by: BILLY GATES/THE PIONEER - Madras wrestler Jace Oppenlander tries to escape the single-leg hold of La Pine's Thorin Wilson. MHS picks up dual win against La Pine

While Mother Nature raged on Central Oregon late last week with snow, snow and more snow, it couldn’t stop some wrestling.

Madras High School used a streak of falls to earn a 48-33 win against La Pine on Thursday at the Buffalo Dome in Class 4A dual wrestling action.

The Buffs led from wire to wire, and after they opened the dual with four straight pins, Madras freshman Jace Oppenlander faced off against one of the best 120-pound wrestlers in the region, La Pine senior Thorin Wilson.

It was the only match that went to a decision, and while Wilson claimed a 7-1 win, Oppenlander still put up a good fight.

“Jace is getting better every time he wrestles him (Wilson),” Madras head coach Ron Oliver said. “Wilson is one of the kids by: BILLY GATES/THE PIONEER - Madras wrestler Jarred Dupont ties up the arm of a La Pine wrestler during the teams' dual at the Buffalo Dome.Jace needs to beat to get to state, and every match Jace gets better.”

Wilson is currently the No. 9-ranked wrestler at 120 pounds by the Oregon Wrestling Forum, and has pinned Oppenlander in earlier action this season, so the bout going the distance this time shows how much Oppenlander has improved during his high school rookie season.

“Jace is moving his feet really well and staying aggressive,” Oliver said. “He’s doing almost everything he needs to to beat guys like Wilson.”

Another wrestler Oliver was impressed with during the dual was 220-pounder Hayden Manu. Manu opened the bout with a first-round pin of Gage Yeager, and after not wrestling last season, Oliver thinks he could be one of the guys left at the end of regionals.

“He’s more confident right now, and just wants to win,” Oliver said. “He’s a good, athletic kid and it’s nice to have a guy stepping in and filling that weight for us. We can depend on him a little bit now.”

With Manu’s pin to open the evening, heavyweight Miguell Sevilla followed suit with a pin in the first round. When the lineup turned over to the lightweights, Ian Oppenlander (106) and Bryce Vincent (113) continued the Madras dominance with first-round pins.

Jarred Dupont and Daniel Ramirez also recorded first-round pins for the Buffs, and Trevor Parsons had to work a little harder for his, but earned a fall in the second round.

With regionals starting Feb. 22 at La Pine High School, the Buffs have one more event before they attempt to qualify anyone for the state meet, Feb. 28-March 1 in Portland.

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