Four of Wallowa County’s elite wrestlers made the trek to state with three grappling their way to the silver medal in the championship match. Enterprise and Joseph/Wallowa each sent two wrestlers to the championships, held in Portland on Feb. 28-29.
Enterprise coach, Court Fent, was proud of his team’s performance in his first year as EHS head wrestling coach. He brought stalwart juniors Trace Evans and Charlie Evans (not brothers), who wrestled at 138 pounds and 182 pounds respectively.
Although Charlie Evans went winless at the state tournament, coach Fent noted he wrestled well during the season, earning him a berth at state. He added that Evans put in a maximum effort at state as well.
“He wrestled hard, and I’m proud of his effort,” Fent said. “He just wasn’t able to get a win this weekend.”
Trace Evans came tantalizingly close to gold, defeating three opponents by technical fall, fall and major decision on the way. But in the final match he lost narrowly to Hunter McIrvin of Central Linn in a close, 7-5 decision.
“The match against the Central Linn kid was real tough,” Fent said. “It was a real back-and-forth there for a bit, and he (Evans) didn’t hold anything back the entire time. I’m super proud of his effort all tournament long.”
Fent noted that both wrestlers put in a maximum effort all season, which included helping other wrestlers on the squad.
“I can’t say enough good things about those two,” Fent said.
On the Jo/Wa side, coach Tim Kiesecker also brought two juniors: Zeb Ramsden, who wrestles at 145 pounds and Jonah Staigle, who wrestles in the 220 pound bracket.
“Both of my boys wrestled with skill and energy to get those second-place medals, and lost in the finals,” Kiesecker said. “That’s just the way they were seeded, so it is what it is.”
Ramsden wrestled three times, winning the first two by fall over Lakeview and Union/Cove wrestlers before succumbing to Lane Downing of Culver after the sudden flare up of a knee injury Ramsden suffered earlier in the season.
“It wasn’t good,” Kiesecker said.
Staigle wrestled four matches total, winning the first two by fall versus Glide and Rogue River grapplers. He narrowly won his third match versus a Siletz Valley wrestler, by a 2-1 decision.
The fourth match saw Staigle just missing the gold on the down side of a slim 4-2 decision to Central Linn’s Jimmy North.
“I was proud of everyone’s performance,” Kiesecker said.
With 40 points, Jo/Wa placed at 11 in the 37-team tournament while the Outlaws placed at No. 22 with 20.5 points.