McNary freshman Noah Gatchet celebrates with teammates after the Celtics defeated South Salem at home on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

With McNary holding on to a four-point lead entering the final match of the night, all Noah Gatchet had to do was not get pinned.

But the Celtic freshman decided to do his team one better, picking up a 11-6 decision over Kelton Bollier as McNary defeated South Salem 43-36 on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

Gatchet trailed 4-0 before earning 10 straight points in the second period and holding on for the victory.

“I can’t think of another kid with a bigger heart on our team and he knew his job when he stepped out on that mat,” McNary head coach Jason Ebbs said. “Instead of being satisfied with not getting pinned, he stayed in good position, he scored points, put the guy on his heels and won that match. Hands down one of the most savvy and intelligent wrestling freshmen I’ve seen come through this program in a while. That’s having the right mindset, not being satisfied with a mediocre job but seeking a higher job and a higher purpose and going after it. I will always promote our kids, win, lose, or draw, always wrestle to win and you’ll find yourself in a good place.”

While the Celtics celebrated Gatchet’s performance, even picking up the 106-pounder on their shoulders and chanting, “Noah, Noah,” Ebbs noted the dual victory, McNary’s first of the season, was a team effort.

The Celtics jumped out to a 40-0 lead thanks to a forfeit at 113 pounds, followed by a 14-6 decision by Ryan Mosgrove at 120 pounds and five straight pins from Jerry Martinez (126), Sean Burrows (132), Killian Dato (138), Brayden Ebbs (145) and Wyatt Kesler (152).

But South Salem stormed back with five pins and a forfeit to get within 40-36.

“I knew it was coming,” coach Ebbs said. “We hit them right in the youth of our program. We have all the young kids right in a row. We actually lost some matches we shouldn’t have lost. On the flip side we won some matches we weren’t supposed to win. It all balanced out in the end and just fantastic tonight. I’m just happy to see these kids start standing together. Wrestling is a team sport. I’ll always say that. I’ll always believe that and they did a good job tonight. We always say we’re training to be the best wrestlers we can be come February and today was a big jump.”

McNary has three more league duals—Thursday, Feb. 2 at West Albany, Wednesday, Feb. 8 at Forest Grove and then Thursday, Feb. 9 at home versus Sprague.

The district meet is Feb. 17-18 at West Salem.