We’re back! Another year of comprehensive wrestling coverage, from La Grande to Grants Pass, Mountain View to Tillamook and all places in between.
Every school, every classification, boys and girls.
If there’s something worth writing about, we stand ready to write about it!
Does this sound familiar? I wrote the same thing a year ago!
We start by looking back at last year and then focus on the coming season with previews from 58 programs that returned pre-season forms to us.
Reigning team state champions
6A – West Linn
5A – Redmond
4A – La Grande
3A – La Pine
2A/1A – Illinois Valley
Non-senior Individual state champions in 2023
106 – Max Blanco, McNary
113 – Jeremiah Wachsmuth, Clackamas
120 – Isaac Hampton, Newberg
126 – Oscar Doces, West Linn
132 – Zachary Keionen, Newberg
138 – Owen Hull, Grants Pass
145 – Charles Spinning, West Linn
152 – Henry Dillingham, West Linn
106 – Kanoe Kelly, Thurston
113 – Elijah Bayne, Crater
120 – Scout Santos, Mountain View
160 – Jackson Potts, Mountain View
182 – Preston Echevarria, Hillsboro
106 – Bryce Haltiner, Tillamook
113 – Kyle Sieminski, Sweet Home
120 – Dylan Clark, Henley
126 – Kai Carson, a Grande
152 – Gavin Sandoval, Crook County
285 – Matthew Evans, Astoria
106 – Carter Dawson. Glide
113 – Luke Cheek, Harrisburg
120 – Canon Winn, Burns
126 – Kale Cornell, Burns
132 – Landyn Philpott, La Pine
138 – Devon Kerr, La Pine
145 – Brody Buzzard, Harrisburg
160 – Tag Deluca, La Pine
170 – Easton Kemper, Burns
220 – Mishael Mauck, Banks
285 – Brett Highburger, Elmira
106 – Mike Miller, Illinois Valley
113 – Micah Martinho, Illinois valley
120 – Harley Hardison, Lowell
126 – Taylor Parsons, Grant Union / Prairie City
132 – Logan Gerding, Toledo
152 – Ryan Griffin, Illinois Valley
170 – Thomas Bischoff, Regis
195 – Ash Blomstrom, Toledo
220 – Logan Clayburn, Myrtle Point
Reigning team state champions
6A/5A – North Medford
4A/3A/2A/1A – La Pine
Non-senior Individual state champions in 2023
100 – Skyler Hall, North Medford
105 – Polly Olliff, Dallas
120 – Mariko Sonis, North Salem
125 – Kailea Takahashi, Forest Grove
140 – MacKenzie Shearon, Redmond
145 – Reese Lawson, West Salem
170 – Jasmine Brown, Wilsonville
190 – Ali Martinez, McNary
100 – Vanessa Keller, Oakridge
110 – Macali Lade, Siuslaw
115 – Allison Palluck, Cottage Grove
120 – MaKenna Duran, Crook County
125 – Bailey Chafin, Sweet Home
135 – Sariah Zepeda
140 – Ava Collins, Vale
145 – Jessica Williams, Vale
170 – Oakley Anderson, Baker / Powder Valley
190 – Mallory Lusco, Grant Union / Prairie City
235 – Brianna Meek, North Valley
All-time state championships
14 – Lowell
13 – Nyssa, Newberg, Culver
12 – Roseburg, Burns
1 – Forest Grove, La Pine, Thurston, Hood River Valley, North Medford
Current state championship streaks
3 – La Grande
Three-time state champions
Isaac Hampton, Newberg
Mike Miller, Illinois Valley
Kylie Sieminski. Sweet Home
100 or more career wins
114 -- Kylie Sieminski. Sweet Home
105 -- Isaac Hampton, Newberg
103 – Jackson Potts, Mountain View
100 – Nephi Heakin, Harrisburg
Two weeks ago, we asked coaches to complete forms to share information about their teams for the coming season. Here are some previews we received back. Coaches may continue to submit information by filling out forms at these links:
Boys wrestling -- https://osaa.wufoo.com/forms/z1ua9vx31xgfs2w/
Girls wrestling -- https://osaa.wufoo.com/forms/z1igdjyj19orkvs/
West Linn stunned the state by outpointing heavily-favored Newberg for the 6A title in February in Kevin Keeney’s first year as head coach. Keeney, who heads the All-Phase Wrestling Club, recognizes that the Lions have been better known recently for success in football, basketball and baseball, but he has big dreams, including keeping West Linn on the wrestling map, having the sport covered by the mainstream media and seeing the University of Oregon establish wrestling as a varsity sport for both men and women. West Linn graduated a strong group from last year’s championship team, including Justin Rademacher, a multi-year state placer and 2023 state champion currently starting for Oregon State at 197. Three other state champions, Charles Spinning, Henry Dillingham and Oscar Dolces, lead an experienced returning group that should benefit from freshmen Max Bell (106) and Mason Carnrite (150). Bell is the younger brother of former state champion Ricky Bell, a junior currently wrestling at Oregon State.
