Garner wins Northwest Regionals
It seems this has been Prescott Garner's year.
When he competed at 119 pounds, the West Linn wrestler was absolutely unbeatable this season, a claim he proved with ease when he won the state title at that weight in February.
And the 119-pound Garner continued his roll last weekend in Battle Ground, Wash., when he won Northwest regional championships in both freestyle and Greco Roman. That qualified Garner once again for the national championships, which will be held this summer in Fargo, N.D.
Much like he did during the high school season, including districts and state, Garner was simply dominating in last weekend's regionals, which drew wrestlers from all over the West.
Garner wrestled nine times in the two disciplines and he won them all. Six of those victories came on pins and the other three were technical falls. For the entire tournament, he gave up just nine points.
Garner achieved similar results during the high school season. But what makes last weekend's effort so impressive was the fact that the competition was a step above what he faced at the state tournament. Five of his opponents last weekend had placed in their respective state tournaments earlier this year. But none of them really had much of a chance against the West Linn grappler.
He started the freestyle event with an 82-second pin against Washington's Jesus Torres. In the next round, he scored an easy technical fall over John Cushman, who was a state qualifier in the Washington meet. That was followed by another easy technical fall over Chris Padilla of California.
Garner then ended his round-robin competition by pinning Washington's Sam Bauer in just under four minutes. Bauer took second place in his state's 3A meet this season.
That victory moved Garner into the freestyle championship, and he won that match with an 80-second pin against Kellen Aura of California. Aura was a second-place finisher in his state meet, which combines all class levels. Aura's biggest achievement probably came last year when he finished second in the nation to Newberg's Marty Eng.
The following day in the Greco Roman competition, Garner looked as though he was starting fresh as he registered a first-round pin in 23 seconds against Washington's Tanner Teeples, who finished third in his state's 4A this year.
Garner followed that with a 15-3 technical fall over Washington's Jason Baker. Then in his last round-robin match, Garner claimed a pin in the third minute against Bauer, who he had beaten the day before in the freestyle competition.
That moved Garner into the championship, and he didn't disappoint as he pinned Jacob Lauderdale in three minutes. Earlier in the year, Lauderdale had won a state title at the 1A level, and he also beat Aura, a freestyle finalist, in the Greco Roman competition.
Garner will try to keep his roll going when he competes later this month in the state freestyle and Greco championships, which will be held at Roseburg High School.
He also plans to wrestle in the Oregon Open, which is open to anyone, including college wrestlers.