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Gibson named Outstanding Wrestler after winning the 138-pound district title

JO WHEAT - North Marion senior Brandon Gibson (138 pounds) was one of four Huskies to win a district title on Saturday, joining teammates Russel Stigall (132), Matt Carrillo (182) and Ramon Organiz (195). 
The North Marion wrestling team will be sending eight representatives to the 2018 4A State Wrestling Championships this week after placing fourth overall in the Special District 1 Championships tournament on Saturday.

The two-day tournament, hosted at Sweet Home High School on Friday and Saturday, saw a number of highlights come out of the Husky wrestling program, led by senior Brandon Gibson being named Outstanding Wrestler for the smaller weight classes.

Gibson was one of five North Marion wrestlers to wrestle in the district championship match, four of whom went on to claim district titles.

Brandon Gibson , 1st — 138 pounds

Gibson's quest to capture a state title reaches its crescendo after the 138-pound senior ripped his way through the district bracket on Friday and Saturday, earning Outstanding Wrestler honors in the process.

Gibson entered the tournament seeded second and took less than four minutes to wrestle his way to the semifinals. After opening with a one-minute pin of Elmira's Kenyon Baldree, Gibson took down Sisters sophomore Anthony Randolph in the second round to move on to the semis.

There he faced No. 3-seed Justin Kurtz, the Sweet Home senior who placed sixth in last year's state championship. Gibson took him down by 12-2 major decision to advance to the finals against top-seeded sophomore Travis Thorpe.

A surprise finalist in last year's 126-pound state championship as a freshman, Thorpe bumped up a pair of weight classes for his second year and, like Gibson, cruised his way to the finals via three straight pinfall victories.

But Gibson dominated the match, defeating Thorpe by 13-3 major decision to capture his second straight district title. Gibson will be making his third straight trip to the state championships after placing third in the 132-pound bracket as a junior and failing to place as a sophomore at 126 pounds.

JO WHEAT - North Marion junior Russel Stigall won his second straight district title and returns to the State Wrestling Championships for the third consecutive season, where he's looking to win another state title after bringing home the 120-pound 4A title last year.
Russel Stigall, 1st — 132 pounds

Like Gibson, Stigall had a relatively smooth trip to the district championship circle. The reigning 120-pound state champion, Stigall entered the district tournament as the top-seeded wrestler in the 132-pound bracket and imposed his will on his opponents over the two-day tournament.

Stigall scored pins in his opening two matches, defeating Elmira freshman Ayden Wolgamott in 3:53 and Philomath freshman Sonny Magnuson in 1:36 to advance to the semifinals.

There he thoroughly controlled fifth-seeded junior Bryce Olsen of Sutherlin, needing just more than three minutes to build a 17-2 lead for the technical fall victory and a third straight trip to the district finals.

Stigall defeated second-seeded freshman Noah Thompson of Cascade by 9-3 decision to win his second consecutive district title and move on to the state tournament, where he is looking to add another state championship trophy to the family coffers.

The Stigall family has eight state wrestling titles between Russel, his three older brothers and his father, Ford. If Russel picks up a second title at this year's tournament, he'll join brothers Jake and Lane as multi-time state champions.

JO WHEAT - North Marion senior Matt Carrillo won his first district title on Saturday, defeating James Van Agtmael by 10-6 decision to qualify for the 2018 State Wrestling Championship. This marks Carrillo's third trip to state. Last year, Carrillo placed fourth overall in the 4A 182-pound bracket.
Matt Carrillo, 1st — 182 pounds

Another North Marion senior with title aspirations, Carrillo needed just three matches to add to the Huskies' district title trophy case this year.

The top-seeded wrestler at 182 pounds, Carrillo opened the tournament with a bye and advanced to the semifinals with a 3:46 pinfall over Sutherlin senior Korbyn Jones. He defeated fourth-seeded sophomore Matthew Clark of Cascade due to injury in the second round, earning him a title match against Cascade senior James Van Agtmael.