A tremendous senior class will be looking to take Newberg back to the top of the podium after the Tigers’ two-year run atop 6A was stopped by West Linn last year. Multi-time state champions Isaac Hampton and Zach Keinonen are part of a senior class of eight that put seven at the state tournament last February. Sophomore Gavin Rangel and junior Gus Amerson also are impact returnees for coach Neil Russo, whose squad should be dominant at the light and middle weights. There also are a number of ninth graders battling to get into the lineup.
Sprague’s rich history in wrestling includes 11 straight conference championships and second-place finish in 2022 in 6A with a school-record five individual state champions. Last year was a year of adversity for the Olympians, who nevertheless managed an 11th place finish at state, but coach A.J. Antillon expects his team to contend for a state trophy in 2024. Three impact wrestlers have graduated, including 2022 heavyweight champion Cole Steketee; but the team returns several All-Conference wrestlers with experience. The returnees include senior Andrew Cerney, who was third last year at 132 pounds; as well as conference champions Kenya Johnson and Sullivan Puckett. Sprague has a deep roster of newcomers, which makes the Olympians deep enough to compete favorably with most teams in the state.
Forest Grove registered a top 20 finish at state in 6A a year ago and brings back its top wrestlers, including state placers Warren Cook and Carter Bennett. All are underclassmen. Add five experienced freshmen, including expected state contender Archie DeLaRosa at 113 pounds, and it’s easy to see why coach Guy Takahashi is excited to see the progress his Vikings make throughout the season.
Cleveland asserted its dominance in the PIL by winning again last season, a streak that has extended for a dozen or so years. The Warriors will push for a top 10 state finish this season behind state qualifiers Max Colpus, Teagan Paxton and Conner Smeller and incoming freshmen Curran Smeller and Stewart Bromwell.
Franklin had just two seniors last year (though one was City champion Abram Redlock) and will rely on a deep junior class, led by Dane Hartmann (fifth at state at 182), to contend for the PIL title. Others to watch include seniors Eliyo Clark and Daniel Lezcano, junior Bruno Geistler and sophomore Santiago Tengen on a deep and committed team expecting to take a big step forward this season.
North Medford did not graduate any top wrestlers from a rapidly-improving Black Tornado squad that had five state qualifiers a year ago, including sixth-place finisher Heston Likens. The team has strength at the middle and upper weights and could be a top 10 6A finisher in February.
Grant graduated two-time state placer Kai Tsugawa. The Generals expect to be in the mix for the PIL title behind senior heavyweight Benson Deibele and junior Olin Waxler.
Redmond won its first state title in 64 years last February, topping Thurston by seven points to win 5A. The Panthers placed nine on the state podium last year and return seven, including second-place finishers Ryder Lee (120), Billy Jackson (126) and Ashton Fields (285). There is quality throughout the lineup, as 17 wrestlers with experience return. Redmond also welcomes freshman Brock Williams and Kash Davis, who are expected to make huge impacts at the lighter weights. “We have an expectation of repeating as state champions this year,” said coach Kris Davis. “With the returners we have and the newcomers coming in. we feel that we are the team to beat in 5A.”
Thurston came in second in 5A last year. The Colts graduated two state champions and two runners up, but they are as talented as they are young. Returning state champion KJ Kelly (106) and second-place finishers Jaden Ellis, Colton Annis and Holton Haulstead will anchor this team, which also welcomes three deeply talented freshmen who could make the state podium in their first varsity campaigns.
Canby won its conference for the third straight year in 2023 and placed 18 wrestlers at the 5A state tournament, where the Cougars finished eighth. Six seniors graduated and should impact Canby in the middle weights, but the team has many strong returners, including Tyler Konold (215), who was second at 195; and junior Jackson Doman, who finished sixth at 182. The team also welcomes an exciting group of freshmen, including cousins Will Doman (132), Carson Doman (138) and Sam Doman (144/152).
