SWEET HOME — Trace Evans placed second in the 152-pound bracket of the Oregon Wrestling Association 2A/1A state championship on Friday, June 25, and Saturday, June 26.
The standout from Enterprise, who took second at 138 pounds in the OSAA championships in 2020 just before the pandemic, won three matches on his way to the final. There, he ran into Culver’s Anthony Hood, who claimed the title with a 10-4 decision over Evans.
In that championship match, Hood took a 2-0 lead with a takedown late in the first round. It was a lead he would never give up. A reversal and a near fall in the second round gave Hood a 6-0 lead. Evans got on the board with a reversal late in the second round. In the third, though, Hood earned another takedown for an 8-2 lead. The two wrestlers traded reversals in the final 80 seconds of the match.
Evans was dominant in his first two matches. He needed just 2:52 to pin his first opponent, Tristan Garcin of Lowell.
He needed even less time to defeat Michael Sweat of Siletz Valley, taking just 78 seconds to record the win by fall and reach the semifinals. There, he grappled with the top seed, Ryan Martinho of Illinois Valley, but again had little trouble in earning a 12-3 major decision. He had two takedowns of Martinho, including one with just a second remaining in the first round) for a 4-1 lead, and earned a reversal and near fall for an 8-1 lead after two rounds. He finished with another takedown in the third, then responded to a reversal from Martinho with one of his own.
The only other wrestler from Wallowa County, Kale Ferguson of Joseph, went 2-2 at 195 pounds.
He opened with a pin of Bonanza’s Ezra Neese in just 1:21, then was sent to the consolation bracket by Nolan Earls of Colton by fall in the quarterfinals. After a win by forfeit, he appeared set to advance before dropping a heartbreaker.
Ferguson recorded a reversal and a three-point near fall with less than a minute remaining in his match against Culver’s Christian Mattson-McKenzie, and the five-point swing put him ahead 8-4. In the final 11 seconds, though, Mattson-McKenzie pulled a reversal of his own then caught Ferguson for a three-point near fall, which gave him the lead and, just seconds later, the 9-8 decision.