Isaiah Gqarcia, a Claggett Creek student, takes down Whiteaker’s Blake Garcia. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Head-to-head with their opponents across the mat, many of the young wrestlers participating in a middle school tournament at McNary High School on Saturday, Feb. 18, probably didn’t realize it, but they were battling for much more than a win.

“These kids are out here wrestling for reinstatement of their middle school programs,” said Jason Ebbs, McNary’s head wrestling coach. “We want them to have fun, but we want people to see that these are important programs for the middle schools with lots of interest.”

Middle school wrestling programs fell victim to the budget axe last year, but the slack was picked up by the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation Enrichment Academy after school programs.

“This is a huge success right now, but we can’t keep it up year after year,” Ebbs said. “The amount of time it takes from a huge number of volunteers isn’t likely to continue forever.”


Middle School City Championships at McNary High School 

75 Pounds

1ST Micah Dunn (Claggett)

2ND Dennis Yanis (Houck)

3RD Aaron Merryman (Leslie)

4TH Austin Herndon (Whiteaker)


80 Pounds

1ST Ian Ashley (Claggett)

2ND Blain Croucher (Whiteaker)


85 Pounds

1ST Sean Burrows (Claggett)

2ND Colin Wentworth (Whiteaker)

3RD Joseph Angel (Claggett)


90 Pounds

15T Brayden Ebbs (Whiteaker)

2ND Soren Ochsner (Claggett)

3RD Elias Viera (Claggett)


95 Pounds

1ST Wyatt Kessler (Whiteaker)

2ND Baylee Ward (Claggett)

3RD Ismael Quintero (Waldo)

4TH Justin Nichols (Whiteaker)


102 Pounds

1ST Samuel Partida (Claggett)

2ND Chris Rogstad (Claggett)

3RD Brooklynn Vincent (Claggett)

4TH Abe Nelson (Whiteaker)


110 Pounds

1ST Cameron Engel (Whiteaker)

2ND Daniel Vargas (Claggett)

3RD Brayden Wilcox (Whiteaker)

4TH “ Brady Baldwin (Walker)


117 Pounds

1ST Jon Phelps (Whiteaker)

2ND Jesse White (Waldo)

3RD McClain Fanning (Claggett)

4TH Trisran McQuade (Claggett)


125 Pounds

1ST Isaac Delgado (Claggett)

2ND Drake Repp (Whiteaker)

3RD Adam Dryden (Waldo)

4TH Kody Lweis (Claggett)


132 Pounds

1ST Isaiah Garcia (Claggett)

2ND Killian Dato (Claggett)

3RD Blake Gerstner (Whiteaker)

4TH Jon Anderson (Whiteaker)


140 Pounds

1ST Jesse Harrington (Claggett)

2ND Nicholas Montgomery (Waldo)

3RD Michael Hayden (Walker)

4TH Jose Jeronimo (Waldo)


150 Pounds

1ST Jesse Gomez (Whiteaker)

2ND Alex Bivian (Claggett)

3RD Habacuc Reyes (Claggett)


175 Pounds

1ST Edwin Montes (Houck)

2ND Markos Molina (Leslie)

3RD Hector Hemandez (Whiteaker)

4TH Juan Cervantes (Claggett)


195 Pounds

1ST Andrew Smith (Claggett)

2ND Brandon Greyna (Walker)

3RD Ivan Marquez-Velasquez (Waldo)

4TH Veronika Sims (Waldo)


275 Pounds

1ST Kyle Bonn (Whiteaker)

2ND Trevor Bradley (Claggett)

3RD Charles Tello (Claggett)

4TH Raymond Byrd (Whiteaker)