PORTLAND – Two prodigies from different sides of town won stunning state championships Saturday.
North Salem sophomore Ian Carlos held on to win the 6A 145 pound state championship and Sprague freshman Santos Cantu III got a surprise in winning the 6A 195 pound state championship at the Memorial Coliseum.
For Carlos, it completed a clean sweep of the season that started a year before when he lost in the state championship match.
“Ian I think learned from that,” North Salem coach Andy Pickett said. “And that loss I think really helped us because he came back and made it his goal to go undefeated this year and win a state championship, and he accomplished that tonight.”
Carlos faced McMinnville junior Michael Abeyta in a rematch of the district finals from a week before.
But this time it was close.
He led throughout and was up 5-1 in the third and final round, but Abeyta scored a takedown to cut the lead to 5-4 with just under a minute left and left both wrestlers scrambling.
Carlos managed to score a reversal with 15 seconds left for a 7-4 decision to win the state title.
“I just tried to stay as calm as possible,” Carlos said. “I didn’t want to let myself panic. I was almost on my back. I was. I stayed calm and just kept moving. I didn’t let him break me, I guess.”
Of all of Sprague’s 18 wrestlers at the state tournament, though, Cantu was not the one most expected to win a state championship.
At the 195 pound weight class, he was a decided underdog against Roseburg senior Cameron Campbell going into the finals, having lost to him at the Oregon Wrestling Classic.
Cantu and Campbell were tied at 2 to start the final period, but Campbell elected to give Cantu a point and having both of them start on their feet.
Late in the final period Cantu scored a takedown to clinch the 5-3 decision and the state champion.
“It means so, so much to me,” Cantu said. “Being able to wrestle how I did this weekend, and with my teammates supporting me and being by my side, my dad making sure I was okay whenever I needed something.
“I just believed in myself and the Lord to just help me through this two days and just wrestle my hardest no matter what happened.”
Sprague’s placing of second equals the team’s best state meet finish, that coming in 2011.
“We had 18 wrestlers here, 17 of them scored, nine of them placed, five are returning,” second-year Sprague coach Nolan Harris said.
“It matches Sprague’s best finish in school history, and I think it’s a testament to the community, the senior class, their leadership, their parents, how they were raised. It’s a testament to (former coach) Kary Hadden and the culture that he has created at Sprague High School and in the community to be a wrestling community and to expect success.”
Sprague sophomore Daniel McClung lost a heartbreaking 7-4 decision to Lakeridge’s Quinn Brink in the 6A 120 pound state championship match.
McClung, the No. 1 seed in the bracket, took Brink down in the opening seconds of the match and scored a quick near fall, but Brink came back with a reversal and scored a takedown in the second period to win.
Also placing for Sprague were Bollong Joklur (fourth at 106), Evan Spragg (fourth at 126), Michael Murphy (third at 138), Landon Davis (sixth at 152), Dane McKinney (fifth at 160), Spencer Nofziger (sixth at 170) and Tanner Sorensen (fifth at 220).
West Salem’s Luke Ferschweiler placed fifth at 106 and Brenton Reddy was fifth at 182. North Salem’s Brandon Quezada was third at 113. McNary’s Enrique Vincent was third at 120.
South Salem senior Abigail Whitney placed second in the exhibition girls 132 pound weight class, losing to Central Linn’s Sarah Conner by a pin in 5:02.