Justin Lowe locks in an arm bar during the match the won a dual meet with Sprague. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Since they started practicing last month, the McNary High School varsity wrestling team was eager to hit the mats with Sprague High School’s Olympian squad. Twenty years of straight losses in dual meets will do that for a team.

“Sprague has been the winner of the annual dual. Many times it has been close, but tonight, the Celtics were able to overcome the 20 year run,” said Jason Ebbs, McNary head coach after his team beat the Olys 36-35.

Major decision wins by Devin Reynolds, 10-2, Edgar Jimenez, 9-1, and Ajay Urban 19-11, put the Celts in good position to take the dual meet, but Sprague kept the score tight with four falls, a forfeit and a technical fall. The Olys led 35-33 heading into a match between Celtic Justin Lowe and Olympian Clifford Baxter.

“Justin scored a takedown with 9 seconds left in the match to go up 5-4.  He was able to restrain Baxter for the remainder of the time and win the match and the dual,” Ebbs said.

Other Celtic winners in the Sprague dual, which was part of a four-way meet at McNary, were: Jeremy Lowe in a 3-1 decision; Rob Phelps who won by pin in 45 seconds; Anthony Flores who won by pin in 34 seconds; and Mason Ross who won by pin in 1:20.

McNary also handed a 44-24 loss to Tualatin High School in the meet.

Celtic victories in individual matches went to: Mike Mata by fall in 31 seconds; Caleb Connor by forfeit; Ju. Lowe by decision, 9-3; Reynolds by fall in 1:15; Je. Lowe by major decision, 19-7; Urban by fall in 3:06; Grant Gerstner by 6-4 decision; Cody Ratliff by a 10-2 major decision; and Ross by fall in 1:17.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Celtics also came out on top of an eight-team tournament at Liberty High School Friday, Dec. 17. McNary led the pack with 165 points to Lebanon High School’s 132.5, Oregon City High School’s 129.5 and Liberty High School’s 124.

Placers included: Mike Mata, first at 113 pounds; Mike Phelps, fifth at 113 pounds; Hector Maldonado, first at 132 pounds;  Andy Downer, fifth at 138 pounds; Ju. Lowe, first at 145 pounds; Reynolds, first at 145 pounds; Jimenez, fifth at 145 pounds; Je. Lowe, third at 152 pounds; Urban, fifth at 160 pounds. Gerstner, fifth at 170 pounds; R. Phelps, sixth at 170 pounds; Zach Hammerschmith, fourth at 170; Steven Satter, fourth at 182; Cody Ratliff, first at 195; Joey Delgado, fifth at 195; Ross, third at 220; and Flores, fifth at 220.

McNary’s next event will be the Northwest Duals on Dec. 28 and 29 at Westview High School.