McNary’s Grady Burrows (blue singlet) pins his opponent in the 126-pound match to help the Celtics beat West Salem 39-32 in a dual meet on Thursday, Jan. 23 (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

The McNary wrestling team won their second straight Mountain Valley Conference dual on Thursday, Jan. 23, defeating West Salem by a score of 39-32. 

“We have different guys each week stepping up and doing something good for us,” McNary head coach Jason Ebbs said.

McNary wrestlers have made a habit this season of fighting from behind in individual matches and finding a way to come out victorious. That theme continued throughout this dual.

The match started with the 152-pound bout as McNary’s Ivan Vallejo beat Xavier Finel via 3-1 decision.

After trailing early, Vallejo tied the score at 1-1 in the second round. Vallejo then scored a two-point takedown in the final round to secure the victory. 

Matthew Mehlhoff got McNary’s first pin of the evening in the 160-pound match. After jumping out to a 4-0 advantage, Mehlhoff’s opponent, Adrian Galindo, came back to tie the match at 4-4 late in the first round.

But Mehlhoff was able to earn the fall midway through the second round.

Jeremiah Ratliff won a 6-0 decision at 195 pounds. The Celtics then were awarded the 220-pound match thanks to a forfeit.

McNary also earned forfeit victories at 120 and 132 pounds. But it was the 120-pound forfeit that caused the match to swing in the Celtics favor. 

Grady Burrows, one of the best wrestlers in the conference, was originally slotted to wrestle at 120 for this match. But since West Salem had already planned to forfeit the match, Ebbs moved Burrows up to the 126-pound slot and had Eoan Sharabarin claim the forfeit at 120. 

The strategic move by Ebbs ended up paying dividends as Burrows easily got a pin just over a minute into the match, giving McNary the 30-29 lead on the scoreboard. 

“We just wanted to make sure we were getting the right matchups. When it comes to winning duals, a lot of times you need to move things around and do something different to make sure the team is getting the best guys on the mat at the right time,” Ebbs said.

The Celtics went up 36-29 thanks to West Salem’s forfeit at 132, meaning that McNary would be guaranteed the dual victory if Gilbert Parra could pull out a win in the 138-pound match. 

Parra fell behind 3-2 in the first round, but even though neither competitor scored in the second round, Parra was confident with where he at in the match.

“He got points on me early, but I was riding him most of the second round. I really trust my conditioning and know that I’m not going to get tired. I have the toughness to keep working so I wasn’t to concerned about it. I knew that I was going to get points late,” Parra said. “The pressure didn’t phase me. I just wanted to go out there and do what I’m supposed to do.”

Parra tied the score with a one-point escape, which he followed with a two-point reversal moments later to take the lead. The McNary senior eventually won a 5-3 decision to seal the victory for the Celtics. 

“Outlasting his opponents has got to be Gilbert’s best strength. He doesn’t mind going deep into a match,” Ebbs said. “He didn’t make many mistakes. He saw a close score early. He stayed in good position and kept things in control. Gilbert put himself in a spot where winning within range.”

McNary will host their senior night on Friday, Jan. 31 against North Salem at 7 p.m