McNary wrestling: Girls place at state, boys get close

Josh Friesen in a recent match.

For the first time since 2018, the McNary Girls wrestling team has a state placer in Yared Calderon.

Calderon finished sixth at 235 pounds after battling through the consolation rounds in Thursday, Feb. 24m Girls State Wrestling Championships at Culver High School. Setting a precedent for those coming up behind her as Calderon graduates.

“Yared set the precedent that we should have a McNary girl on the podium every year going forward. She also is the start of McNary Girl’s Wrestling being recognized as a legitimate girl’s program. We have a great crop of younger girls that I think are ready to step up and fill her shoes,” McNary Head Coach Sam Martin said.

“Overall, she wrestled pretty well. The quarter’s loss was a tough one because she had the Centennial girl on her back but was unable to capitalize. She knew it was a long road back to get on the podium, but she came out and was aggressive in her next match and responded well coming off the loss.”

Calderon lost to Centennial’s Rose Williams in the Championship Quarterfinals before picking up a pin of Reagan Alvernaz of South Albany and a 9-8 decision of North Valley’s Breanna Meek before falling in her next two matches. Falling in the fifth/sixth-place match to Williams via pin at the 2:23 mark.

On the guys side, the Celtics saw Max Blanco, Anthony Cruz-Lopez and Josh Friesen knocking on the door of the Saturday/Sunday 6A State Wrestling Tournament at Sandy High School. 

Blanco took third at 106 while Friesen (170) and Cruz Lopez (285) finished a match from placing at the tournament.

“(Blanco) looked pretty dominant this weekend. He lost a close one in the semis, just started a little slow. But bounced back really well, and in dominant fashion. Josh Friesen and Anthony Cruz Lopez finished one match short of placing,” Martin said. “I’m pleased with how both of them wrestled. They both left it all out there. Overall, this was another step forward for us as we continue to build. I’m already looking forward to next year to see what this team can do.”

Blanco fell to Clackamas’ Jeremiah Wachsmuth, a second seed, in the semi-final round before picking up a 14-1 Major Decision over Bend’s Eric Larwin and another 14-1 major decision over Mountainside’s Brody Lybarger in the third-place match.

The three, plus Layan Runyan at 285 made it to Day 2 of the two-day meet. An impressive build-up from the last two years.

“It was good. That’s double from what we had make it to Day 2 last year,” Martin starts. “Heck, in 2018-19, and 19-20 we didn’t event have kids make it to day 2. Of course, we would’ve liked all four to place, but all we can ask is that they leave it all on that mat and that is exactly what they did.”

Runyan lost his first match of the tournament before advancing through three consolation finals before falling to South Salem’s Camden McCool two wins from the third-fourth round bout.