McNary 132-pounder Jordan Orr (blue singlet) earned a third round pin over Garrett Fenske from West Salem (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).
In their final dual meet of the season, the McNary wrestling team made their senior night memorable against West Salem, defeating the Titans 52-25 on Thursday, Feb. 10.
After falling to the Titans by one point in their match from last season, exacting their revenge in dominant fashion made the evening momentous for the squad’s 12 seniors according to McNary head coach Sam Martin.
“It’s a great way to honor our seniors, which is the biggest group we have had since I have been here,” Martin said. “To end it with a large win, after how last year’s dual went, feels really good. It gives us a good confidence boost going into districts.”
The dual started with the 120-pound match, which was won via pin by West Salem’s Isaiah Wilsey. But in the 126-pound bout, McNary’s Damian Hernandez made quick work of his opponent, pinning Jason Ames less than 40 seconds into the match.
“It was awesome to see the seniors wrestle well, starting with Damian. He got out there and just got right down to business,” Martin said.
After Jordan Orr earned a pin at 132 pounds, West Salem forfeited the 138-pound match to put McNary up 18-6.
Despite not being at full strength, McNary still filled their entire varsity lineup, which earned them 24 points via forfeit.
“It’s nice to have those guys that can step up when someone goes down. It really paid off today, we got so many points by just having a full lineup. It’s really nice to have guys that we can trust and count on to win matches,” Martin said.
Filling in for the injured Hunter Ruberto at 152 pounds, McNary’s Anthony Thomas got the major decision win over Jake Bloomfield. Josh Friesen followed with a second round fall in the 160-pound match.
In the heavyweight bout, Anthony Cruz Lopez showed off his athleticism by making a swift move on West Salem’s Derek Brager and pinning him before the end of the first round.
“I’ve been really impressed with Anthony lately. He’s a heavyweight that has learned to not wrestle like a heavyweight, which is what we want. He has really put himself on the map with how he has performed,” Martin said.
McNary will be wrestling in the Mountain Valley Conference District Tournament Feb. 18-19 at West Salem High School. The Celtics have a realistic shot to finish in the top three in team standings and advance several kids to the state tournament, but regardless of what happens, Martin is incredibly proud of how his seniors have handled adversity and led by example.
“This group has been great. They have been through a lot, with a head coaching change, a pandemic, a shortened season, and wrestling in a 95 degree gym for state last year. The adversity they have been through and they have persevered and helped mold the culture of McNary wrestling,” Martin said.