PORTLAND – Tanner Earhart already had pretty much every other accomplishment in high school sports he could have wanted.
The Dallas High School senior was an all-state outfielder in baseball, the state offensive player of the year in football, but there was something that eluded him all these years.
He clicked that one off Saturday night.
Earhart won a tough-fought 7-6 decision against Pendleton’s Morgan Holcomb in the 160 pound championship match at Memorial Coliseum to win the state championship that had been eluding him so long.
“It feels amazing,” Earhart said. “Fifteen years of wrestling from when I was little, little wrestling and it finally, finally pays off.”
He lost a heartbreaking decision in the championship match a year ago, and that taught him some lessons he applied Saturday.
Earhart started strong against Holcomb and had a 5-1 lead mid-way through the second period.
“I wasn’t going to lose this one,” Earhart said. “This was the one I was going to get.”
Holcomb came back in the final period to close the score to 5-4 on an early escape in the third period and after Earhart scored on a takedown, Holcomb scored a reversal with 20 seconds left to close the score to 7-6.
But Earhart was determined that this time he was going to finally win the state championship.
“I just gave it everything I had, but that’s all I did,” Earhart said. “I just want to thank my brother and my coaches and my dad and my family.”
Earhart’s brother, Treve, lost a 3-2 decision to Buddy Parrish of Redmond in the 195 pound championship match and senior Clay Coxen lost a 14-4 major decision to Lebanon’s Tanner Sallee in the 182 pound title match.
Dallas placed second in the team race with 147.5 points behind state champion Crater’s 175.5.
It was the sixth year in a row that Dallas placed at the state tournament.
“I’m happy and this team, I’m proud of them because we had three seniors and just a bunch of scrappers,” Dallas coach Tony Olliff said. “All 12 of the kids we brought contributed.”
Silverton freshman Kaden Kuenzi wasn’t highly regarded coming into the state wrestling tournament, but he pinned Redmond sophomore Landon Robinson in 2:56 to win the 5A state championship at 106 pounds.
Kuenzi took down Robinson seconds into the match, let him up, took him down again, turned him for a near fall and had a huge 7-1 point lead.
The No. 4 seed for the tournament understood the immediacy of the situation.
“In my head I want to go out there and put points on the board and whatever happens at the end happens,” Kuenzi said. “I just knew if I put pressure on him I’m going to break him.”
Kuenzi understood the significance of his accomplishment.
He became the second wrestler from Silverton to win a state championship in as many years and the first freshman from the school to win a state championship in decades.
“Grinding out practices every day, just wanting to be the best in the state, working out with my great partner Jacob Whitehead, he really pushed me and so did my coaches to get to where I am now,” Kuenzi said.
Whitehead, a junior, lost a 10-0 major decision to Mountain View’s Beau Olsen in the 113 pound final.
Central senior David Negrete defeated Thurston senior Jackson Casteel by a 4-2 decision in the 5A 220 pound state championship match.
Negrete was the No. 1 seed for the tournament after placing fourth last year, but he displayed his true potential by holding off a formidable opponent.
“I showed all my coaches that I could finish everything that I do without giving up and do my best on the mat,” Negrete said.
Also placing for Silverton was Robert Guenther (sixth at 120). And Madison Shockley placed third at girls exhibition 113 pound class.
Placing for Dallas were Ryan Bibler (fourth at 106), Dawson Barcroft (fifth at 113), Jacob Jones (third at 126), Joseph Foster (sixth at 126) and Joseph English (sixth at 138).
For Central, Noah Worthington (sixth at 106), Sam Crow (fourth at 195) and Caleb Sedlacek (sixth at 285).
For Woodburn, Giovanni Bravo placed fourth at 138, Rafael Vasquez placed fourth at 145 and Karson Christiansen placed third at 170.