McNary’s Aldo Villavazo (blue singlet) advanced to the quarterfinal match at the state tournament (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).
The McNary wrestling squad sent four athletes to the state tournament, which took place at Memorial Coliseum Feb. 28-29. Although they weren’t able to get anyone to the podium, the Celtics got multiple match victories form sophomore Aldo Villavazo and freshman Hunter Ruberto.
Villavazo, a 220-pounder, advanced in the bracket by receiving a bye in the first round before facing off against Eric Sheldon from Reynolds.
Villavazo held the lead late in the match, but Sheldon got a two-point takedown in the waning moments of regulation, tying the match at 10-10 and forcing overtime.
However, Sheldon had been called for stalling earlier in the match, and Villavazo took full advantage.
“Aldo did a really nice job of pushing the pace in overtime,” McNary interim head coach Sam Martin said. “The Reynolds kid was pretty timid.”
As Villavazo continued to go after Sheldon in the overtime period, Sheldon tried to back away every time, forcing the official to hit him with another stalling call, which gave Villavazo the 11-10 sudden victory, as well as a berth in the quarterfinals.
Villavazo ended up getting pinned in the third round of his quarterfinal match, then again in the consolation bracket, but that didn’t take away from what he was able to accomplish in his first ever state meet.
“He proved that he belonged. He put his head down and got to work. He is already pumped for next year and I can’t wait to see what he will do,” Martin said.
Ruberto, who competed at 145 pounds, lost via major decision in his opening bout. But the freshman bounced back in a big way in his next two matches.
Ruberto got a bye in the first consolation round, then won an 8-3 decision over Sprague’s Devin Jeanes. In the following match, Ruberto gained a dominating victory over Aloha’s Logan Moore, earning a fall early in the second round.
“Hunter was in a traditionally tough weight class, so to win two matches was definitely a huge confidence builder for him,” Martin said. “I think he had a lot of nerves going into his first match, but the way he responded was awesome.”
Ruberto was eliminated from the tournament after getting suffering a fall to Oregon City’s Austin Nekvapil.
The Celtics also had Gilbert Parra wrestling in his second straight state meet. Parra just missed a victory in his first match, which was a 3-2 loss Uriel Rodriguez from Century. The McNary senior was unable to recover from the defeat as he lost his second match via major decision.
Dalila Hernandez competed as a freshman in the 190-pound girls tournament, but got pinned in the second round of both her matches.