Hood River Valley placed inside the top 20 at 5A last year as a young team and is up and coming according to coach Tony Rolen. The Eagles graduated two-time state placer Connor Farlow, but return everyone else. The dedication of the wrestlers in this growing program should make HRV competitive in most duals and meets this year.
Rex Putnam has not been competitive as a team in a very long time, says head coach John Telesmanich, in his 33rd year at the school. The Kingsmen did have Kaison Clay, who placed fifth at 160 last year, but he has since graduated. For Putnam to compete in 5A, it will need to have big years from juniors Jesse Hernandez, Isaac Marin-Ramirez and Nakodah St. Germaine, as well as “varsity ready” freshman Dean Kost.
La Grande won the state 4A title again last year but graduated several state placers. The Tigers hope to contend again in 2024 behind two-time state champion Kai Carson (126) and five others who placed among the top three: Bragen Anderson, Mason Wolcott, Tommy Belding, Ridge Kehr and Kenai Huff. Coach Klel Carson said that his team will have several state contenders but may lack the overall depth the team has had in previous campaigns.
Astoria should be an interesting team in 2024. In 2021, the Fishermen were a squad of six, all freshmen. Those six were juniors last season and helped the program finish 10th in 4A. Strong senior leadership, the return of defending heavyweight champion Matthew Evans and a large group of newcomers, including nine freshmen and two experienced wrestlers from out of state, should make this Astoria’s best team in recent history.
Marshfield is rebuilding its program after a lull the past few seasons. The Pirates demonstrated their resurgence last winter by placing 15th at the 4A state tournament and have a solid nucleus this year, anchored by District champions Leo Pacheco (113/120) and Reese Hite (120/126) along with state qualifiers Eyan Flood, Aryan Wright, Wyatt Petley and Bryson Harvey. The team is young, with only three seniors, and program numbers are rising. First-year head coach Gary Roberts had a successful 11-year run coaching football at Cottage Grove and said he hopes to instill similar expectations for the wrestling program at Marshfield.
Stayton coach Stuart Peterson says his team will be rebuilding in 2024 after top 10 finishes in 4A the past two years. The Eagles didn’t graduate any top wrestlers, but saw junior Conrad Baxter, a state finalist at 120 last year, transfer to Cascade. The team does bring back state qualifiers Leo Michel, Oskar Arceneuex and Lyric Burroughs, all of whom are underclassmen. If all falls into place, another top 10 finish at state is not out of the realm of possibility.
La Pine edged Burns to win the 3A title in 2023. The Hawks have now won state in consecutive years and three of the past four. Most of the team’s top wrestlers return, including two-time state champions Landyn Philpott (132) and Devon Kerr (138) and 2023 state champion Tag Deluca (160). All are juniors. Aaron Flack’s team also returns four other wrestlers that placed among the top four at state, including junior Riley Flack (106) and sophomore Dylan Kerr (195). The Hawks are well-positioned to contend for another state title this season and next as well.
Harrisburg placed third in 3A last year. The Eagles have placed in the top five six of the past eight seasons. Expect another strong year from Coach Desmond Bennett’s squad, which graduated two state finalists but returns two-time state champion Luke Cheek (120), state champion Brody Buzzard (170) and senior Nephi Heakin, who has 100 career wins. Bennett said that three freshmen at the lighter weights, Andre Donayri, Jackson Peterman and Trayson Truesdell, have the potential to be state tournament placers.
Siuslaw took just five wrestlers to state last year but came home with the fifth-place trophy in 3A. Two of the state placers graduated, including Mason Buss at 195.The Vikings will build around Dayne Muller, Joel Sissel and Leonardo Robertson. The biggest immediate concern is getting kids back from injuries during the fall athletic season.
North Valley has everyone back from last year’s 11th-place finishers in 3A. State runner up Ryan Gaskin and fifth-place finisher Mason Core lead the team, which had six state qualifiers. The Knights have reinforcements coming in freshman Caleb Gaskin and sophomore Tanner Core. A repeat District title and top 10 state finish both seem likely.
Willamina placed fifth in 2A/1A last February and is stronger this year, according to coach Ariah Fasana, who has been coaching at the school for 26 years. The Bulldogs return three, Adonijah Stanton (120/126), Rhyne Nelson (120/126) and Kisor Savage (215/285), who finished top three at state in 2023, and have several exciting newcomers, including freshman Eden Stanton at 113. The goal is as it was last year: repeat as district champions and bring home another state trophy.
