Gilbert Parra (blue singlet) fights for position in his opening match of the tourney. (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings)
After each placing third in their respective divisions at the Mountain Valley Conference District Tournament, both Grady Burrows and Gilbert Parra were thrilled to be representing McNary High School at the state wrestling meet — which took place at Memorial Coliseum on Feb. 22-23.
However, it ended up being a short event for both guys.
Parra (138 lbs.) lost his first bout by major decision, then was eliminated from the tournament after losing via technical fall.
Burrows was able to win a match in the consolation round after getting pinned in his first round bout, but the 113-pound sophomore lost a tough 3-2 decision that ended his season.
Even though they didn’t get what they wanted in terms of results, it didn’t take away from what Parra and Burrows accomplished this season.
“I am extremely proud of both of those guys,” McNary head coach Jason Ebbs said. “They are the trailblazers for our program right now. They took our culture to the next step.”
Burrows, who was wrestling in his second straight state meet, had the goal of making in onto the second day.
Grady Burrows gains control over his opponent and prepares to get the pin. (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings)
While it looked like he was holding his own in the opening minute of his first round match against sixth-seeded Jeremiah Van Cleve from Centennial, Burrows got turned on his back and suffered an early fall.
But Burrows wasn’t going to let the loss discourage him as he made quick work of Finn Whittaker from Wilson in the first consolation match, getting the pin in less than a minute.
“It felt good to get a win under my belt,” Burrows said. “I didn’t know anything about my opponent. My game-plan was just to get in and win.”
Burrows had the upper-hand for the majority of his next match against Sherwood’s Nick Hekker, taking a 2-1 lead into the final round. But he surrendered a two-point near-fall in the final minute of the bout to suffer a heartbreaking 3-2 loss.
“It was really tough for him because he’s not used to losing matches like that,” Ebbs said. “He is our most seasoned wrestler and he wanted to go deep in the tourney. But this tourney is so tough.”
“I was really proud of the way he bounced back after his (first) loss and wrestled the way he was supposed to wrestle.”
Parra, on the other hand, was just happy to just be at the state tournament after having a strong end to the regular season.
“Gilbert is the perfect example of a kid setting his mind to a goal and then just going after it,” Ebbs said. “Getting to (state) was a great accomplishment for him.”
Instead of coming out as the aggressor, Parra, who’s a junior, elected to play it safe and try to avoid getting pinned, which led to him getting down on the scoreboard early. Parra lost his first match 14-0 and his second bout 18-0.
If Parra ends up qualifying for state in his senior campaign, Ebbs believes that he will be better prepared.
“You got to get there once before it really starts making sense,” Ebbs said. “We’ll expect him to be back next year.”