Century's Brennan Baccay beats Joey Rodriguez for a state title at 126 pounds
PORTLAND Everyone knows who Brennan Baccay is now.
Five weeks ago, the Century junior was seeded only eighth when he stormed to the 126-pound title at Resers Tournament of Champions. And despite an already impressive season, last Friday, he entered the Class 6A wrestling state tournament at Veterans Memorial Coliseum as just the No. 3 seed.
That did little to faze him.
Coming in, I felt good, Baccay said. I just told myself I wasnt going to lose, but I was just going to give it my 110 percent.
Baccay certainly did give it his best. In fact, he made sure that he not only put himself on the map but he also cemented himself to it on Saturday, knocking off rival Joey Rodriguez of Hilhi for the fourth straight time this winter to become the 126-pound state champion.
With the victory, which came in a 7-3 decision, the affable and soft-spoken Baccay became the Jaguars first individual titlist since 2010, when Jared Bridgewater won at 285 pounds in Class 5A. Though several other wrestlers from Hillsboro-area schools made championship finals last weekend, Baccay was the only one to walk away from the mat as champion.
Great, was how Baccay responded when asked how it felt to win, adding, Its just a humbling experience.
As they had at Resers, Rodriguez and Baccay put themselves on a championship match collision course at the Coliseum. Baccay breezed to a major decision and two pins in the first three rounds. Rodriguez took a tougher path to the showdown after entering the tournament unseeded. He opened with a decision and a major decision in his first two rounds before punching his finals ticket with an 11-4 upset of top-seed Grants Pass senior Tyler Thomas in the semifinals.
But Baccay got him for the fourth consecutive time in the final. After the last whistle in the final sounded, Baccay said, he felt glad and thankful. He acknowledged a pretty sizeable cheering contingent, which included his parents, plus some aunts, uncles, cousins and even his grandfather, who had traveled from Hawaii for the competition.
It was great, Baccay said about having his grandfather in attendance. It just made me want to go even harder.
Baccay adds to the family wrestling legacy, as he said two uncles won state championships in Hawaii, where Baccay has spent parts of his formative years. He acknowledged those roots by gesturing to his family with the shaka hand signal and wearing a Hawaiian flag draped over his shoulders during the awards ceremony.
As for Rodriguez, though he did not leave with a title, the runner-up finish was his best placement ever at the meet. He took third at 120 pounds in 2013.