Baltazar repeats 2A honor
Earning 2A/1A wrestler of the year honors capped another stellar season for Miguel Baltazar of Culver.
The junior won the 125-pound 2A/1A title last month for his third state title. He won the 112 title as a freshman and 119 last season.
"That's quite an honor, especially winning it twice," Culver coach J.D. Alley said.
The coach noted fellow junior Jake Nelson, the 103 champion, finished second in the wrestler of the year balloting. Both had incredible seasons, losing only to fellow state champions.
Baltazar went 37-3 this season, losing only in the championship matches of big-school tournaments. The junior won all of his district and state matches by pin or technical fall.
Baltazar was unbeaten until the Free-Berry Classic in Pendleton on Dec. 28. He lost to Tyler Phillips of Cascade who went on to win the 4A state 130 title. Phillips was second in the 4A wrestler of the year balloting after an unbeaten season.
The other losses were to 6A wrestler of the year RJ Pena in the Resers Tournament of Champions and to Prescott Garner of West Linn in the Crater Classic. Pena finished an unbeaten season by winning the 6A title at 125 pounds. Garner was the 6A champ at 119.
Combined, the trio of Phillips, Pena and Garner were 120-1 this season.
Nelson was 37-2 in winning his title. Nelson's first loss came at the KSA Duals in Orlando, Fla. That was to a wrestler from Brookville, Pa., who he beat later in the tourney.
Nelson's other loss came in the championship match of the Resers tourney. Nelson lost a 4-0 decision to Tony Siciliano of Newberg who went on to win the 6A title at 103. Siciliano finished with a 37-2 record.
Both Baltazar and Nelson will continue wrestling this spring. They will participate in the Junior Nationals Wrestling Championships, conducted by the National High School Coaches Association.
The tourney on March 28-30 in Virginia Beach, Va., is open to state finalists who are high school juniors. Baltazar finished fifth in the sophomore nationals last season, going 3-2 with his only losses to the second- and third-place finishers.
Baltazar will wrestle at 119, a weight he competed in once this season, while Nelson will be at 103.
"We think Miguel can be a little more competitive at 119," Alley said. "A couple of guys who beat him (Pena and Phillips) were in bigger weight classes."
The Culver wrestlers could have five or more matches. Last year, Baltazar advanced to the semifinals with two wins and then had two consolation matches. He faced opponents from West Virginia twice along with wrestlers from Illinois, Utah and Tennessee.