By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
In a busy week for the McNary High School wrestling team, the Celtics showed no signs of slowing down.
The brightest spots in a week of good news for McNary were a number of confidence-boosting placements at the annual Don York Invitational.
“The biggest thing is I came out of it believing in myself more,” said Sean Burrows, who took second at the tournament. “I used to have a big issue with kids who are a lot stronger because they are built differently, but I can overcome it.”
Burrows pinned his way to the semifinals where he drew Cleveland High School’s Junpei Hunt, an opponent he’d been keeping track of.
“We were pretty close in skill level and we worked each other pretty hard the entire match. We were both dog tired at the end,” said Burrows, who won in a 17-9 major decision.
Burrows fell to Centennial’s Tyler Wagner 14-6 in the first place match.
Junior Joey Kibbey made it his mission to get to the finals match this year after falling short of his own expectations as a freshman and sophomore.
“I was real close both years, but I went in this time saying I’m going to the finals,” said Kibbey.
That’s precisely what he did. Two wins on points and two byes got him to the finals where he faced Forest Grove high School’s Lucas Higginbotham.
“I got a bit nervous heading into the match and I did okay in the first round, but he’s pure muscle and turned me in an arm bar in the second round,” Kibbey said.
He took second place after getting pinned in the final seconds of the round.
Taran Purkey was the team’s other second place finisher.
Senior Alvarro Venegas continued his 22-0 romp over, under, around and through all comers to take first for the Celts at 195 pounds. He led a stacked decked of top finishers for the Celtics at Don York.
McNary also posted a number of third place finishers including Riley Repp, Jordan Cagle and Carlos Vincent.
Vincent found himself in an interesting situation. Two wins put him in the quarterfinals against Ryan Steen of Pendleton High School, but Steen won in a major decision that put him out of competition for the finals. However, Vincent wrestled his way back from the consolation brackets to face Steen again for third place.
“I knew he was a tough, hard-headed dude. I usually try to be pretty explosive and try to intimidate the other guy, but he wasn’t having it,”
Vincent said. “I picked my shots more carefully and ended up on top with one point (5-4), but one point is worth a million.”
Fourth place finishers were Brayden Ebbs and Jonathon Phelps. Michael Phelps and Kyle Boon took fifth. Bonn had to beat teammate William Smith in his fifth place match.
Prior to Don York, the Celts had a three-way duel with West Salem and McKay High Schools. McNary came out on top in both.
Against McKay, match winners were: Kibbey, 9-1; Ebbs, 8-1; Burrows, fall 5:17; J. Phelps, fall :50; Cagle, 15-5; Vincent, fall 1:11; Ryan Edsall, fall 2:55; Gage Mance, fall 1:47; Venegas, fall 3:19; and Smith, fall :52. The overall score was 59-13.
Celt winners in the 72-3 dual with the Titans were: Ebbs, fall :42; Burrows, fall 1:34; Adam Nelson, fall, 2:27; M. Phelps, 5-2; Wyatt Kessler, fall :34; Hunter Lucas, 6-3; Edsall, fall 1:38; Isaiah Putnam, fall 2:37; Mance, fall 1:44; and Venegas, fall 3:02. Four Celts received wins by forfeit.