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Bulldog wrestlers ready to start winter season

by: WOODBURN INDEPENDENT ARCHIVES - After placing fourth at the 5A state wrestling championships last season, Woodburn senior Rodolfo Hernandez will look to return to the tournament at 145 pounds this spring.Woodburn wrestling coach Dusty Price has high hopes heading into this year’s high school wrestling season.

Led by team captains Rodolfo Hernandez, Eddie Bravo, Michel Vasquez and Rafael Vasquez, the Bulldogs are looking to get off to a hot start when they travel to Troutdale on?Dec. 6 to open the season at a tournament hosted by Reynolds High School.

“The Bulldogs have taken the mat this season with a strong group of wrestlers,” said Price. “This team is focused and will be very competitive in league this season.”

Hernandez, who wrestles at 145 pounds, is the most decorated Woodburn grappler after qualifying for the state tournament twice and finishing fourth last year at 132 pounds.

But Price is looking to Bravo (126 pounds), Michel Vasquez (106 pounds) and Rafael Vasquez (138 pounds) to join Hernandez as athletes that could make a run at the state tournament.

“(They) bring an incredible amount of intensity to the room and will be exciting to watch this season,” said Price.

Sophomore Temoatzin Lopez returns to wrestle at 132 pounds after qualifying for the state tournament as a freshman in 2012.

Lopez adds depth to the team, along with Stephan Snegeriff (152 pounds), Brodie Barrick (160 pounds), Fabian Rodriguez (132 pounds) and Carlos Velasco (120 pounds). Newcomer Ivan Casteneda rounds out the team at 152 pounds.

The Bulldogs will spend the first month of action on the road. After the Reynolds tournament, the team moves on to tournaments at North?Bend, Westview and Cleveland high schools before coming home Jan. 11 to host Gervais, North Salem and Rex Putnam.

Woodburn fans will have two other chances to catch Bulldog wrestling when the team hosts Lebanon Jan. 29 and Silverton Feb. 12.

The district championship will be held at Corvallis High School Feb. 21 before the Mid-Willamette’s top qualifiers move on to the state tournament a week later.