David Douglas’ Andrew Cha (black) defeated Cleveland’s Anteneh Demissie for the 106 pound title.
Fourteen wrestlers walked away with individual state champion medals on Saturday at the OSAA 6A state wrestling championships on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Our high school sports champion, Nate Hanson, chatted with some of the local winners to get their thoughts on the matches and being a state champion.
Anthony Cha, David Douglas, 106 pounds
Cha was tied with Cleveland’s Anteneh Demissie at 7-7 before pulling out the final three points to win 10-7.
“I brought my A game,” he said. “I just attacked, attacked.”
Cha, just a freshman, had heard doubters all year saying he couldn’t win because of his age and inexperience. He used the criticism as fuel to prove the doubters wrong.
“I just felt the motivation on the mat and proved it,” Cha said.
Kyle Beal, David Douglas, 113 pounds
Beal defeated McMinnville’s Aspen Nelson by fall in 2:50 to become the second David Douglas freshman to win a state championship Saturday night.
“I felt like I had to carry some of the magic from that match,” he said.
Beal didn’t envision being a state champion when the season began in November. He just wanted to figure out where he stood within the team.
“I didn’t have any huge achievements,” Beal said. “As the season progressed, I knew I was capable of doing things.”
Nate Johnson, Glencoe, 126 pounds
Johnson defeated Forest Grove’s Matthew Johnson by fall in 4:57.
“I did dream about it a lot,” Johnson said of winning a state championship. “It’s just a product of a lot of hard work I’ve put in. The match we had was a great match.”
Brennan Baccay, Century, 132 pounds
Baccay defeated Westview’s David Escobar by fall in 3:50. Baccay beat Escobar by just one point during the Metro League district tournament. He picked up on an adjustment he could make if he faced Escobar again.
“Not shooting straight on,” Baccay said he had to avoid. “He’s like a brick wall.”
Saturday’s victory was Baccay’s second state championship, making him the first Jaguar to claim that achievement. He won the 126 pound division last year.
“It’s really humbling, ” he said. “It’s way more exciting to do it two times instead of one.”
Chandler Michael, Barlow, 145 pounds
Barlow’s Chandler Michael trailed 4-3 against Sunset’s Spencer Stokes before pulling out two points in the final 15 seconds to take home the state championship.
The situation reminded Michael of a mistake he made last year when he was a runner-up.
“Last year I was down by a point with about 30 seconds left, and I shot a bad shot and got taken down,” he said. “That went through my mind at the beginning. I was like I’m not going to take a shot like that again.”
Michael ended up making the shot needed to change his fortune this year.
“It’s hard to explain,” Michael said of the feeling of being a state champion. “I’ve been dreaming about this since I started when I was five years old. It’s just unbelievable.”
Colby Winnett, Gresham, 160 pounds
Winnett defeated North Salem’s Cameron Harris by a 5-3 decision to repeat as the 160 pound champion and complete his 38-0 undefeated season.
“It means the world to me,” Winnett said. “It’s what I’ve been working towards. I worked hard and I got it.”
In a low scoring match, Winnett attributed his defense to the victory.
“My leg defense,” he said was the difference. “I knew he was going to go for the legs. I tried to defend it.”
Kincaid Crile, Sunset, 220 pounds
Crile defeated Sheldon’s Andru Johnson by fall in 1:23. The pin came out of nowhere as each wrestler appeared to be trying to figure out what the other was going to do.
“A common 220 thing is to hand-fight a little bit,” Crile said. “Lately I’ve been letting people think that’s what I want to do, then take a shot.”
That shot resulted in a quick take down, then ultimately the pin. The attack was a new development in Crile’s game that allowed him to make the jump to state champion.
“I started to win matches a little more decisively throughout the year when I was more offensive,” he said. “I would just work shots on whoever I was against, and eventually I got good enough to do it at the state tournament.”
Osa Odighizuwa, David Douglas, 285
Odighizuwa defeated Aloha’s Cortez Rodelo by fall in 2:49 to win his second state championship after winning the 220 pound division last year as a sophomore.
“The second time, it’s the best feeling in the world,” Odighizuwa said.
The win also completed Odighizuwa’s perfect season at 45-0. He went undefeated last year as well and has never loss a match in his high school career.
“Stay humble and hungry,” he said is the secret to his success. “Keep working because some guys win a state championships and think ‘I don’t have to work. I can just slack.’ I want to work hard. I want to work to get better.”
Odighizuwa is ranked No. 11 in the country in the 285 pound division according to InterMat wrestling.