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Banks wrestlers take third place at tournament

Braves crown four individual champs at the annual Bill Hagerty Invitational

The Banks wrestling team turned in its best performance of the season on Dec. 17 at the Bill Hagerty Invitational in Nestucca, winning four individual championships and getting six other wrestlers onto the medal stand.

'The kids wrestled extremely well at the tournament,' said Banks head coach Dan Herb, whose squad had the most first-place finishes of any team at the event.

'The kids wrestled real well all in all. We had lots of placers, just didn't have the numbers to win the tourney, but we'll get there. Hopefully we can keep improving and peak in February when it counts.'

Bubba Brown led the way for Banks, winning a title at 220 pounds with a gritty 3-2 decision in the finals against Andrew Garcia of Gervais, the state's No. 1 ranked 220-pounder at the 3A level.

'Bubba wrestled a very smart and physical match in the finals,' Herb said. '(He) had probably the toughest bracket in the tourney.'

Banks' other three individual championships came in equally impressive fashion. Collin Purinton won a title at 106 pounds, Trevor Thompson took first place at 138 and Travis Thompson was crowned at 145.

'Collin, Trevor and Travis all pinned their way through the finals,' Herb said.

Purinton pinned Blake McNall of Gladstone at the 1:15 mark in the 106-pound finals to capture his first tournament championship of the year. The freshman is currently 7-3 on the season and ranked No. 2 in the state at the 4A level.

Travis Thompson, also a freshman, pinned his way into the 145-pound finals and ended things with a quick pin of Nestucca's Hunter Boehler. Thompson is 10-1 so far this season and has climbed the state rankings to No. 8.

'Travis has been tremendous (this year), winning convincingly against some tough kids,' Herb said.

Trevor Thompson rolled into the finals at 138 pounds, where he pinned Josh Berteaux of Ilwaco (Wash.) in just 49 seconds.

'Trevor wrestled his best tournament of the year,' Herb said. 'It was nice to see him win it.'

Banks narrowly missed out on one other individual title, with Kyle Douglas losing in the 285-pound finals to Zach Motsinger of Tillamook. Earlier in the tournament, Douglas upset Nestucca's Sam Kenegy, the No. 2-ranked wrestler in Class 2A.

'Kyle is really starting to figure out how to wrestle at heavyweight,' Herb said.

Elsewhere, Banks got a third-place finish from Liam Landers at 126 pounds, a third-place finish from Adam Ezell at 152, a fourth-place finish from Justin Purinton at 120, a fourth-place finish from Clay Kemper at 152 and a sixth-place finish from Bennet Roberts at 160.

Landers wrapped up third place at the tournament with an 11-6 decision over Caleb Deno of Gladstone. Ezell and Kemper squared off against each other in the 152-pound consolation match, with Ezell prevailing by a score of 18-15.

Purinton finished fourth after losing to Ilwaco's Hunter Stockfleth in the 120-pound consolation match, and Roberts took sixth place following a loss to Gladstone's Kyle Betner.

'I thought the kids wrestled very tough,' Herb said. 'It was a good way to head into break.'

The Braves took some time off for winter break but will return to the mat on Thursday for a non-league dual meet against Estacada.