If any freshman came into the state wrestling meet prepared to win a state championship, it is Jared Henry.
The freshman from Dayton High School came into the OSAA Class 3A state wrestling tournament with not only a wealth of experience wrestling as a youth in national tournaments, but as the son of Dayton coach Rob Henry has spent more time at the state tournament than some coaches.
He was calm and poised in his time on the mats at the Memorial Coliseum Friday and didn’t let the environment affect him.
“This is why I go to big tournaments like Reno and Nationals to get this experience,” Henry said. “Then it wasn’t just to do good it was to get the experience what it is to do and what I need to do to be here.”
After the first day of the tournament, Dayton is fourth with 61 points, trailing Vale’s 73.
The No. 2 seed in the 138 pound weight class, Henry pinned Nyssa’s Gabe Alton in 5:29 in the first round then pinned Wyatt Yates of Coquille in 4:33 in the second round.
Henry will face No. 3 seeded Trevor Lefebvre of Rainier in the semifinal round that starts at 9:45 a.m. Saturday.
“I know second days are tougher, not just because of tougher matches, but also because of the pressure of being the second day and having to make weight again,” Henry said. “It’s always tough.”
Also advancing to the semifinals for Dayton were David Cervantes (113) and Micah Cisneros (145).
Gervais junior Nikita Kalugin guaranteed himself of accomplishing one goal Friday.
With a pin of Vale’s Fernando Paz in 51 seconds in his only match of the day, the No. 3 seed at 152 pounds guaranteed that he will place at the state tournament for the first time in his third appearance at the tournament.
But his quick win also guarantees that he’ll be fully rested for today’s semifinal round, a rematch against unseeded Alex Holland of Glide.
“I have wrestled him before,” Kalugin said. “He should be a really good match. I lost last time. I was winning, I think it was 5-3, and got tossed on my back. It should be a good rematch. I’m very ready, I’m excited.”
Also for Gervais, Ricky Diaz advanced to today’s semifinals.
There is no more well-known wrestler in the 3A tournament than Justin Acuff, a junior from Sheridan.
A two-time state champion, the No. 1 seed at 132 pounds pinned Scio’s Austin Zeiher in 1:49 in his only match Friday.
“I just want to make a statement and now I’m going to go cut some more weight,” Acuff said.
Acuff was dominant Friday, but he was looking ahead to the championship match. He figures he’ll wrestle Willamina senior Coty Brown, who pinned No. 2 seed Parker Whitsett of Warrenton in Friday’s quarterfinals.
“I grew up with him,” Acuff said. “We always went to mat club together.
“Not something I really want to do, but if I have to I will.”
Willamina’s Michael Reyes, Skyler Voigt and Austin Howard all advanced to today’s semifinals.
Class 2A: Santiam was a surprising fourth place after the first day of the tournament, scoring 16 points and trailing leading Culver by 16 points.
All four Santiam wrestlers – Robin Aarcher (120), Cody Quinton (182), Killian Gregg (220) and Jose Eugenio (285) – won their first round matches and move on to today’s semifinals.
Girls competition: North Salem’s Kiera Gabaldon (126 pounds) and Angie Sletten of Dallas (113) both lost in the quarterfinals Friday and will wrestle in third-place matches today.