Wallowa County sent six wrestlers to the Oregon School Activities Association state wrestling championship on Portland over the Feb. 22-23 weekend. Five of the wrestlers placed in the top four of their weight categories.
Joseph wrestler, Steven Beckman, wrestling at 113 pounds, won an unprecedented third straight state title at Oregon’s state wrestling tournament in Portland on the Feb. 22-23 weekend. Beckman’s feat is all the more special as he had dislocated his elbow midway through the season and wrestled part of the time with an arm brace. His performance helped the team to a fourth-place finish at the tournament.
“He was ready to wrestle,” Coach Tim Kiesecker said.
“It feels amazing, and I feel like it really helped me realize that I don’t care how hard of a task it seems, I just focus on it and work until it’s done,” Beckman said.
Promising sophomore, Zeb Ramsden, just missed the gold but took home a silver medal at 132 pounds wrestling the returning state champion. Ramsden gave the champion a run for his money, as he was only down 2-1 going into the last few seconds when the champ scored a takedown.
“He had his work cut out for him,” Kiesecker said. “I’m pretty proud of him.”
Senior Austin Brockamp grappled his way to the bronze at 170 pounds.
“He should have been second,” Kiesecker said. Brockamp had to face the reigning state champion early in the meet, which cut down his chances for the championship match.
Jonah Staigle’s time on the mat resulted in a fourth place finish at 195 pounds.
“He did an outstanding job, especially considering he had a nasty chest cold and could hardly breathe,” Kiesecker said. He really impressed me this weekend.”
Kiesecker said he liked the idea of the wrestlers placing as they did.
“First, second, third and fourth from lightest to heaviest,” he said with a chuckle. They did good; they need to rest now.”
Enterprise High School took two wrestlers to the match, sophomore Trace Evans, who wrestles at 138 pounds and senior Klint Norton who wrestles in the heavyweight division.
Evans wrestled his way to a third place finish in his bracket. Coach Forrest Wilson said that Evans had beaten this year’s state champion in the bracket, but the sophomore ran into trouble during a key match. The sophomore got behind on points and although he was wrestling well toward the end, he couldn’t make up the loss of points loss.
“I told him, ‘You didn’t really lose that one, you just ran out of time,” Wilson said. “Everybody’s happy with where he was. He did a great job and wrestled tough to get third.”
Norton got the two heaviest wrestlers right off the bat and lost both matches he wrestled, nonetheless, coach Forrest Wilson said the senior tried hard and put in a 100 percent effort. His first opponent outweighed Norton by about 50 pounds.
“When that guy got down on him, Klint couldn’t get away from it,” Wilson said. “He wrestled really well, though. It was his first time at state.”
Wilson said that he enjoyed coaching the squad after a 14-year hiatus.
“It was a very good season and I enjoyed it a lot myself,” he said. “It was fun to come back and do that.”