By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The McNary High School wrestling teams spent their winter break getting better.
“Typically we come out of the winter break as a stronger team, and I think that’s going to mean more wins all-around,” said Taran Purkey, a senior.
For evidence, look no further than the records from a trio of winter break tournaments.
The Celtic streak started with a tournament at Liberty High School in which senior Alvarro Venegas won the 195-pound division with a second-round pin over Tualatin’s Phelan Alvarado.
Purkey took second in the same tournament with a final round loss to Sandy High School’s Spencer Barnett.
“Barnett was just a tank and I couldn’t get past him,” Purkey said.
Senior Riley Repp made it all the way to the third place match before falling to Sandy’s Hector Ramirez in a 7-4 decision; Carlos Vincent also made it to the third place match where he lost in a major decision; Brayden Ebbs took fifth place with 13-2 major decision; Michael Phelps lost a 5-2 decision in a fifth place match-up; and Gage Mance lost a fifth place match to Braden Watson of Sandy High School.
The McNary junior varsity wrestlers also made waves at the Ruppel 2nd Man Tournament in Cupertino, Calif. The Celts had six wrestlers in championship matches and five crowned.
“I can’t tell you the last time that happened,” said Jason Ebbs, McNary head coach. “We had three major goals going to the California tournaments this year: getting rid of the baggage of rankings, seeing new faces and finding out what other programs are teaching. On top of that, we got some medals and placings.”
Tournament champs at Ruppel were: Jordan Cagle by pin in 44 seconds at 145 pounds; Hunter Lucas in an 8-4 decision at 152 pounds; Jesse Gomez in second-round pin at 160 pounds; Ryan Edsall in a 10-2 decision at 170 pounds; and Gage Mance with a second-round pin at 182 pounds.
Eli Mance made it all the way to the championship fight before getting pinned in the second round by Anniruoh Ankola of Terra Nova High School.
Other top placers for the Celtics were Jonathon Collins and William Smith who each took third place.
Also in Cupertino, the varsity team wrestlers took part in the Blanchini Varsity Tournament. Brayden Ebbs, Taran Purkey and Alvarro Venegas won their respective divisions.
“I felt like we had more