Celtic wrestler Devin Reynolds claimed the regional title at the tournament held last weekend at Sprague High School. Anthony Flores, and Tyler Brown also earned regional titles. (Photos by Heather Sweigart)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

In qualifying 13 wrestlers for the state tournament and threepeating as district/regional champs the McNary High School varsity wrestling team made history twice in regional tournament last weekend.

Along the way, the team also crowned three new regional champions: Tyler Brown, Anthony Flores and Devin Reynolds.

Brown, who won the regional title at 195 pounds in a 12-2 decision, had wrestled and beaten most of his challengers throughout the season, but his goal wasn’t merely wins, he wanted pins.

“By pinning them, I had a better shot at good seeding in the state tournament,” Brown said. “The Newberg guy had gotten better in the few weeks since I pinned him, but I still wanted it more.”

Looking ahead to the widened field of wrestlers he’ll face at the state tournament next week, Brown was most eager to get on the mat with Jacob Turek of Hillsboro.

“I wrestled him last year at the state tournament and he got me again this year, but I was just coming back from mono, so I was pretty weak and not at full strength,” he said.

After winning the regional title at 220 pounds, Flores has only one wrestling goal left unattained – placing at the state level.

“I’ve had a a few matches against some of the guys who I’ll be seeing in the state tournament. I lost to them by a couple of points each time, but I’m going to be trying to turn those around and make them go the opposite way by taking it to them,” Flores said.

Flores won the title by defeating teammate Mason Ross in a 5-2 decision.

“It was difficult,” Flores said. “We’ve been practicing with each other for the last month and there’s no doubt in my that Mason is a good wrestler and we pushed each other to get better.”

Reynolds was driven to reverse the tide of history this year, he’s come up just short of regional titles as both a freshman and a sophomore, but achieved his goal this year with a second-round pin over Sprague’s Zach Zehner.

“Before the tournament, I wanted to pin everyone through the finals. When I took Zehner to his back, I knew it wasn’t going to be me just saying that, though,” Reynolds said.

Headed into the state tournament, Reynolds was riding high and happy that he’d been able to wrestle his match through most of the competition he’s seen this season. While there will be some new faces across from him at the state tournament, his approach isn’t changing.

“There’s a freshman from Barlow that I’m excited to see and then [Braden] Krellwitz out of West Linn, but I’ll take each one of them seriously and hope to pin them all,” Reynolds said.

McNary wrestlers rose to the top ranks in all but the lightest weight classes in the regional meet.

Andy Downer took third at 126-pounds beating his final opponent in a 14-12 decision. Reynolds won the title at 132 pounds with a second-round pin. Edgar Jimenez took fourth at 138 pounds. Jeremy Lowe took second when lost his finals match in a 3-2 decision at 145 pounds. Justin Lowe took second at 152 pounds when he lost his final match in a 7-2 decision. Rob Phelps took fourth at 152 after losing his last match 2-0. Ajay Urban took sixth at 160 pounds after losing his last match in a second-round pin. Grant Gerstner took third at 170 pounds with a second-round pin. Cody Ratliff clinched third place at 182 pounds with an 8-0 decision. Joel Hunter took third at 285 pounds with a first-round pin.