Celts experience success at multiple tourneys

Diego Piceno (second from left) was the winner of the 285-pound bracket at the Scio Tournament on Saturday, Dec. 10 (Submitted).

The McNary wrestling squad was spread out across the state last weekend (Dec. 10-11) with the girls team competing in Warrenton while boys team members either competed in Scio or North Bend. 

McNary head coach Sam Martin took eight varsity kids to the North Bend Coast Classic, which featured 28 teams and is considered one of the top tournaments in the state. 

“These tournaments are really to get used to the mindset and competition level for districts and state. The teams that are there are the teams that are in contention for a state title every year,” Martin said.

Max Blanco was the top finisher for the Celtics in North Bend in the 113-pound bracket, finishing in second place. 

After receiving a bye in the first two rounds, Blanco took down Eric Larwin from Bend with a third round pin in the quarterfinal match. Blanco also earned a fall against Harrisburg’s Luke Cheek in the semifinals before losing to Crook County’s Landen Lavey in the championship match. 

“He has had a really good start to the year. To take second in that big of a tournament this early in the year is definitely a good start. He knows what he needs to work on moving forward. It was a good placeholder for him,” Martin said. 

Joey Barros (106) Damian Hernandez (126) Josh Friesen (160) and Hunter Ruberto each placed fifth in North Bend and won multiple matches.

“You can expect in a tourney like that to be wrestling against someone who has wrestled in state or placed in state. There is never going to be an easy match,” Martin said. “It was good to see those guys finish their tournament with a win. It was a good measuring stick and a good little precursor to what we are going to see coming down the road.”

At the Scio tournament, 285-pound freshman Diego Piceno was victorious in the heavyweight bracket, defeating Luis Jimenez from Yamhill-Carlton with a second-round fall. 

“He is a hard worker that has really bought into what we are teaching. It was cool to see him finish on top of the podium against some pretty experienced small school wrestlers,” Martin said.

Jake Paton (182) took third in Scio while Rafa Mosqueda (132) and David Ramirez (138) placed second. 

In the girls’ tournament in Warrenton, Kaylynn Villalobos was the champion in the 125-pound bracket, winning all four of her matches via pin. 

“She went out and handled her business. We tell her all the time to not waste time and to go out and attack and that is exactly what she did. It was really good to see,” Martin said. 

Dayanara Salvador (105) and Caitlin Saldivar (170) placed second in their respective brackets. 

McNary will compete in the Liberty Tournament at Liberty High School this weekend, and then will host their first Mountain Valley Conference dual meet on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 7 p.m