Roseburg's Gage Singleton prepares to throw Everest Sutton of Crescent Valley in the 106-pound division.
Roseburg's Gage Singleton prepares to throw Everest Sutton of Crescent Valley in the 106-pound division.

Newberg, the top-ranked team in 6A; and 5A No. 1 Crescent Valley were 1-2 after the first day at the 20th Reser’s Tournament of Champions conducted at Liberty High School in Hillsboro. On Friday afternoon, the two-time reigning 6A champions put eight wrestlers into tomorrow finals. The three-time reigning 5A champions put six.

In a tournament massively scaled down due to Covid, the best teams had no trouble rising to the top.

Thurston, No. 2 in 5A, sits in third place after the first day and has three wrestlers competing for belts. Sprague also has three in the finals. Mountain View and Roseburg will be represented in the championship bouts by two wrestlers apiece. Sweet Home, La Pine, Redmond and West Linn will each have one.

The 106-pound division will feature two defending state champions, Gage Singleton of Roseburg and Kyle Sieminski of Sweet Home. Singleton upended 5A state champion Everest Sutton of Crescent Valley by fall in the second period in the first high school meeting of the two champions. Singleton led 4-0 at the time and turned a ride into a pinning move at 3:31.

“I was working to get my bar in,” Singleton explained. “The first round I couldn’t get to it. I just kept working. Finally he posted up where I could get the arm bar in. I was patient with it, it opened up and I got the half on the other side, got on top and did what I do.”

Sieminski dominated the first period against second-seeded Billy Jackson of Redmond. His 6-0 lead after one became 8-5 late in Round 3, before a 6-0 surge from Sieminski to finish produced a 14-5 final score in a bout that was much closer than that.

At 113 pounds, Newberg sophomore Isaac Hampton will take on Mountain View sophomore Scout Santos for the belt. Hampton, a returning state champion, used his extreme quickness to build a 10-0 lead on unseeded Mason Lacey of Crook County before pinning the Cowboy in Period 2. Santos was embroiled in a back-and-forth affair with Newberg’s Brandon Smith that turned on back-to-back reversals late in the second period. Santos took a 6-5 lead into the third and extended the lead to 9-5 before the hand came down for the pin with seven seconds remaining.

Two seniors, Brayden Boyd of Sprague and Ethan Ritchie of Newberg, are in the 120-pound final. The top-seeded Boyd got a takedown early on unseeded Eduardo Mattheus and never trailed in a workmanlike 9-2 win. Ritchie’s 11-6 win over Crook County’s Tucker Bonner was more closely contested. Ritchie put Bonner on his back early and led 6-1 after the first. Bonner recovered to pull within 8-5 and almost got the back points necessary to get all square. Ritchie was able to get a take down late to make the margin of victory much more comfortable.

Three-time state champion Gabe Whisenhunt of Crescent Valley was awfully impressive in making the final at 126 pounds. He immediately took down Anthony Comer of Scappoose and completed the pin just 31 seconds into the bout.

“I just wanted to get it over with quickly,” Whisenhunt said. We needed bonus points, he added about his pin, which he labeled a “double bulldog misdirection.”

Whisenhunt will face Mountain View junior Andrew Worthington tomorrow for the belt. Worthington jumped on defending 4A champion Jacob Sieminski to lead 6-2. After a scoreless second period, Sieminski reversed to pull within two with a minute to go, but could not come all the way back and lost by an 8-4 score.

Two-time defending state champion DJ Gillett was awfully impressive in his 132-pound semifinal versus Mountain View junior Drew Jones. Gillett had takedown after takedown until winning by tech, 20-5, in the third. Gillette will take on Roseburg’s Nash Singleton after the senior took down fellow senior Nicky Olmstead of Newberg in a marquee matchup between wrestlers with five state titles combined. Singleton led 5-0 when Olmstead got the takedown with a minute to go in the third, but could not turn Singleton in the 5-3 decision.

At 138 pounds, top-seeded Kolton Malone of Thurston put Wyatt Wood of Crook County on his back early in the second and pinned. Malone will take on senior Dylan Mann of La Pine, a state champion and two-time state runner up. Mann pinned West Linn sophomore Charlie Spinning just before the second period ended, in a match delayed several minutes by blood and a pesky blood blotter that could not be extracted from Spinning’s nose.  The blood time out came with Mann leading 3-0 midway through the second. Spinning made a spirited attempt at a takedown out of the time out, but Mann countered and eventually found his way to the fall.

Three-time state champion Ayden Garver reached the final by pinning Crater’s Matthew Bolanos at 145 pounds. The Newberg senior led just 2-0 after one, but reversed to start the second period, put Bolanos on his back and finished with a flourish three minutes into the match. Garver will meet Junior Downing of Redmond after the senior edged junior Josh Camillo of Sprague in the most exciting match of the semifinal round. The match was tied in Round 3, with each wrestler vying to get the go-ahead takedown. Both had a leg for the longest time before Downing completed the takedown with six seconds left for the 5-3 win.

At 152 pounds, Newberg’s Charlie Evans, a two-time state champion, won an intense battle with Redmond junior Dylan Lee. The final score was 7-2, but only 4-2 heading to the third in a bout that was closer than the final score. Evans will take on Thurston senior Hunter Harwood, who pinned Varrius Scanlan of Redmond with no time left on the clock in Period 2.    

Top-seeded Daschle Lamer of Crescent Valley, a two-time state champion wowed in overwhelming Benjamin Rintoul of Scappoose to reach the final at 160 pounds. Lamer got an immediate takedown to set the tone then used an arm bar to put Rintoul on his back in an impressive first-round fall. Price Poithier of Newberg won the other semifinal over teammate Cougar Friesen, a match whose 3-1 score was indicative of two friends and practice partners wrestling one another.

Two first-round pins highlighted the 170-pound semifinals. Newberg’s Gavin Korkeakoski and West Linn’s Justin Rademacher both win about 100 seconds in and seconds apart in a division where the top seed, Riley Davis of Sprague, forfeited his first match.

Crescent Valley senior James Rowley, a three-time state champion, impressed in a first-round pin of Newberg senior Kyle Kelley at 182. On the other side of the bracket, the rhyme-time semifinal between Dredan Myers of Grants Pass and Brook Byers of Sprague went to the second-seeded Byers, who led 6-1 before recording the fall 93 seconds in.

Both 195 bouts ended in pins. Two-time state champion Hayden Walters of Crescent Valley was meticulous in his win over West Linn football star Earl Ingle. Newberg junior Hudson Davis won the other semifinal in 61 seconds over Elliott Smith of Mountain View.

Chiseled Thurston junior Vaun Halstead had no trouble with Sweet Home senior Colby Gazeley in advancing to the 220-pound final via first-round fall. The second semifinal saw Crescent Valley Jayden Cobb take a 2-0 lead in the second period after a scoreless first. Newberg’s Hayden Hampton tied the match late in the second, then went ahead, 3-2, on an illegal hold call before winning 4-2.

Both heavyweight bouts ended in pins. Top-seeded Riley Godek, a state champion from Crescent Valley, led by just one after one period over Thurston senior Keannan Bowditch. The lead grew to 6-2 after two before the fall completed the match 30-odd seconds into the third. Godek will meet Sprague junior Cole Steketee. Steketee broke open a match that was scoreless after one with a takedown of Culver junior Wylie Johnson early in the second and, eventually, a pin two seconds before the conclusion of the second round.

Spectators were barred from attending the tournament’s early rounds today, but were permitted for the semifinals and also will be admitted for the placing matches tomorrow, which begin at 2 p.m.