Reedsport’s wrestling team was celebrating last week after winning its first district title in several years. But the grapplers weren’t taking it easy.
Instead, the team took a few days to work on conditioning during the extra week between the district meet and the state tournament, which starts Friday at Memorial Coliseum in Portland.
On a sunny afternoon before ever getting to the mat room, the athletes were running stair laps in Reedsport’s football stadium as coach Bo Hampton encouraged them to keep their intensity level up.
“We’ve worked on strength all year long,” Hampton said. “Now we’re working on conditioning so we can wrestle six minutes up there.”
That’s the length of a match that goes the distance in high school, and Hampton said Reedsport’s wrestlers need to be prepared to do that.
“Against those kids, you are going to have to win a 2-1 match or 3-2,” he said. “All year long, we’ve done good at conditioning. This will get us over the edge.”
In addition to winning its first league title under Hampton, the Brave also qualified eight wrestlers for state, the most in his tenure.
“That’s pretty good,” said Nick Glover, one of Reedsport’s four district champions, adding that he was looking forward to this week.
“I’m really excited,” he said.
Last year was the first competing at state for the junior, and he made it to the semifinals before losing twice and just missing placing.
“I think (the experience) helps a lot,” he said. “Last year, I didn’t know what to expect.”
Glover is seeded fourth at 170 pounds and teammate Devin Lichte, a senior, is seeded third at 182. Junior Dennis Magee is the third seed at 138 and junior Carson Keith is the No. 3 seed at 106.
Keith was thrilled for the chance to compete at state.
“I’m just going to go out and wrestle my best,” he said.
Reedsport’s other state qualifiers are sophomore River Lichte (138) and freshmen Christian Solomon (106), Divinity Farris (113) and Yesenia Velazquez (120).
Lichte also won his first match last year before losing twice and being eliminated. Competing at state will be a new experience for the others, but Hampton feels good about his wrestlers’ chances.
“I think everybody we’re sending has a shot at placing,” he said.
That includes Farris and Velazquez, who missed in their attempt to qualify for the girls state tournament, but then qualified for the boys event.
“They’re tough,” Hampton said, adding that the two freshmen won’t be intimidated. “When they wrestle the guys, it’s nothing different than what they do every day.”
The district title was a highlight of a great season for Reedsport’s squad.
“I feel like Bo just got us mentally and physically prepared,” Keith said. “We just used the mind-set of going in and winning.”
The wrestlers also took great pride in what they accomplished as a group, he said.
“I’m happy to be part of this team,” Keith said. “I love every one of them.”
Hampton expects the wrestling program to grow following this season’s success and said there has been interest in the freestyle and Greco Roman club season that comes after the high school season concludes.
“We have a lot of excitement now,” he said.