Elgin won the 1A state tournament and finished fourth in the sanctioned 2A/1A event, its best finish in over 30 years. The Huskies graduated a state champion and two other top three finishers and are down numbers wise this winter. State placers Ty McLaughlin and Gen Wintersteen will lead the team. Watch for freshman Landyn Fincher to make an immediate impact at 106 pounds.
Knappa parlayed four state-qualified wrestlers into a top 20 finish in 2A/1A last February. The Loggers have improved their numbers recently and should have good years ahead of them with everyone back, including senior Corbin Roe, a four-time state qualifier who placed third at 126 last year. Knappa also has several freshmen wrestlers that fifth-year coach Kyle Anderegg says have the most talent he’s seen since taking over the program.
Camas Valley qualified seven for the state meet last year and placed third at the 1A-only “state tournament.” The Hornets have qualified better than 60 percent of its lineup for state since the program’s inception five years ago. Six seniors, including three-time state qualifier Noah Duncan (120), will anchor the lineup. Camas Valley also has three strong freshmen, Kaden Williams, Michael Hill and Levi Casteel, who could make immediate impacts.
State champion Logan Clyburn (220) returns for Myrtle Point, but the Bobcats graduated quite a few experienced wrestlers. Under first-year coach James Sykes, the team hopes to win its district tournament and better its 14th place finish in 2A/1A a year ago. Keep an eye on freshmen Camilo Palmas, Jr. and Fox Wheatly in the middle weights.
Irrigon had three wrestlers, all underclassmen, qualify for the state meet last year. The Knights, who had no seniors on the squad in 2023, won their only District title in 2016. That’s the goal for 2023.
Kennedy has a young, hard-working boys’ squad hoping to make an impact on the wrestling scene in 2A/1A. The team will build around four underclassmen, including sophomore Grant Bruner and freshman Creo Walker, a middle school state qualifier at 175 last year.
Heppner will have no seniors this year. Jaime Cavan, fourth in 2A/1A at 190 pounds; and state-qualifier Zac Brown will lead a Mustang team hunting for a state team trophy this year.
Santiam had just one senior last year. He was a first-year wrestler and a strong worker. State qualifier Wyatt Dayton, a senior; and two other experienced wrestlers, senior Randall Fox and junior Lukus Lebahn, lead a Wolverines squad that should see at least one and maybe more place at the state tournament.
North Medford, the defending large-class state champions, graduated one of the state’s best wrestlers in Estella Gutches, but returns five state qualifiers, including state champion Skyler Hall, second-place finisher Sadie Hall and state placer Isabella Jaime. With four strong newcomers to the program, the Black Tornado has a chance to repeat. But, as coach Tony Champion says, “Many things have to fall into place. It’s a long season.”
Thurston placed second in the 6A/5A division last year. The Colts have a strong tradition on the girls’ side with both depth and talent. State third-place finishers Rubbie Winterburn, Kassidy Hadden and Kristal Zamora will lead a deep group that expects to win the state championship this year.
Forest Grove could challenge for the large-class state title after placing third a year ago. The Vikings graduated only one and return state champion Kailea Takahashi (125) as well as runners up Renae Cook and Kennedy Blanton. Forest Grove has doubled its team size with lots of grinders working to make the team even better than it was last year.
Haley Vann, one of the nation’s best wrestlers last year, has graduated from a Cleveland team that placed fourth in 6A/5A a year ago as a new team. There is a first-year coach this year in Rustin Marchello. Another top finish is the goal.
Redmond had 10 girls in the program last year and placed seventh at state. With none graduating and 14 freshmen and sophomore coming into the program, look for the Panthers to grow into a state force in 6A/5A. Returning state champion McKenzie Sharon and state runner up Mia Pederson will lead the team, which has only two seniors. Among newcomers, freshman Gemma Delance was a middle school state qualifier last season.
Century has had state medalists every year since the program began in 2017, save the Covid year. The Jaguars graduated two, including Karen Nava, who placed third at state. Century will be young but tough and has strength in the middle weights. Senior Kriztina Wright is the top returner.
McNary has strength in numbers. The Celtics started heavily investing in the girls program, five years ago and it has started to pay off, including producing a state champion last year in Ali Martinez. Martinez and everyone else is back from a team that placed 15th in 6A/5A last year. Plus there are 12 newcomers, giving McNary a roster that goes 25 strong. That includes freshman Marlina Martinez, a middle school state champion.
