Sprague continues to reign as a high school wrestling power.
The third-ranked Olympians won the Greater Valley Conference District Championship in dominant fashion Saturday at West Salem High School.
In capturing a fifth consecutive conference crown, Sprague tied a school record by qualifying 18 wrestlers to compete in the OSAA Class 6A State Championships on Feb. 24-25 at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum.
The top four placers in all 14 weight classes advance to the state tournament.
“Wrestling’s a sport where you recognize the individual aspect of it, but you fail to recognize sometimes that a tough team has a lot of tough individuals,” Sprague coach Nolan Harris said. “They feed off each other and we pride ourselves on being committed to the team.”
Sprague won the two-day tournament with 483 points, followed by West Albany (244.5), North Salem (177.0), Forest Grove (173.5), McMinnville (172.5), West Salem (170.0), McNary (169.0), South Salem (97.5) and McKay (90.0).
In the championship finals, junior Bollong Joklur got the Olympians off to a good start with a 9-6 victory over No. 2 seed Luke Ferschweiler of West Salem in the 106-pound division.
Also earning district championships for the Olympians were sophomore Daniel McClung (126), junior Michael Murphy (138), sophomore Landon Davis (152), senior Spencer Nofziger (170), freshman Santos Cantu III (195) and senior Tanner Sorensen (220). Nofziger and Cantu III won by default over teammates in the finals.
“We take momentum to state and we’re gonna compete as hard as we can,” said McClung, who was third at state last year at 113. “It’s such a fun team to compete on. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Sprague placed ninth at state last season. Roseburg is the defending state champion.
A wrestler to watch at state is North Salem sophomore Ian Carlos (145), who posted a 13-2 decision over McMinnville junior Michael Abeyta. Carlos, who was state runner-up at 126 last year, is unbeaten this season at 30-0 and was named GVC Wrestler of the Year in a vote of league coaches.
“I definitely feel like I’m gonna dominate the state tournament,” Carlos said.
Senior Brandon Quezeda (113) and junior Jorge Ochoa (182) also won district crowns for the Vikings. Quezeda won by fall over senior teammate Josh Urbina.
“We go back and forth in practice all the time. It could have went either way,” Quezeda said. “It just happened to be my turn this time.
Also coming through with a district championship among Mid-Valley wrestlers was McNary sophomore Enrique Vincent (120), who won by an 11-5 decision over West Albany’s Wyatt French.
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