Last year, The Dalles scored 45 points and placed 16th out of 20 schools at the Muilenburg Wrestling Tournament in La Grande.
This time around, the Riverhawks racked up 21 wins from eight different grapplers, 15 by pinfall, JR Scott and Mauricio Carrera each placed, and the team totaled 78 points for 13th place in the 18-team tournament.
TD head coach Paul Beasley liked seeing his group improve on the 18-win effort last week in Oregon City, which goes to show that the program is making the necessary improvements to compete with several high-profile programs.
“We are definitely getting better each season and each week for that matter,” Beasley said. “We have 22 kids out, including three girls, so the kids are coming out. We are very excited and enthused to have a tough group of student-athletes and a very hard-working team.”
Scott, who went 5-0 in Oregon City, added four more victories to his totals, but lost in the 195-pound semifinals to drop into the third-place match.
Following a bye, Scott made quick work of his first two opponents with opening-round pinfalls in a combined 51 seconds.
The senior won by fall over Alex Grant (Bishop Kelly) in 20 seconds, and he dispatched of Jesse Maldonado (Baker) at the 31-second mark in the quarterfinals.
Scott then ran into Christopher Woodworth (La Grande) and ended up losing by decision, 12-6.
In the consolation bracket, Scott claimed a 4-0 decision over Patton Wright (Mac-Hi) to move into the third and fourth place match versus Pendleton’s Aiden Henderson.
Scott used just 17 seconds in the second round for the pin to end his two-day run in third place.
“JR continues to his new weight class,” Beasley said. “He fought to his feet, was a punisher on top and wrestled all six minutes. This kid is highly-motivated and has been a leader to our young team.”
Starting out with nine victories in 10 matches is a step in the right direction, but Scott admitted that he is far from being at that state-level he expects from himself.
“My goal at this tournament was to get on the mat and end each match as soon as I could to save my energy,” Scott said. “My moves were not clean and need some working on, but it’s nothing practice can’t fix.”
In the 182-pound weight class, Carrera went 2-3 to lock down sixth place and 12 team points.
Carrera got on the winning track in his second-round match following a bye, taking a first-round pin win against Angelo Cordero (Reynolds) at the 1:37 mark.
He was pinned by Hon Rushton (Baker) at 1:01 of the first round in the quarterfinals, so he had to climb through the consolation side to earn a podium spot.
Carrera managed to keep his tournament hopes alive after securing a second-round pin at 3:46 versus Patrick Jess (Bishop Kelly).
The last two matches ended in pin losses to Reynolds’ Joseph Mercado (50 seconds) and Burns’ Michael Winn (2:31).
Dufur’s Andrew Richman had the most success of the team with five wins in six matches after splitting his first two championship-round bouts.
Richman (138 pounds) defeated Jakob Henshew (Mac-Hi) at the 3:37 mark of the second round and lost by pin versus Alex Kehr (La Grande) at 3:14 to drop to the consolation bracket.
There, the senior, reeled off four consecutive wins, three by pin, to score a consolation title.
Richman won by fall at 15 seconds over Marcos Tarelo (Weiser), pinned Heppner’s Leo Waite (2:09), and dropped Elgin’s Reece McConnell (1:34) to vault into the title match opposite Tanner Siller (Walla Walla).
Both Richman and Siller fought for three rounds, with Richman inching his way to a 7-5 decision triumph.
Making his season debut on the mats in the 152-pound division, Steven Preston lost his opening match to Pendleton’s Blake Davis (3:35), which knocked him into the consolation rounds, where he responded with three consecutive wins.
The Riverhawk junior pinned both Anthony Moulton (Burns) and Allen Jacinto (Reynolds), and won by a 12-2 major decision over Brody MacMillian (La Grande) to set up a spot in the consolation title match.
In that bout, Preston put up a solid fight against Trevor Jackson (Scappoose) until eventually losing by pinfall at the two-minute mark of the opening period.
Coming off a three-win effort in Oregon City, Ophath Silaphath split four matches to tally four team points, the first victory coming in his opening match with Boone Ksiazek (Weiser), where Silaphath pulled away for a 12-3 major decision.
After losing at three minutes of the second round versus Titus Trayhorn (Barlow), Silaphath took care of business in his consolation match against Ben Sheifer (Barlow), a pin win at 31 seconds.
Silaphath ended up losing by pin to Lucas Cepeda (Reynolds) in the waning stages of the second round (3:55).
At 220 pounds, TD’s Miguel Torres got off to a torrid start with back-to-back victories over Hunter Clark (Reynolds) and Elijah Carter (Weiser).
Torres pinned Clark at the 49-second mark of the first round and picked up a 6-1 decision versus Carter.
Now in the quarterfinals, Torres lost by pin to La Grande’s Spencer Gerst (La Grande) and had his tournament end on a first-round pin from Mac-Hi’s Tanner Wells (1:29).
TD senior Austin Greene hit the mats in the 160-pound classification and worked his way to a 1-2 record, the lone victory coming in his opening bout, a pin of Reynolds’ Jonathan Ashcraft at 57 seconds.
Greene lost matches to Parker Robinson (La Grande) and Kyle Liscom (Pendleton) in the first round to end his run.
Another wrestler to score victories for the Riverhawks was 138-pound standout Jake Haughton, who went 2-2 in his four matches to chip in seven team points.
Haughton only used 1:07 on the timer, before eventually pinning Khaw Kung (Reynolds) for his first win.
Haughton lost his next match versus Trace Evans (Enterprise) at 1:24 of the first round, but then received an injury default win in his second consolation bout.
Moving on to the next match, Haughton wound up taking a pinfall loss at the hands of Tanner Siller (Walla Walla) at the 1:16 mark.
Angel Oregon (106 pounds), Connor Blair (106), Ikai Hoff (138), Ben Nelson (145), Taylor Morehouse (170), Levi Krueger (170) and Quinn Wilson (170) all posted 0-2 records with both of their matches ending in pins.
La Grande had 376.5 points to take the team title.
Weiser, ID. (242), Pendleton (224), Burns (212) and Baker (200.5) made up the top-5 in the standings.
With 39 victories, 26 by pin, in their first two tournaments, the Riverhawks hope to add to those numbers at the Adrian Irwin Invitational on Dec. 21-22 in Redmond.
Scott feels that getting an extra week of mat time practice will be beneficial for TD’s grapplers.
“The rest of the wrestling team, although young, shows great promise,” Scott said. “They have won some matches, so I believe they will have a successful season, as long as they continue to work hard.”