Also: Milwaukie qualifies six wrestlers for state

SANDY — Putnam sophomore 220-pounder Juan Hernandez turned more than a few heads at last weekend’s Northwest Oregon Conference District Wrestling Tournament, winning first place in the 220-pound weight division.

Hernandez, a first-year wrestler who was unseeded, upset Sherwood junior Martin Layna in the finals, pinning Layna midway through the third round.

“It was an amazing effort,” Putnam coach Rob Hungerford said. “Layna threw Juan in a head-and-arm early in their match. Juan spent a minute and a half of the first round on his back, fighting off a fall. Then he came back and pinned Layna with a minute to go....

“The coaches can’t remember the last time a [Rex Putnam] sophomore won district. If he continues to improve, Juan could become a three-time champion.”

Hernandez was Putnam’s only district champion, but the Kingsmen had two other wrestlers qualify for state through top four finishes at the regionals. Senior Kyle Gorsage placed third at 138 and sophomore Doug Fry placed fourth at 182.

Other Putnam placers included: freshman River Meyer, fifth at 152; sophomore Vince McFarland, sixth at 170; and freshman Aaron Dolfay, sixth at 285.

Milwaukie made a pretty decent showing as a team, scoring 158-1/2 points and placing fourth — behind Sandy (408-1/2 points), Liberty (260) and Sherwood (245) — in the district tournament team scoring.

Wilsonville (145), Putnam (117), Parkrose (107-1/2) and St. Helens (84-1/2) rounded out the scoring.

The Mustangs had 10 wrestlers place and six of them made state qualifying by placing in the top four in their weight divisions.

“I thought at best we’d have 11 placers and qualify seven kids for state,” Milwaukie coach Robert Lippi said. “So we had a pretty good district meet.”

Milwaukie state qualifiers included: junior Brenton Oten (170), second; junior Robert Akil (160), third; and sophomores Chris Burton (126) and Clay Bispham (195) and seniors Mitchell Ponnay (113) and Eric Lippi (152), fourth.

Three Mustangs came a match away from advancing. Junior Zander Carlson (120) and sophomores Justin Edwards (126) and Kenan Ragan (170) placed fifth.

Milwaukie senior Rene Ramos was sixth at 220.

“Brenton Oten was the biggest surprise for us,” coach Lippi said. “He upset Sandy’s Devin White in the semifinals to make the finals.”

Oten pinned White late in the second round. White, a junior, was seeded second for the district tournament.

Although he only placed sixth, Ramos also pulled off a big upset, defeating Liberty senior Nathaniel Machado in his second match, 3-2.

Machado, who was seeded second, had handled Ramos in a takedown-fest, winning 29-15 when the two wrestlers met in dual competition.

The Mustangs had another wrestler pull off an upset at 126, where Burton defeated Sandy’s Steven Patton in his first match. Patton was the top-seeded wrestler at 126.

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