Keltin Boykin's wrestling success continues in new surroundings

Although the North Marion wrestling team has yet to debut this season, at least one former Husky is getting a chance to shine early in the season on a new team.

Senior Keltin Boykin, a key member of last year’s Husky team, transferred to Canby High School and has been wrestling for the Cougars this winter season.

He needed just 49 seconds to make a first impression.

The North Marion transfer had already won over his teammates and coaches in practice, but he made his presence known to fans and others during the Canby wrestling team’s home opener Wednesday.

The senior overpowered his opponent in the 195-pound bout, earning one of seven first-round pins to lead the Cougars in a 55-22 rout of Troutdale-Reynolds.

For Boykin, who started at Canby at the beginning of the school year, the change of scenery meant a clean slate.

“I wanted something new, something fresh,” he said. “I got to the point where I was seeing the same halls over and over again. I wanted a new education, new people, new friends. The bonus is the (wrestling) program — the program’s pretty awesome. North Marion will always be in my heart for wrestling. But Canby has a great program, no doubt about it.”

Just a few duals into the season, Boykin (3-1) has already contributed in a big way.

He won two of his three matches at the Ron James Round Robin in Hillsboro to start the year, defeating Gresham-Barlow’s Johnathan Tenny and Liberty’s Javier Picard by fall. His only loss of the tournament came in a tough 3-2 decision against Hillsboro’s Ty Cavender.

In the Cougars’ home opener against Reynolds, Boykin made a quick maneuver and had Dalton Holmes on his back in less than a minute.

“He’s a great addition,” Canby coach Jeremy Ensrud said. “And he fills a great weight for us.

Outside of our heavyweights, we always have trouble filling our upper weights. ... He wrestles like a little guy, with that fast-movement stuff, as a big guy. That’s always going to be an edge. He got in a rolling scramble match against the Barlow kid, turned right on top of him and got the pin. And it was kind of the same thing (against Holmes). That’s huge for a big guy.”

Part of what cost Boykin in his six-minute loss to Cavender was fatigue. He was a member of the state-semifinalist Canby football team, so he didn’t have time to get in wrestling shape before the winter season began.

Assistant coach Darren Monen and practice partner Jacob Posey (171), who won by 6-1 decision against Reynolds, have served as catalysts in Boykin’s return to form.

“They’ve been kicking my butt,” Boykin said. “Coach Monen has definitely been putting the work on me when he’s in there. He’s like a 220-pound backpack.

“(Posey) had a two-week advance over me, and he makes me better every day. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am now. He kicked me into shape.”

Boykin’s name wasn’t announced frequently during football season — he rushed 15 times for 100 yards and logged 12 tackles — but he fought through a nagging ankle injury to bolster the Cougars’ rushing attack as a path-clearing fullback.

His physical abilities have made him a standout athlete away from the gridiron as well.

On the baseball diamond at North Marion last spring, Boykin hit .340 with 12 runs and nine RBI and received first-team all-league recognition as a designated hitter.

He has also become a standout wrestler. But Boykin’s goal of contending for a state championship at North Marion last year was stymied by an untimely bout with pneumonia.

After winning district and regional titles at 182 pounds to snag the No. 2 seed at the Class 4A championships, Boykin lost his first-round match against Crook County junior Curtis Crouch by 12-4 decision. He then pinned South Umpqua senior Lane Marsh to stay alive before being eliminated in a 12-7 decision at the hands of Baker senior Stephen Spenst.

“It wasn’t very fun for me,” he said.

It was evident that Boykin belonged among the best competitors in 4A. Exactly how he’ll fare in top-tier 6A contests remains to be seen.

Boykin said jumping up to the large-school athletic classification has motivated him in his training and conditioning.

“There’s definitely a difference,” he said. “You can tell that there’s a weight program established at every 6A school. Coming here, I said, ‘If I’m going to be like everybody else, I’ve got to be bigger, better and stronger.’”

Ensrud, though, didn’t sound worried about Boykin’s prospects this season.

“He’s tough,” the coach said. “He’s very athletic, he’s got great mat instructs, and he’s a senior but he’s still improving. I think he’ll be successful.”

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