Wrestlers earn their keep at OWA Championships

The Dalles wrestlers and coaches, from left to right, Jacob Abrams, Steven Preston, Alexander Kramer and Ophath Silaphath, discuss results and strategy at the OWA 18U Junior Men’s State Freestyle Championships held March 16-17 in Scappoose.

The high school wrestling season may have ended a month ago, but for The Dalles wrestlers Steven Preston and Ophath Silaphath, there are no breaks in the offseason if they want to achieve ultimate success.

On March 16-17 at the Oregon Wrestling Association State Championships in Scappoose, the duo competed in the 18U Junior Men’s State Freestyle Tournament and Preston also participated in the Junior Men’s State Greco-Roman over the same weekend,  posting a 3-2 record for fifth place in the 160-pound division.

After a bye in his Greco opener, Preston squared off with Brandon Andresen (Junction City) and needed only 54 seconds to deliver the pinfall victory.

Up next was a back-alley brawl in the quarterfinals against two-time state champion Victor Torres (Culver Mat Club), which featured Preston sustaining a broken nose during the match.

The Dalles junior won by technical fall, 10-0, to move into the semifinals, where he faced Travis Thorpe (Sweet Home).

Thorpe came away with a 12-4 technical fall win, so that meant Preston had to bounce back into contention through the consolation bracket.

His first consolation semifinals match was against Colin Rietman (Roseburg) and Rietman garnered a first-round pin at 43 seconds.

Wrestling for fifth or sixth place, Preston won by forfeit over Darian Thacker (Roseburg).

It has been more than a decade since The Dalles had wrestlers sign up for offseason tournaments, and to have two continue their season and one place, caught The Dalles head coach Paul Beasley’s attention.

“This is outstanding. I am so proud of Steve, his family and our program,” Beasley said. “It has been a long time since we have had a state placer in Greco, my favorite.”

At the Junior Men`s State Freestyle Championships, Silaphath (160 pounds) lost his first 160-pound match against Bryce Granberg (Cobra All-Stars) by a 12-1 technical fall.

Following a consolation bye, Silaphath cleared to a forfeit win over Kadin Thorsted (Dallas) to stay alive.

In the third consolation round, Silaphath lost by technical fall versus Tyler Olsen (McMinnville), 10-0.

Preston, who managed eight points for the tournament with a 3-2 record, lost his first match to Thorpe (Sweet Home) by pin at 47 seconds, but then got into a groove in the consolation bracket with three straight impressive finishes.

The first order of business was Vincent Vanzuylen (Peninsula Wrestling Club), and Preston worked a pinfall win at the 1:13 mark of the first round.

He then put on a clinic in his next bout, a 15-0 technical fall against Ernesto Alvarez, (Century High Wrestling), and then dominated Riley Rose (Roseburg Mat Club) by technical fall, 19-2.

If Preston had plans to keep his tournament going, he had to get through Torres once again.

Instead of Greco-Roman style, Preston and Torres went to work in a freestyle match, with Torres exacting a little revenge in a second-round pin at 4:50.

“I am so proud. What a weekend,” Beasley said. “Steven looked stronger and like more of a 160-pounder.”

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