COOS BAY — The low number of wrestlers on Marshfield's team has been a story surrounding the Pirates all season.
Duals have been difficult ventures as the Pirates constantly give up half of their 14 spots to forfeits. But they still have state champions and state placers on their roster, so it’s been a quality over quantity approach, and the seedings for this week's regional tournament in Klamath Falls reflect that approach.
Marshfield has four No. 1 seeds in the Class 4A District 3 tournament, three No. 2 seeds, a No. 4 and three unseeded wrestlers, though that doesn’t discourage Marshfield coach Tyler Strenke one bit.
“That’s one thing I told the guys at the beginning of the year,” Strenke said. “I don’t care how many people are on this team. Duals are gonna be tough, but we’re gonna be the hardest working team in the state and everyone that is on this team is going to succeed.”
In a surprise to no one, two-time state champ Kody Koumentis (14-4) secured another No. 1 seed after winning state titles as a 106-pound freshman and 113-pound sophomore.
Now up at 132, Koumentis has again grabbed a No. 1 seed at the district tournament, but is yet to secure a top seed at the OSAA State Championships. He won his first state title as a No. 3 and his second as a No. 2.
Frankie Harlow is another No. 1, at 126 pounds. The senior, with a 20-3 mark on the year, finished sixth as a sophomore at 113 pounds, then failed to place last year as a junior at 120, is searching for his first state title.
Tandy Martin, a recent transfer from Gold Beach with a 31-3 mark as a junior at 152 pounds, is Marshfield’s third top district seed.
Martin has a pair of third-place state finishes under his belt, recovering from a pair of semifinal losses in the Class 2A/1A brackets at 138 and 145 pounds.
Finally, Aiden Adams (19-7) secured a No. 1 seed at 182 pounds.
The senior has qualified for the last two state tournaments at 182 but hasn’t placed in either. Perhaps a strong run through his final district tournament will get him out of the middle of the bracket for the first time.
The quartet represents more solid chances to bring home state titles for Marshfield, which has been a constant in recent years.
“They’ve just been wrestling well all year and it was really at the last couple tournaments where they’ve been pinning a lot of people and putting up a lot of points,” Strenke said. “It’s kind of no question with guys like that.”
Colton West, a senior at 126 pounds, is a No. 2 and is joined in that bracket by Tristen Anderson, an unranked freshman.
Peyton Forbes (14-3) is a junior and is the second seed at 145 pounds, with teammate Josh Hinds the No. 4 seed.
Strenke was happy about how the 145-pound bracket worked out. Now instead of having to potentially wrestle in the semifinals, Forbes and Hinds could meet in the finals with the state qualifications already wrapped up.
Alvara Ruiz grabbed a No. 2 seed at 285 pounds, rounding out Marshfield’s seeded wrestlers. The other Pirates competing this week are sophomore Isaiah Wright at 138 pounds, freshman Ben Steward at 132, sophomore Konrad Hoyer at 152 and freshman Che Garcia at 182.
The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to the state tournament in Portland on Feb. 22-23.
“I think we’re projected to put eight to state with these seeds,” Strenke said. “Someone like Konrad, who couldn’t get a top seed because of Tandy getting the No. 1 seed, he’s technically unseeded but I’m fully expecting him to go state with the way he’s been wrestling. He’s been doing amazing.
“If we can send that amount, I’ll be happy with that.”
The tournament is Friday and Saturday at Mazama High School and includes all the schools in the Skyline League and Marshfield and Cottage Grove from the Sky-Em League.