Nelson’s third year as a program means more numbers and a strong freshman class. All of the squad’s state qualifiers are back. Coach Duane Tanner said, “We are striving to challenge stereotypes of women in wrestling.”
Glencoe’s program is growing and now includes 14 girls. Wrestlers to watch include seniors Alexy Hernandez and Andrea Olmedo, juniors Emma Gregg and Aviana Wilson and sophomore Cheryle Nakamoto.
Lebanon is a small squad with a first year coach. Wrestlers with experience include senior Mariah Godhino and junior Lita Haworth.
Sprague has a blend of returning wrestlers with experience and a promising young group of prospects. Sophomore Chaya Palomo and freshman Josylnn Jamieson are two to watch.
Canby is in a learning phase as a young program, but the Cougars do have three veteran wrestlers, Madison Navarra, Sydney Matlock and fast improving Clarissa Santiago Martinez, who could make headlines. Freshman Emilia Ensrud also has significant potential.
Mountainside went 3-2 in the Metro League last year with just eight girls, all of whom return. The Mavericks have added five newcomers and expect to be District champs this year and contend for a top 10 state placing behind juniors Layla Morris and Addison Burleigh and sophomore Natalie Kawaguchi, a standout in soccer and softball.
La Pine won the first 4A/3A/2A/1A title last year and became the first school ever to win state in both boys and girls wrestling in the same year. The Hawks graduated state champion Kira Kerr (155) but return second-place finishers Jade Seymour (125) and Riley Allison (145).
Baker / Powder Valley finished second in 4A/3A/2A/1A last year. The Bulldogs graduated the Anderson twins, who were great team leaders; but return state champion Oakley Anderson (170), state runner up Marli Lind (155) and third-place finisher Madison Meyer (190). There are lots of freshmen in the program. If a few develop quickly, this could be a state championship team as early as this year.
Zoie Garcia, a state qualifier and third-year wrestler, is the most experienced grappler on a Newport team that has always had numbers. This may be the year that string turnouts translate into a top 10 state finish for the Cubs.
Toledo has five girls in its program this year, two with experience. Senior Quin Lewis and sophomore Mindy Blomstrom could do nice things for the Boomers.
Marshfield is hard at work building a culture in girls wrestling. The Pirates will build around sophomore Mariana Velasquez, who finished fourth at state last year at 235 pounds; and North Bend transfer Kayla Hayes, one of two state qualifiers on the team along with Elysia Diego.
North Valley started with three girls two years ago, but coach Morgan Holden is a tireless advocate for the sport. The Knights now have 13, including everyone back from last year. State champion Breanna Meek, a junior, leads the returnees along with Sarah Gonzales and Delanie Burton. Holden says he expects a top five state finish with this group.
Irrigon had three girls in the program a year ago and all three qualified for state. They all return, led by senior Stephanie Romero, who was twice a top-three finisher at 235.
Four Rivers was a first-year program in 2022. The Falcons are holding steady at eight athletes as the coaches try to build awareness of the sport, where there is little to no interest at the middle school level. The team’s top two wrestlers are Georgie Edmundson and Lacatia Mason.
Harrisburg has everyone back and is looking to make a deep impact at state with four possible state placers: senior Hannah Henderson, a Fargo participant this past summer with Team Oregon; sophomores Gracie Williams and Lilie Ridgley and freshman Paxton Steele, who was third at Middle School State last year.
Warrenton has a first-year coach in Madison Kadera, a former high school wrestler, and her goal is to build culture and experience, especially among the team’s many newcomers.
Knappa had a few girls move away but the Loggers will have 10 in the program this year, including sophomore Kiya Roe, who was second at 100 pounds last year; and talented freshmen Kenzie Searle and Georgia Sutton.
Willamina had eight girls to start the 2022-2023 season but finished with just two. Zoe Brewer, a junior who placed fourth last year at 105, is the top returnee on a squad hoping to finish the season with 8-10 girls still engaged.
Siuslaw rode two girls to a sixth-place state finish a year ago. Both state champion Macali Lade (110) and third-place finisher Jane Lacouture return for a team starting with 8 girls, three of whom are “hammers” according to coach Neil Wartnik, with the potential for a fourth hammer by the end of the season.
Estacada is building a program and hoping that the success of Kirsten Delazerda, who was fourth in the state at 125; and probable state qualifier this year McKenzie Reilly will build interest in the sport and grow numbers.