Celts earn first conference dual victory

McNary wrestler Gavin Anderson (blue singlet) fights for position in the 195-pound bout against McKay’s Andy Nguyen (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

In their first action after the holiday break, the McNary wrestling squad won their first Mountain Valley Conference dual meet of the season on Thursday, Jan. 9, defeating McKay 46-29.

Despite not having Grady Burrows, one of the best 120-pounders in the league, the Celtics still wrestled with a full lineup, which ended up making a difference on the scoreboard. 

“When we see a full lineup, it means our kids and our families are committed to being successful, and I consider that a gift. We bought into the training and development that we are doing,” McNary head coach Jason Ebbs said. “And kids feed off each other when that happens and the kid that steps in, steps up and wrestles at a higher level because they are expected to fill in some pretty big shoes. That type of buy-in is what makes kids successful.”

McKay was forced to surrender a pair of forfeits early on in the dual, giving McNary the advantage on the scoreboard. 

Rigoberto Hernandez (120 pounds) got the Celtics first win of the evening with a 13-4 major decision over Tess Barnett. The match was competitive in the first two rounds, but Hernandez outscored Barnett 7-0 in the final round to get the commanding victory. 

McNary had several wrestlers in this match that ended up victorious after facing a first round deficit, starting with 138-pounder Joshua Friesen. 

Friesen fell behind 3-0 in the first round against Enrique Montoya, but in the second round he took control of the match, scoring 12 of the next 15 points before eventually getting the pin in the third round. 

“You have to keep your composure. I knew I was losing, but I just stayed calm,” Friesen said. “I was being cautious with my choices and I wasn’t making dumb moves. I still have some stuff to work on, but I definitely did well.”

McNary’s Gilbert Parra got a second round pin in the 145-pound match. However, the Celtics would lose the next five bouts and found themselves trailing 29-28 with three matches to go. 

Fortunately for McNary, Gavin Anderson’s performance in the 195-pound bout was what turned the tide.

After falling behind 2-0, Anderson was the aggressor in the second round and saw the opportunity to go for the cradle, grabbing his opponent’s neck with one arm while wrapping his other arm around the opponent’s knee.

Anderson’s teammates started going crazy when they saw him go for the cradle — which is rare to see at the high school level. But they went even more ballistic when the ref gave Anderson the pin 16 seconds into the second round. 

“I just twisted him up. I saw his leg, then I saw his head. For me, that’s cradle city. I was able to turn him over and the ref gave it to me,” Anderson said. 

Ebbs added: “He got the cradle and used his brute force muscle that he has developed over the years and peeled the guy over to the other side, which is not very easy to do. That was awesome. He was clearly determined and he knew the only way out of his situation was to pull that guy over the top.”

With a 34-29 lead, the Celtics clinched the dual victory when Anthony Garcia-Reyes (220) pinned Jorge Martinez 39 seconds into the first round.

Aldo Villavazo capped off the night with an impressive victory of is own in the 285-pound match. 

There wasn’t a lot of action in the first four minutes as Villavazo trailed Anthony Valdez 1-0 going into the third round. 

But at the start of the final two minutes, Villavazo earned a two-point reversal and gained control of the match. Villavazo was then granted the pin midway through the round. 

“It just comes down to position. He’s has been getting better the last few weeks of recognizing when a guy is on top of him and getting out from underneath it. He capitalized at the right moment,” Ebbs said.

The Celtics will be wrestling in Redmond at the Oregon Classic — one of the largest wrestling tournaments in the state — starting Friday, Jan. 17. 

“We’re still moving upwards, that’s the part that makes me the happiest. We’re aren’t coming out of the break lethargic and not moving well. We’re coming out on an upward trend,” Ebbs said. 

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