By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The McNary High School mat crew finished their season in second place in the Greater Valley Conference after losing to Sprague High School Thursday, Feb. 4.
The Celtics had two dual meets that evening and split the results with one win and one loss. McNary beat Forest Grove High School in commanding style with a final score of 48-15.
The Keizer team then took on the Olympians with the two teams being the only ones in the league still undefeated. McNary lost 57-7, but 10 of the 14 matches went the distance and ended in decisions.
“They had a few matches where they came up with some tactical ideas that made the matches go their way,” said Jason Ebbs, McNary head coach. “Those surprised us when they happened, but we understood it after the fact. We’ll be making changes for when we see those guys again at the district competition.”
The Celts will wrestle for the district title Feb. 12-13 in Forest Grove.
Match winners in the Forest Grove contest last week were: Enrique Vincent in a 11-6 decision; Sean Burrows by pin in 4:36; Jon Phelps by pin in the 2:59; Brayden Ebbs by pin in 2:33; Wyatt Kesler by pin in 1:06; Jesse Gomez by pin in 1:08; Kyle Bonn in a 4-2 decision; and Keifer Smith by pin in 1:29.
Kesler and B. Ebbs were the only match winners in the Sprague dual meet. Kesler won in a 11-1 major decision. B. Ebbs won in a 7-5 decision.
McNary heads to the district competition more behind the eight ball than usual.
“We’ve had a couple of old injuries from early in the season flare up and that’s changed the game plan for us, but we’ve got a number of freshmen floating around in the mix who we are putting a lot of faith in,” J. Ebbs said.
Freshmen Blaine Croucher, David Allen and Garrett Wampler are a few of the wrestlers expected to take on varsity roles.
“We have some guys like Sean Burrows, Isaiah Putnam, Kyle Bonn and Keifer Smith who are going to have unique hurdles to placing or winning a district title, but they’re going to have their team behind them no matter what,” J. Ebbs said.
B. Ebbs, Kesler, Phelps and Joey Kibbey were all district placers and state qualifiers in 2015
“Outside of that we have some guys who have wrestled well enough to make it to the podium this year. Ricky Vincent is tough enough to scrap with just about anybody and has a shot at placing. Nick Hernandez is bringing it on for us as a freshman at 120 pounds,” J. Ebbs said.
In the most recent oregonwrestler.com statewide 6A rankings, B. Ebbs was sixth; Bonn was seventh, Kibbey was eighth; and Kesler was 11th.