By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
McNary had four wrestlers place in the top three at the Liberty Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 16 in Hillsboro.
At 106 pounds, freshman Grady Burrows took second, winning his first three matches by pin fall. He then earned a technical fall in the semifinals before getting pinned by Cael Morrison, of Dallas, in the first place match.
Enrique Vincent cruised through his first three matches at 132 pounds, winning the first two by pin fall and then the third by major decision. However, after losing 5-3 to North Marion’s Russel Stigall in the semifinals, Vincent rebounded with a 6-4 victory in the third place match.
At 170 pounds, Brayden Ebbs also won his first three matches, two by pin and one by technical fall to reach the semifinals, where he lost 7-3 to Wilsonville’s Perry Rodenbeck. Ebbs then got another pin in his third place match.
After receiving a bye in the first round, Blake Norton pinned his way into the semifinals at 220, where he was pinned by Westview’s Jhamante Woods. Norton earned another pin in the third place match.
McNary also had three wrestlers place in the top four in the girls tournament.
After losing her first match, Ella Repp earned a pin and major decision to finish third in the 87-96 pound weight class.
At 140-149, Nicolette Parra also placed third, getting three pins. Ariel Buik took fourth at 99-110, going 2-2 in the tournament with two pins.
On Wednesday, Dec. 27, McNary is leaving for Reno, Nev. to compete in the Sierra Nevada Classic, a double elimination tournament held at the Dec. 28-29 at the Reno Livestock Events Center.
“I remember when I was a kid if my coach would have said, ‘Hey, pack up your stuff and we’re going,’ and he could have said anywhere out of town, I don’t care, I was excited to go,” McNary wrestling coach Jason Ebbs said.
“As often as we can, we like to work something into our schedule, hopefully kids still get excited about traveling. I’ve taken kids on planes and to towns they’ve never been to and it’s just cool to hear kids say, ‘Cool, I’ve never been here.’”
More than 100 high schools from six states have registered for the tournament.
“It’s great because it’s everything you could want when you get there,” Ebbs said. “There’s regular Joe wrestlers there. There’s national champion caliber wrestlers there and everything in between. As long as you can win a match or two, you’ll filter into a group of kids that are your skill set and have a great experience.”
Only nine of the entries are from Oregon.
“The freshness of it and getting out of town and wrestling nobody you know is amazing,” Ebbs said. “You get down there and no one knows anybody. You get to the raw basic emotion of wrestling and sometimes you get the best out of the kids when they know less about their opponent.”
The Celtics next league dual is Thursday, Jan. 4 at home against Sprague and Forest Grove, beginning at 4 p.m.