Mat Men falter, then win

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Celt Alvarro Venegas takes down an opponent in a match earlier this season. Venegas was one of few wrestlers to win all four of his matches last week. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Celt Alvarro Venegas takes down an opponent in a match earlier this season. Venegas was one of few wrestlers to win all four of his matches last week. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The lack of time in live fire situations due to a number of match cancellations showed in the scores when the McNary High School varsity wrestling team met McMinnville and Newberg high schools on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

McNary lost both dual meets.

“The reality of it is that our opponents were wrestling their fifth, and sometimes sixth, matches of the season. For our guys it was the first or second match of the season,” said Jason Ebbs, McNary head coach. “We’re a fistful of matches behind, but the good news is that they didn’t do anything to us that can’t be fixed.”

McMinnville beat the Celts 35-30 while Newberg took a 54-18 win.

Junior Alvarro Venegas, one of only three wrestlers to win both of his matches on the night, said a lack of focus seemed to be getting in the way.

“We had a bunch of guys up in the stands talking with friends. We need everyone to be down on the floor cheering for the guy on the mat,” Venegas said.

In the McMinnville match, Venegas won by pin in 3:09. His match with Newberg High School’s Evan Smith went into overtime after six minutes left the pair knotted at 3-3.

“I went for an ankle pick, but his foot was already outside the ring. I decided to get the near ankle and take him down,” Venegas said. “My toes were still inbounds and I got the points and the win (5-3).”

Other winners in the McMinnville match were: Louis Palos in a 5-2 decision; Jordan Cagle in a 11-6 decision; Gage Mance by pin in 3:03, Zach Hammerschmith in a 10-7 decision and Steven Wilkerson in a 10-6 decision.

Hammerschmith’s opponent, Brian Barnes, was a freshman with “some cred,” Ebbs said, and Hammerschmith was working on a busted ankle.

“I couldn’t shoot off the ankle, but I tried to use my best technique,” Hammerschmith said.

In the Newberg dual, Palos defeated the Tigers’ Wyatt Rude in a 5-3 decision; Michael Phelps won by pin in 3:32; Hammerschmith won by pin in 1:35 and Venegas notched the overtime win.

By Friday, Dec. 20, the Celts appeared to have shaken off some of the dust. The McNary team took part in a three-team dual meet with Silverton and Cleveland high schools at Silverton.

The Celts took a 39-33 win over Cleveland with McNary spreading out the wins over a number of weight classes. Jonathon Phelps won by pin in 2:30; Michael Phelps won in a 4-2 decision.; Caleb Connor won by pin in 3:54; Mance won by pin in 1:18; and Venegas pinned his opponent in 2:38.

The Mat Men notched a 41-32 victory over Silverton High School. Riley Repp won by pin in 3:16; Palos won by pin in 1:39; J. Phelps won by pin in 3:46; Mance won in a 15-0 tech fall; Hammerschmith won by pin in 2:00; and Venegas got a pin in 1:19.

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