The second-seed in the tournament, Van Agtmael won last year's 195-pound district title and went on to place fifth in the state championships, defeating Carrillo's teammate Ramon Organiz along the way.

Carrillo was able to give Organiz a bit of vengeance by taking down Van Agtmael 10-6 in championship match, making up for last year's district tournament where Carrillo fell in the championship.

Carrillo is making his third trip to state and is looking to improve upon last year's fourth-place finish in the 182-pound bracket. He qualified for state as a sophomore, going 1-2 to finish unplaced.

JO WHEAT - After winning his first district title in the 195-pound bracket on Saturday, North Marion senior Ramon Organiz is making his second trip to state, where he's looking to improve upon last year's sixth-place finish.Ramon Organiz, 1st — 195 pounds

The Huskies' final district champion, Organiz also had a bye to the quarterfinals, where he needed just 1:03 to pin Sweet Home junior Levi Baird and advance to the semifinals.

There he defeated sixth-seeded junior Zachary Lepre of Sutherlin by 6-2 decision and went on to face top-seeded senior Bryce Coulter of Sweet Home, a state finalist in the 182-pound bracket a year ago.

Organiz unseated Coulter with a 7-1 decision to bring home his first district title and punch his ticket to state for the second consecutive year.

Organiz placed sixth at state as a junior in 2017.

JO WHEAT - North Marion's 2018 state qualifiers are (above back row, from left) Ramon Organiz, Matt Carrillo, Alec Roberts, Brandon Gibson, Ulises Maldonado, (front row, from left) Saul Tarula, Justin McConkey and Russel Stigall.
Alec Roberts, 2nd — 170 pounds

The fifth member of the North Marion wrestling team to reach to the district championship match, Roberts took down three opponents by pinfall before falling to top-seeded sophomore Nich James of Sweet Home by 9-1 major decision.

Roberts entered the tournament seeded second in the 170-pound bracket and defeated Stayton senior Ethan Howard in 1:43 to open the competition. Roberts needed even less time in the quarterfinals, pinning Sweet Home junior Damion Schocker in just 49 seconds to move on to the semifinals against Yamhill-Carlton senior Zachary Culver.

Like the two before him, the third-seeded Culver fell by pinfall, with Roberts taking the victory midway through the third round to advance to the finals match against James.

Roberts returns to the state tournament after qualifying in the 170-pound bracket last year.

Saul Tarula, 4th — 138 pounds

Tarula will be making his second consecutive trip to the state championships after qualifying in the 138-pound bracket as a sophomore last year.

The fourth-seeded wrestler in the district tournament, Tarula advanced to the semifinals with a pair of decision victories in the first two rounds of competition before falling to the top-seeded Thorpe to move to the consolation side of the bracket.

He rebounded with a 10-6 decision over sixth-seeded sophomore Jacob Dunn of Cottage Grove to qualify for the consolation finals, but fell to third-seeded senior Justin Kurtz of Sweet Home by 8-6 sudden victory to place fourth overall.

Tarula went unranked at last year's tournament, but scored a huge upset pinfall over second-seeded Austin Weeks of Tillamook, going on to finish 2-2 overall.

Ulises Maldonado, 5th — 160 pounds

A senior, Maldonado makes his state tournament debut this week after finishing fifth at the district championship tournament on Saturday. After opening districts with a quick pinfall, Maldonado fell in the quarterfinals and worked his way up through the consolation side of the bracket.

He defeated fourth-seeded Elmira junior Rowdy Ramirez by 7-5 decision to earn the district's final berth to the state tournament.

Justin McConkey, 5th — 106 pounds

The Huskies' lone freshman going to state, McConkey earned a fifth-place finish in the 106-pound bracket on Saturday.

After opening the district tournament with a first-round loss in the quarterfinals, McConkey scored back-to-back victories to advance to the consolation semifinals.

He went on to defeat sixth-seeded freshman Matthew Carrillo of Sutherlin by 6-3 decision in the fifth-place match to earn his trip to state.

The 2018 State Wrestling Championships will take place Friday and Saturday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

Phil Hawkins can be reached at 503-765-1194 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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