished third and was the lone Outlaw to qualify for the state tournament. In the tourney, Wessel wrestled two matches against Brandt Waller of High Desert Middle School, who had defeated Brady earlier in the season. In this meet, Wessel won both matches, each by one point, with the deciding points scored in the final period.

Wessel went on to have a very successful day at the state tournament, which was held in Woodburn. The tourney draws the top 16 middle-schoolers from across the state, and medals are only given to the top six wrestlers. Brady did not earn a medal, but his great performance put him in the top eight.

"Brady learned that he can compete with the best kids in the state," said Smith. "Every wrestler here has earned the right to compete through one of the four qualifying meets throughout the state. Every match is tough."

Smith told The Nugget that wrestling is especially hard for the sixth-graders because they have to compete against guys with more maturity and experience.

"I'm not sure Brady Wessel won a match as a sixth grader, but he ends up amongst the top eight in the state two years later. The future is bright for the younger guys."

The Outlaws' roster for the season also included Garrett Reid, Austin Pade, Cole Seymour, Eli Gurney, Steen Braun, Andrew Bates, Sal Gibney, Sam Mitchell, Chayse Head, Ethan Morgan, Chayce Sprout, Julia Collins-Burke, Ethan Martin, Hunter Jones and Casey Warburton.

At the Outlaws' wrestling celebration Steen Braun was awarded the Most Improved Wrestler, and Rookie of the Year went to Jake Stevens. The Most Valuable Wrestlers were Colby Parsons and Brady Wessel. The Captain's Leadership Award was shared by Cole Pade and Brady Wessel.

Smith wished to extend thanks to Tom Harris and Randy Robinson who assisted him throughout the season.

"These guys are responsible for our growth throughout the season," said Smith. "They contributed in so many ways. Most of all, they bought into the notion that ultimately we were about creating better citizens, not just successful wrestlers."

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