Blake McNall has only one loss in 35 matches

Gladstone High School wrestling coach Michael Hess says he’s got at least four wrestlers with the potential to place at state as his short-in-numbers Gladiators gear up for this weekend’s 10-team Region 1 Championship Tournament, which will be held at Gladstone on Friday and Saturday.

“We’ll have 10 or 11 wrestlers [participating in the regional tournament] and I’d like to qualify half of them [for the state tournament],” Hess said. “I think Blake [McNall] and Kyle [Kintz] should place for sure. Logan Good has a great opportunity to place as well, and so does Jacheal [McMillon].”

McNall, a junior, placed sixth at state at 113 a year ago. This year he sports an impressive 34-1 record (13 wins by fall), his only loss by 8-6 decision to Jarred Dupont of Madras in early January.

McNall (126) was impressive in last Thursday’s Tri-Valley Conference dual-meet tournament, defeating Ulises Vargas of North Marion by 5-2 decision and Donald Wenlund of Estacada by 9-5 decision.

Wenlund, a senior, has placed second at state the past two seasons, and he was ranked second in the state in the Feb. 13 Richard Rockwell rankings.

Kintz (132), who is also a junior, sports a season record of 33-2, with 21 wins by fall. His only losses were to La Grande’s Ryan Middleton (6-1) when he was wrestling up a weight in early December, and to Logan Romig (loss by fall) of Class 2A Neah-Kah-Nie in late December.

Kintz pinned Estacada’s Gius Hallabaugh in last week’s league meet, and he won by 10-7 decision over North Marion’s Juan Tarula.

Good, a senior, has been no less impressive this season, recording 28 falls en route to a record of 32-5.

“Logan is strong and physical,” said Hess.”He gets someone on his back and he is usually going to pin them.”

McMillon (120), a senior transfer from Hudson Bay High School who got a late start to the season, sports a record of 16-3, with 13 pins.

And the Gladiators have another talented senior in Michael Alger (120), who sports an 18-3 record, with eight falls.

“Michael has been one of the better guys on the team since he was a sophomore,” Hess said. “He and Jacheal are pretty equal. They’ve been first and second in some tournaments and every challenge match is close.”

Injuries will likely keep a couple of Gladstone’s better wrestlers from competing this weekend.

Gladstone senior David Ventura (138) suffered a concussion in last week’s conference meet at Estacada and Hess says he is doubtful for regionals. Ventura sports a season record of 18-16 and he is ranked 10th in the state at his weight.

Gladstone junior Rylan Martin (152) had his season ended by a back injury in mid-January. His record is 18-14.

“Ryan’s been wrestling with his back hurting all season,” Hess observed. “It’s the reason for most of his losses.”

In last week’s dual competition at Estacada, the Gladiators forfeited at at least five weights, but they still defeated Molalla 36-27. They lost to North Marion 51-18 and to Estacada 43-27, spotting those teams 30 points to forfeits — for lack of wrestlers.

Still, the Gladiators finished the season with their best dual meet record in close to two decades, winning 15 dual meets and losing seven.

“These kids have put in a lot of work all year and it’s paying off for them,” Hess said. “I’m happy for them.”

This coming weekend’s regional tournament will be no cakewalk. Tillamook and Scappoose, the top two teams in the 10-team field last year, are ranked eighth and fourth in the state respectively.

Competition begins at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The finals are set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday evening.

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