Alger, Finch, McNall and Good aim to make state, and do something when they get there

by: JOHN DENNY - Gladstone High wrestlers (front, from left) Blake McNall and Wyatt Finch, and (back, from left) Michael Alger and Logan Good have high expectations as they gear up for their end of the season tournaments. Gladstone coach Jon Wolf says he believes all four have a great chance to qualify for the Class 4A State Tournament.The numbers are down in wrestling at Gladstone High School, but Gladstone wrestling coach Jon Wolf likes what he’s seen from the athletes who did turn out for wrestling this year.

“I’m a little disappointed we didn’t have more big kids turn out,” Wolf said. “But the kids who did come out have been working hard and they’re doing really good.”

Wolf says that Gladstone has been forfeiting at the five heaviest weights most of the season because of a lack of athletes able to compete at the varsity level at those weights. Still he says he has perhaps as many as seven wrestlers who are potential state qualifiers.

“I think that Michael Alger, Wyatt Finch, Blake McNall and Logan Good have a great chance [of qualifying for state],” Wolf said. “We’ve got guys right on the bubble, like Kyle Kintz and Adam Taylor. And you never know. We’ve got some other guys who could surprise me.”

In order to make state, the athletes must first place in the top three or four at the Tri-Valley Conference District Tournament, which is schedule for Gladstone on Saturday, Feb. 9. They’ll then advance to the 10-team regional tournament, which is scheduled for Scappoose High School on Saturday, Feb. 16. Those who place fourth or higher at the regional tournament will advance to state.

Teams eligible to qualify athletes for state at the regionals include: Gladstone, Estacada, Molalla, North Marion, Tillamook, Banks, Yamhill-Carlton, Astoria, Roosevelt, Seaside and Scappoose.

Gladstone is in a tough region. Tillamook and Scappoose both made the semifinals of last week’s Oregon Wrestling Classic, while Madras and North Marion both bowed out in the quarterfinals.

Still, the Gladiators’ top wrestlers should hold their own in the Tri-Valley Conference. They battle North Marion and Estacada at Estacada tonight in their first TVC match of the season.

Next Wednesday (Jan. 30) Gladstone and Estacada vie at Molalla; and on Wednesday, Feb. 6, Gladstone and Molalla vie at North Marion. Madras and La Salle are not fielding wrestling teams this year.

Alger (106), McNall (106/113), Finch (113) and Good (152) have been impressive in matches to date. Through competition last week, Finch sported a season record of 17-3; Alger, 17-4; McNall, 13-3; and Good, 9-5.

Finch is a senior and he is a defending TVC champion. He placed third at regionals and advanced to the state tournament last year at 106.

Finch, who says he put in a lot of time running and lifting weights in the off-season, says he has goals of not only defending his TVC crown, but also of taking first place at regionals and at the Class 4A State Tournament.

Alger, a junior, was a TVC runner-up and he placed sixth at regionals at 113 last year.

“My goals are first at district, first at regionals, and a medal at state,” Alger said.

McNall, a sophomore, was TVC runner-up to Finch at 106 in 2012. He placed fourth at regionals and advanced to state.

“I only weighed 100 pounds last year,” McNall said. “I’ve put on some pounds and I’ve gotten a lot better over the summer. I’m a lot closer to Wyatt now.”

McNall, who has wrestled since he was seven years of age, says his goals are “to win district and regionals and place at the state tournament.”

“I wrestled freestyle and Greco, I lifted weights and did a lot of running in the off-season, and I’ve improved a lot,” Good said. “My goal this year is to go to state, and win it.”

Kintz placed fourth in the TVC and sixth at regionals at 120 as a freshman; sophomore Rylan Martin (138) placed fourth in the TVC at 132 last year as a freshman.

McNall, Finch, Kintz and Good were impressive at the recent 16-team Pacific Rim Tournament in Seaside, placing first, third, third and fifth respectively.

Among others showing promise as varsity performers this year have been senior Tyler Giles (138), junior David Ventura (132), sophomores Dijaun Davis (145) and Adam Taylor (160), and freshmen Angel Orozco (152) and Tim Kolbert (170).

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