Celts crack top 8 at Oregon Classic

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Michael Phelps rolls up South Salem’s Hayden Julian-Huntington for a pin in his match Wednesday, Jan. 15. (Photo courtesy of J&H Photo)

Michael Phelps rolls up South Salem’s Hayden Julian-Huntington for a pin in his match Wednesday, Jan. 15. (Photo courtesy of J&H Photo)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

McNary senior Zach Hammerschmith got his wishes fulfilled in more way than one at the Oregon Classic wrestling tournament last weekend.

Prior to the tournament, which pits the top teams in each OSAA classification against each other, Hammerschmith wanted a chance to face off with Oregon City High School’s Michael Griffin. Griffin topped recent rankings in the 185-pound weight class despite losing to Hammerschmith twice in the 2012-13 season. Hammerschmith wanted to set the record straight.

“He was bugging me all weekend for that match, but it wasn’t up to me,” said Jason Ebbs, McNary head coach. “Once he got it though, he was foaming at the mouth and the fangs started to come out.”

Hammerschmith turned in a dominating match with Griffin and won by pin. How it affects the rankings has yet to play out.

“It was nice to see a guy on our team with intensity and competitive desire and as soon as they put him up,” Ebbs said.

The Celtics took second in their pool at the Classic and cracked the top eight, but the battle-weary team didn’t get much further.

McNary started the tournament with a close 37-34 win over Canby High School. Louis Palos notched a win by pin in 1:41; Jonathon Phelps won by pin in 5:04; Michael Phelps won in a 16-11 decision; Noah Townsend won by pin in 1:51; and Hammerschmith won by pin in 2:25.

The Celts took a 40-26 defeat to West Linn High School with Palos, J. Phelps, Caleb Conner, Townsend and Hammerschmith getting wins.

In the third dual, with Sam Barlow High School, Riley Repp won by tech fall, 17-2; M. Phelps won by pin in 5:08; Conner won by pin in 5:53; Hammerschmith won by pin in 3:14; and Steven Wilkerson won by pin in 3:15. McNary took the dual win with a score of 59-22 and Barlow forfeiting matches in a number of weight classes.

In a quarterfinals match with McMinnville High School, the Grizzlies won 41-27.

“McMinnville has a solid line-up that’s tough as nails and the ones who are like that line-up directly across from our guys in that same category,” Ebbs said.

Joey Kibbey won in a major decision, 14-3; Palos won in a major decision, 15-4; J. Phelps emerged victorious in a 7-0 decision; Purkey won by major decision, 12-0; Hammerschmith won by pin in 58 seconds; and Wilkerson won by pin in a blazing 10-second match.

“We had some guys that we normally count on for wins who were tested and sometimes came up with a loss. That’s hard for them, but it’s also good experience because it’s only going to get tougher this weekend at the Reser Tournament where there is no OSAA class separation,” Ebbs said.

Prior to the Classic, the Celtics dominated in a dual meet win with South Salem High School.

Sean Burrows won by pin in 1:33; Palos won by pin in 2:26; M. Phelps won by pin in 55 seconds; Jordan Cagle won by pin in 51 seconds; Purkey won by pin in a minute flat; Hammerschmith won in a 18-3 decision; Venegas won by pin in 1:44 and Wilkerson won by pin in 3:11.

Ebbs said the matches McNary lost were as telling as the ones they won.

“South has some very capable wrestlers and it shows the parity in our league that we’ll have to combat when it comes time for the regional tournament,” he said.

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