By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
McNary wrestling coach Jason Ebbs went into the Jerry Lane Invitational not worried about how many matches his team would win.
He just wanted the tenacity he’s seen in practice translate to a match.
Ebbs got that and more as the Celtics finished 2-1 to place third in the eight-team tournament on Friday, Dec. 1 at McNary High School.
“It just so happens that we went 2-1,” Ebbs said. “It just so happens that we lost to Tigard and Milwaukie in this tournament last year and returned the favor and beat them this year. All in all, I believe the kids responded well. We’re trying to figure which of the fight responses we’re going to get from the kids—fight, flight or freeze. By the end of the night we were fighting back and once in a while we even had more points than the other guy and it gives us a lot of hope.”
McNary opened the tournament by defeating Tigard 43-32. After falling to Roseburg, the eventual tournament champions, the Celtics edged Milwaukie 44-35 for third.
Senior Brayden Ebbs and junior Enrique Vincent both went 3-0.
Ebbs, who had two pins to go with a major decision, felt comfortable jumping up to 170 pounds.
“It was different but it was a good different,” Ebbs said. “I felt a lot stronger, for one. I felt like I could move. It was a little bit slower than some of the guys that I’m used to, which was nice. I felt like I was a lot faster than everybody.”
In between two pins, Vincent had to come from behind to defeat Roseburg senior Thomas Spence 7-5.
Getting called for two illegal slams, Vincent trailed 3-5 going into the third period.
“He’s got an amazing explosion of power and his body is starting to catch up with him,” coach Ebbs said of Vincent. “By no means was it deliberate or malicious. You can just see his power. It’s pretty impressive to watch. We’re going to make sure he’s doing some technical things to deal with that so that doesn’t happen because that match shouldn’t have been as close.”
Vincent said he just had to keep his composure.
“I knew it was going to be tough and it definitely was,” Vincent said. “I tried to keep my cool and just calm down and think about what I needed to do. I kind of shut down for a second. I waited until the last second to get ahead because there was no way I was going to be able to hold him down for a minute. I’m out of shape still. I just waited until the last 30 seconds, took him down, got lucky and got a near fall to win the match.”
At 106 pounds, McNary freshman Grady Burrows went 2-1, earning a 16-12 devision to open the tournament and finishing it with a pin in the first period.
“It’s always nerve wracking to send a freshman out in the lineup,” coach Ebbs said. “If I had my way, I might not ever do it because there’s so many other factors that play into that with the confidence and the strength and the development. I believed in him and he got after it and that speaks to his years that he spent coming up through (Celtic) Mat Club.”
Noah Grunberg (145), Garrett Wampler (182) and Randal Nordberg (195) all went 2-1 as well, each getting a win by forfeit.
At 220 pounds, sophomore Anthony Garcia Reyes earned a pin in his first match before dropping the next two.
“His confidence is pretty high and I’m pretty proud of him,” coach Ebbs said of Reyes. “He ran into a couple big, mean guys after that, that reminded him that we’re not done getting better yet.”
McNary hosts its first Greater Valley Conference dual on Thursday, Dec. 7 against McMinnville at 7 p.m. and then travels to Silverton for a tournament on Saturday, Dec. 9.