After back-to-back second-place finishes at invitational tournaments, Sweet Home’s wrestling team finally came out on top Saturday.
The Huskies grabbed first place in the 42-team Grants Pass Winter Kickoff, scoring 250 points to beat Mountain View (202) and Dayton (130.5) in the two-day event.
“We’ve had three good weeks in a row,” Sweet Home coach Steve Thorpe said. “We found one we were looking for.”
The Huskies got titles from sophomore Tristan Spencer (126) and juniors Travis Thorpe (152) and Nich James (182). They also had two runners-up in junior Jackson Royer (138) and senior Boe Baxter (160).
“The reason we went down there was to see people we don’t typically get to see as much,” Steve Thorpe said. “We don’t get to see a lot of the 4A schools in southern Oregon, because we’re chasing a lot of the teams around the valley and north and east. It’s good to finish on top, but it’s all about the process for us, it’s not about getting a trophy.”
Travis Thorpe was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler. He pinned his way to the final, where he defeated previously unbeaten Mountain View sophomore Cannon Potts 12-9, improving his record to 12-2.
“It was a great finals match,” Steve Thorpe said of the win by his son, who was runner-up at the Perry Burlison Classic and the Rose City Championships in previous weeks.
James won 17-2 in the final over Ashland senior Trevor Fulton, who had not lost this season. James, coming off third- and fourth-place tournament finishes, raised his record to 14-3.
“He dominated his weight class,” Steve Thorpe said. “He wrestled with a lot more confidence, more high-paced. And he’s a lot better when he wrestles high-pace. So it was neat to see him make adjustments from last week.”
Spencer entered the tournament with a 5-6 record but went 4-0, defeating Sheldon’s Rudy Zambrano 21-4 in the final. Spencer is adjusting after wrestling at 106 as a freshman.
“He’s kind of taken some lumps, but man, he had a great weekend,” Steve Thorpe said. “He made some growth this week in that he wrestled a full match, and we’ve been struggling with that the last couple weeks. It’s been a while since he won a tournament, so we’re proud of him. I know he’s excited, and he’ll build of it.”
Mountain View also had three champions in junior Carson Fassett (160), senior Colton Burkhardt (170) and junior Blake Ohlson (195). Burkhardt and Ohlson remain unbeaten.
Dallas senior Jacob Jones, last season’s 5A champion at 145, won his third consecutive tournament to help the Dragons finish first in the 23-team Liberty Invitational on Saturday.
Jones, who won titles in the Perry Burlison Classic and Rose City Championships, pinned all five of his opponents to win the title at 160. He improved to 19-0 for the season by defeating Aloha sophomore Jackson Rosado in the final.
Dallas also got titles from sophomore Cael Morrison (113) and junior Jared Coxen (182). The Dragons scored 289 points to finish ahead of Sherwood (215.5), Thurston (199) and Tualatin (187).
Thurston finished on top out of the 33 teams at the Liberty Invitational. The Colts scored 283 points, well ahead of Hillsboro (143) and Hood River Valley (141).
Thurston’s champions were Callie Hallett (125), Nichole Stutesman (130), Hallie Smith (140), Lindsay Burrell (155) and Denise Binford (235).
Sweet Home finished runner-up to Eureka (Calif.), 150-139, among the 23 teams that scored in the Grants Pass Winter Kickoff. The Huskies, who got titles form Lexi Schilling (110) and Marissa Kurtz (120), had only eight wrestlers compared to 16 for Eureka.