By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
When 160-pounder Jeremiah Ratliff earned a pin on Thursday, Feb. 22 at McNary, he didn’t just get his first win of the season.
Ratliff also sealed the victory for his team as Whiteaker Middle School topped Clagget Creek 58-36.
“He’s worked hard last year and this year,” Whiteaker head coach Kelly Hafer said. “He’s just wrestled studs all year and he got a great win to seal the win for the team.”
Whiteaker led from the beginning as CCMS had to forfeit the first two weight classes, 75 and 80 pounds, as brothers Brandon and Max Blanco, both undefeated, were absent.
Jesse Dyer (85), who finished the season undefeated at 10-0, then won his match 7-0 to give the Wolverines an early 15-0 lead.
Jordan Orr (90) got the Panthers on the scoreboard with a pin. CCMS then won by forfeit.
But Whiteaker won the next six matches to take control. Hunter Ruberto (102), Jacob Moore (110) and Luke Moreland (117) all won by fall. Ben Standley, who finished the season 8-0, added a 16-4 major decision at 125 pounds. Aiden McCoy (132) then won by decision and Destiny Rodriguez (140), who finished the season 9-0, got a quick pin.
“I’m just really happy with how my kids wrestled,” Hafer said. “They always run back to the middle. That’s huge. That shows a lot of hard work and belief in the fact that hustle and pressure wins matches You can have a couple of trick moves and that works most of the time but the kid with good solid technique who can pressure his or her opponents is going to win more often than not.”
Claggett finished the dual strong, winning four of the final six matches as Aron Montoya (150), Jakob Munson (175), Luis Cortez (195) and Layne Runyan (220) all won by fall.
“Overall, these kids competed and worked hard,” said CCMS head coach Aaron Carr. “Whiteaker got us today. Having those two forfeits early cost us.”
Aldo Villalvazo (275) finished the dual with another pin for the Wolverines.
Whiteaker, which had 57 wrestlers, including 10 girls, both school records, finished the season 8-2.
“We really turned it on the last half of the season,” Hafer said. “We kind of got our feet under us the first half of the season and we were fortunate to have the schedule we did before we hit the tough part of our schedule. It really worked out well.”
Claggett had 42 kids participate in wretling this season and finished 6-3-1.
“Numbers are growing so that’s great for McNary,” Carr said. “The more kids we can send into the program, the better they’re going to be.”