Wrestling: Woodburn stays perfect in league
The Woodburn wrestling team is making a name for itself among the best in the Mid-Willamette Conference after sweeping a four-way dual in Crescent Valley on Thursday to improve its league record to 4-0 this season.
Led by undefeated showings from the team's core of Wesley Vasquez (126 pounds), Freddy Hernandez (132), Giovanni Bravo (145), Gerardo Gutierrez (160) and Chris Serrano (182), the Bulldogs scored a 38-28 victory over Central, followed by a 42-34 win against Crescent Valley before finishing the night beating South Albany 49-30.
"As a team on Thursday night, we did our best at the four-way dual," 120-pound junior Aiden Lopez said. Lopez dropped his first two matches of the night before finishing on a high note with a first-round pin over South Albany's Eddie Torres.
Jan. 6 at Clackamas High School
The strong showing against the league opposition allowed Woodburn to carry its momentum into the weekend, where the team traveled to the Bill Geister Tournament in Clackamas. Despite being the lone 5A team from Oregon, the Bulldogs held their own against the 6A competition, finishing second in the team standings with 172.5 points behind tournament champion Century.
"Overall the team did great work," 120-pound junior Sergio Mendez said. "We got a few new guys up on that mat and they want to wrestle and are willing to learn. Not just them, but the whole team. I see improvement and great potential in the Woodburn High School wrestlers."
Mendez was joined by Hernandez as one of two Bulldog wrestlers to win their respective brackets, leading a brigade of 120-pounders from the Woodburn wrestling team that finished first, second and fourth.
Mendez and teammate Kaden Christiansen each advanced to the championship match, where Mendez won to take home his tournament title. Hector Paniagua finished fourth in the bracket.
"My first match was really fun because I was able to work in a few near falls and push the pace the way I wanted to, then tech fall him," Mendez said. "My second match was my favorite because my opponent made me work for the win. I went out and wrestled a hard six minutes working escapes, takedowns and pins."
Fellow bracket champion Hernandez had the match of the day, according to Woodburn head coach Dusty Price. Down several points with 20 seconds left in the final period, Price told Hernandez to cut his opponent loose, sacrificing a point to get another opportunity at a takedown. In the final seconds, Hernandez was able to generate another takedown, turn his opponent and secure the pin with one second left on the clock.
Joining Christiansen as a runner up was Gutierrez, who finished second in the 152-pound bracket. Vasquez, Bravo, Serrano and Israel Paniagua (160) each won their third-place match, while Hector Paniagua was joined by Angel Acevedo (138) and Danny Arreguin (285) as fourth-place finishers. William Sandoval placed fifth at 132 pounds.
The Bulldogs now turn their attention toward their only home league dual of the season when they welcome the Silverton Foxes to Woodburn High School at 7 p.m. Wednesday for senior night.
Woodburn finishes the week on Saturday at the Southridge Invitational.