Joseph Charter School hosted some championship wrestling on Feb. 2, but there wasn’t any strutting, blustering, ridiculous threats of violence or phony wrestling moves.
It was the district wrestling tournament, which determines the best of the best wrestlers and decides who goes on to compete at the state tournament in Portland in two weeks.
Joseph will send five wrestlers to state and Enterprise four. Joseph, with only seven wrestlers competing, placed second in the 10-team tournament with 131.5 points, a half-point ahead of Crane. John Day won the tournament with 214 points but had to bring 23 wrestlers to do it. Enterprise placed fourth with 130 points.
For Joseph, state champion Steven Beckman won at 106 pounds, as did Gus Ramsden at 145 and Austin Brockamp at 160. Zeb Ramsden placed second at 120, as did Cole Kiesecker at 220. Guylen Snyder and Jonah Staigle placed third at 152 and 182, respectively. The top two wrestlers in each class received the nod for state competition.
For Enterprise, Shane Lund picked up his 46th win of the year and first place at 120 pounds, as did teammate and reigning state champion at 126 Cole Farwell. Trace Evans also took first at 132. Dylan Staigle took second at 138, while Evan Jonson placed third at 132 as did Klint Norton at 285. Charlie Evans and Hafizh Al Farizi placed sixth at 138 and 182, respectively.
Lund, a three-time district champion in his junior year, said while competition was tough, last year’s competition was tougher.
“Furtado from Adrian was really tough. It took everything I had to keep up with him,” he said. Lund also gave credit to his finals competition, Joseph/Wallowa freshman Zeb Ramsden.
“Zeb Ramsden is a phenomenal wrestler,” he said. “Especially for a freshman. He’ll probably place at state.”
Lund said he would practice against teammate Cole Farwell to prepare for state.
“He beats me every day in practice and makes me get better,” Lund said with a laugh.
State champion Beckman, who won his second district title, said he felt more confident this year than the last.
“This year, I know what I’m capable of,” he said. “I’m more comfortable in bigger matches, and I hope it keeps going through the state championships.”
He added that he’ll prepare for state by getting to his optimum weight and training as hard as he can.
Although the Eagles’ Guylen Snyder didn’t qualify for state, his third-place win was a testament to perseverance. Snyder spent much of the match on the bottom end of an 8-3 score but started to mount a comeback late in the second round, narrowing the score to 8-5 at the start of the final round.
His opponent scored two points on a reversal, but Snyder, working steadily, narrowed the score to 10-8 before placing his opponent in a near-fall predicament and gaining an 11-10 victory in the final seconds of the match.
“We just keep preaching never give up,” Joseph/Wallowa coach Tim Kiesecker said. “It’s not over ‘till it’s over. It totally ruined that other kid’s day.”
Snyder commented, “You’ve got to draw on everything you have at the end. It’s all mind.”
Kiesecker was pleased with his team’s performance.
“Having it at home makes it nice,” he said. Kiesecker also offered thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors who helped put on the event. “Placing five of our six wrestlers who competed makes for a pretty good average.”
Kiesecker has plans to keep his team sharp over the next two weeks.
“It’s about perfecting what they already do,” he said. “I don’t try to change their skills this late in the season. It’s all about conditioning and keeping in top shape.”
Outlaws coach Troy Farwell said that this year saw his team bringing more wrestlers than the previous year.
“We did a little better as a team this year,” the coach said. “It was a good tournament, but I wish we’d have done just a little bit better team wise. They deserved a trophy –– they’ve worked hard all year.”
The coach said that practice will be different as he’s working with a smaller team both in numbers and size, which allows him to have more focused and concentrated practices.
“We’ll have two weeks to train until state, and it’s a long time to go without wrestling,” he said. “My team doesn’t know what it is to take a weekend off. We haven’t had one. Hopefully by the time we get down there the kids will be hungry to wrestle.”