The balcony bleachers were nearly full at the Joseph Charter School gym Jan. 3-4 — but it wasn’t for basketball. Wrestling fans from 14 teams near and far packed the gym to witness some of the top man-to-man action high school sports has to offer.
Action was fierce at the meet that saw Culver bring their A-game and dominate the meet with 301.5 points. Joseph placed third with 119.5 and Enterprise seventh with 100.5. the meet was full of surprises as EHS wrestler Shane Lund took a rare loss at 132 lbs., though he still placed second. Joseph’s Steven Beckman, wrestling with an elbow stabilizer that looked like it came from a space suit, also suffered a rare loss and placed second at 120 lbs.
On the brighter side, Joseph/Wallowa wrestler Austin Brockamp had no trouble handling his opponent in the match for gold, easily ousting Brandon Roe of Pine Eagle by pin in the second round.
“I got a good throw right off the bat, and it was all great from there,” he said.
He added it was his toughest match of the year and his third tournament win of the year. His coach, Tim Kiesecker, said Brockamp had lost to his opponent earlier in the year at the Enterprise Kickoff tournament.
For Joseph by way of Wallowa, Gus Ramsden placed fourth at 160 lbs. while Jonah Staigle placed third in the 195 slot. Michael Diggins also placed third at 220 lbs.
On the Outlaws side, Sophomore superstar Trace Evans took the gold at 138 lbs. with an easy tech pin over Jaxon Blackburn of Union/Cove. Like Brockamp, Evans felt in control the entire match although he said it was his toughest of the tournament. It was also his third tournament win this year. Drew Widener also placed second at 220 lbs. for the Outlaws. Klint Norton placed third at 285 lbs.
Coach Kiesecker, said that he liked what he saw at the tournament. With scores so closely packed, he noted one or two matches could have vaulted Jo/Wa into second place.
“Overall, I’m really proud of the boys,” he said. “We’re shaping up for districts and state, and I like what I see.”