McNary's Jordan Orr (blue singlet) defeated Collin Rutledge via 9-6 decision in the 132-pound match (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

In a meet that featured several competitive matches, the McNary wrestling squad fell just short in their dual with South Salem on Wednesday, Jan. 12, losing to the Saxons by a score of 36-33.

“I don't think we looked like ourselves. I don't know if we came in a little too overconfident, but we definitely missed some opportunities,” McNary head coach Sam Martin said.

In his first varsity bout, McNary 106-pounder Jackson Wainwright made quick work of his opponent in the opening match, pinning Caleb Cox in less than 30 seconds.

“Jackson looked really good in his first varsity appearance. He proved that he belongs in the lineup,” Martin said.

After losing the 113 and 120-pound matches, Damian Hernandez continued his hot start to the season for the Celtics in the 126-pound bout. The senior wrestler jumped out to a 4-1 advantage before earning the first round fall against Matthew AcClair, helping McNary regain the lead at 12-9.

In the 132-pound match, one of the Celtics top wrestlers, Jordan Orr, looked to be in control early. But the experienced senior ended up having to hold for dear life to clinch the win over Collin Rutledge in the final round.

“Jordan looked good for most of his match, but he made a mistake at the end and it got a little scary,” Martin said.

Scoring on a reversal, followed by a near fall, Orr was up 4-1 after the first round. He increased his lead to 9-1 in the third round, but with 30 seconds left in the match, Rutledge was able to flip Orr over on his back and was threatening to come back and get the win.

But Orr refused to let both of his shoulder blades hit the mat, hanging on for the 9-6 decision.

“I just ran out of energy,” Orr said. “I was just thinking 'I can not get pinned right now.' I would be letting myself down and my teammates down. I shouldn't have been in that position, but I was just trying to hang on.”

Jonathan Canchola (138) and Will Thomas (145) held late third round leads in both of their matches, but couldn't finish the job as Thomas lost 8-6 and Canchola fell in a bout that was decided in overtime.

While Martin was glad that his kids were in some grueling matches, he is hoping his team will be able to clean up on some of the mistakes moving forward.

“Those types of matches at this point in the season are really good. It gives us a feel for what we have coming down the road. But some of us had trouble wrestling for six minutes. We just kind of lost it in some matches and made some mistakes,” Martin said. “It's good to have those matches, but you like it when it comes out the other way. If a match or two goes a different way, we are having a different conversation.”

With the score tied at 15-15, Hunter Ruberto gave McNary the lead back with a dominant win in the 152-pound bout. Ruberto used a pair of takedowns to go up 4-1, then eventually got the pin in the second round.

“I told Hunter that in order to stay in this dual we needed a pin. He got off to a little bit of a slow start, but he got down to business in the second round,” Martin said.

Trailing 21-15, the Saxons won four straight matches, three of which came via pin, to earn the match victory. McNary, however, finished the night strong with second round pins by Aldo Villalvazo (220) and Anthony Cruz-Lopez (285).

With the Mountain Valley Conference district meet just over a month away, Martin hopes to get his team better prepared for the final stretch of the season.

“We looked a little out of shape today, so we are really harping on our conditioning and making sure we have good intensity and good focus in the wrestling room,” Martin said.

McNary takes the mat again at Sprague on Thursday, Jan. 20 at 6 p.m.