Four Sprague wrestlers win titles in revised state tournament

Four Sprague wrestlers win titles in revised state tournament

The Sprague Olympians were able to overcome an uncertain season with a program tying second-place finish at the state wrestling tournament that was put on by the Oregon Wrestling Association.

Newberg won the state tournament with 490.5 points, while Sprague came in a distant second with 261.5 points.

OSAA canceled the traditional state tournament this year due to the pandemic but gave schools the option to hold their own tournament in its place.

The Oregon Wrestling Association (OWA) stepped up to give wrestlers an opportunity to still compete in a state tournament although several schools and wrestlers opted out from participating.

At the Class 6A level, OWA partnered with Newberg High School to host the tournament in Newberg, which went smoothly despite the record heat that encapsulated the Willamette Valley last weekend.

A lot of credit to Newberg and the Oregon Wrestling Association for putting this on,” Sprague head coach Nolan Harris said. “I think (the tournament) was run really well and Newberg did a great job. The logistics to put on this event and host it successfully while also dealing with the added element of heat.”

“They even found a way to get fans in there and they had a system to make sure they were within the guidelines and did everything they had to do within the rules. I appreciate it that and I know our wrestling community appreciated that.

A new kind of tournament

Sprague came into the tournament fresh off winning the Mountain Valley Conference district tournament and sent 16 wrestlers to the state tournament.

At state, they had four state champions and six in the finals.

“I thought our kids performed extremely well,” Harris said. “We had eight in the semifinals, six in the finals and four state champs.”

Winning state championships were Brayden Boyd (120 lbs.), Riley Davis (160 lbs.), Brook Byers (182 lbs.) and David Sherman (220 lbs.)

Cole Steketee (220 lbs.) lost in the state championship to Sherman and Josh Camillo also finished second (145 lbs.).

Bo Davis (126 lbs.) and Owen Scott (195 lbs.) came in fifth place and Elijah Byers (138 lbs.) and Simon Artunyon (152 lbs.) finished sixth in their respective weight classes.

Brayden Boyd and Brook Byers each won their second state championship, although in different weight classes from last year. Boyd won his at 106 pounds and Byers won his at 160.

“I was smaller than everyone leading up to the tournament,” Boyd said. “All that went away when I had my first couple of matches, and I was doing well. I wanted to challenge myself so it really felt good that I could accomplish that. I felt I could motivate my team and be the first one out in my finals match and get the rest of the guys going in their finals matches.”

The pandemic forced the wrestling season from the winter to the spring for the first time in the state’s history.

“We didn’t really know what the season was going to be like at first and whether we were going to have a state tournament at the end,” Boyd said. “Later in the season we got word that we were going to have a state tournament that was going to be put on by Oregon Wrestling Association, so that was exciting and gave us hope that we could compete and show off what we’ve been working on all season.”

Sprague graduates just two seniors this year so will have a loaded roster next year with a chance to make another run at a top state placing.

“I’m excited for the group coming back,” Harris said. “We had six state finalists and all six return. It’s just a matter of keeping everyone on track and keeping them motivated.”

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