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Despite missing several key wrestlers over the weekend, the Woodburn Bulldogs placed in the middle of the pack in the Southridge Invitational on Saturday.

Two of Woodburn’s top wrestlers – seniors Rodolfo Hernandez and Stephan Snegireff – did not travel with the team to Beaverton, but the Bulldogs still placed fifth out of nine teams, an accomplishment that speaks loudly about the team’s depth, said coach Dusty Price.

“The team showed that it has more depth throughout its lineup,” said Price.

Price was particularly pleased with teammates Michel Vazquez and Luis Vazquez, who were the first of two pairs of Woodburn wrestlers who competed against each other in their respective weight brackets.

The two Vazquezes wrestled in the 106-pound finals, with Michel coming out on top, in part due to his superior strength, said Price.

“Michel is incredibly strong and powerful,” said Price. “Pound for pound, he is the strongest athlete at Woodburn High School.”

Despite being a first-year wrestler, Luis has quickly grasped the fundamentals of the sport and is improving at an incredible rate, said Price.

“He hits every move when he is supposed to and is an all-around strong wrestler,” said Price.

Also finishing in second was 195-pounder Jon Uriarte, who qualified for the finals with a pair of second-period pins against wrestlers from Tigard and Milwaukie.

“Jon is a great kid working hard his senior year,” said Price, who noted Uriarte’s commitment to academics as well. “He is a very committed student-athlete and has been working hard on his Gates Scholarship application.”

Carlos Velasco and Temoatzin Lopez also competed against each other in the 120-pound bracket, wrestling for third and fourth place, respectively. Velasco narrowly won by two points over Lopez.

Marcos Santos had a successful outing in the 126-pound bracket, finishing 4-2 on the day and placing fifth. Santos’ two best matches were won by technical fall, with a score of 16-0 and 15-0, respectively.

“He will definitely be an exciting wrestler to watch this season,” said Price.

Rafael Vazquez wrestled at 145 pounds in place of Hernandez and finished sixth at the tournament.

“He is a young wrestler with enormous potential and has won several big wins this season by never giving up despite trailing in a match,” said Price.

The most exciting match of the day, according to Price, was Hirvin Cortez’s match against a Southridge opponent in the 152-pound bracket. Cortez opened the match with an attempted double leg shot, but was unable to take down his rival. After preventing a pair of throws, Cortez took his opponent to the mat, got behind him and turned him over for a pin in 1:16.

“It was unbelievably exciting to see him win after so much hard work as a beginning wrestler,” said Price.

The Bulldogs travel to Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis Wednesday. The team has a one-week break between competitions before playing host to Lebanon on Jan. 29.

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