PENDLETON — It’s a constant in Pendleton during the holiday season.
In between Christmas and New Years Day, the Buckaroos welcome teams across Oregon, and even one from Washington, to the Rollin Schimmel Memorial Tournament. And just as the tournament itself takes place year in and year out at Warberg Court, there’s one team that remains unbeaten.
The Pendleton Buckaroos dominated the all-day event once again, and earned first place after racking up 247 points.
The efforts of Caleb Tremper (113), Alex Rendon (138), Brendon Bedolla (152) and Ian Bannister (160) — all of whom finished first in their respective weight classes — catapulted Pendleton above the rest of the competition, leaving a 60-plus point deficit between itself and second place Baker (184.5).
“We’re getting better, I’m just happy to see us get better,” head coach Fred Phillips said. “We’re getting older, we are still young — we only have two seniors — but I’m glad to see them get better. We’re doing new moves and we’re learning and actually putting things we work on in practice on the mat, which I’m happy to see.
“I saw a lot of things we have worked on in the last few weeks today that I was really happy to see their improvement as far as learning and being willing to learn new techniques,” Phillips added. “A lot of them wrestled tough matches and wrestled pretty hard, too.”
Tremper’s first place finish set the tone for the rest of the Bucks, as he outlasted Kiez White of Mac-Hi to win by a 17-7 major decision. It was his first and only bout of the day as he received byes in the previous three rounds.
The lull had little to no effect on Tremper’s performance, as he had a 5-1 advantage after the second round and then extended his lead in the final round.
Both Tremper and White were taking a beating. White fell into the scorers table in the third round and Tremper had to fight off many of White’s attacks.
In the final seconds of the bout, tensions were running high and White got called for an unsportsmanlike penalty after hitting the back of Tremper’s head as he was in a referee bottom position.
“Keep your cool,” Phillips told the younger wrestler after the incident.
Tremper did just that and added 23 points to Pendleton’s total.
Rendon was the next Buck with a top finish, and it came in his toughest bout of the day. Rendon moved easily through the quarter and semifinals — winning by fall in 44 seconds and 20 seconds, respectively. But Mac-Hi’s Zach Crisman would work Rendon for nearly two full rounds. Rendon eventually won by fall 3:53 into the match. The win was good for 28 points.
Similar to his teammate, Bedola won by fall in all three rounds leading up to the first place match. But he had to go the full six minutes against Tyrell Reynoso of Madras before claiming the victory. He won by 7-2 decision, and chipped in 28 points to Pendleton’s total.
Bannister was far from the final Buckaroo competing in the final round, but he was the last of Pendleton’s squad to earn a first place finish.
After moving through the quarter and semifinals by a fall and 8-5 decision, respectively, Bannister faced a familiar foe in the first place bout.
Against another Buck, Josh Whaley, Bannister won by a 10-2 major decision.
There were plenty of impressive performances on the mat, but a few stuck out to Phillips — Whaley included.
“I’m real happy for Josh Whaley, he was our third string 160 pounder a week ago and he gets in the finals,” he said. “Alex Rendon wrestled a great match in the finals. Brendon Bedola is going to be down at 132 pounds in two weeks and we won at 152 today.
“It was good to see those kids compete hard and get after it,” he added.
Other top finishers for Pendleton was Whaley, who finished behind Bannister in the 160-weight class; Chris Chambers (132) finished in third place after winning by a fall (2:44) over Riverside’s Christian Reyes; Black Davis (145), who placed third after pinning Dylan Staigle of Enterprise in 1:42; Kirck Liscom (182) also finished in third defeating another Pirate in 2:56.
Isaac Urbina (160) rounded out Pendleton’s top-three finishers place after a major decision was called in his favor (10-0) over Ridgeview’s Cole Jackson. Urbina wrestled for third after Whaley knocked him out of the semifinals.
Aiden Patterson (170) placed sixith after going down by a fall to Irrigon’s Josue Aguilera in the fifth place match.
Of the 14 wrestlers Mac-Hi brought to Pendleton, 10 of them placed to help the Pioneers edge out Riverside for a fourth place team finish (139).
Three earned second place finishes, two of which were after facing the hosting Buckaroos.
Kiez White (113) and Zach Crisman (138) both dropped the first place match to Pendleton wrestlers, but each earned 19.5 points toward the team’s total for their efforts.
Joshua Torres (195) worked his way into the first place bout after winning by a 9-3 decision over fellow Pioneer Brandyn Chaney in the quarterfinals and then pinning Irrigon’s Brady Harrington in 5:21 in the semis.
Against Harrison Manu of Madras, Torres won by fall in 5:08.
Jakob Henshew (138) added key points, despite the tough outcome, to Mac-Hi’s total after finishing in fourth place. The 12 points came after losing the third place match to Riverside’s Ethan Snyder. Henshew went down with an injury after the first round.
Alejandro Saldana (182) wrestled his way through the consolation rounds after losing to Irrigon’s Cristian Michaels by a 4-3 decision in the quarterfinals.
Saldana won both consolation matches 10-6 and 10-8 and continued his success in the fifth place match against Mauricio Carrera of The Dalles. Saldana won by a 14-7 decision.
Brandyn Chaney (195) and Spencer Wells (220) both placed fifth. Chaney outlasted his teammate, Patton Wright — who finished sixth — to win by a 5-3 decision and Wells pinned Pendleton’s Henderson in 1:02, and scored 13 points.
Alex Doherty (285) also earned a fifth place finish after pinning Baker’s Trenton Ashby in 1:45.
Kyler Kelly (160) was the last Pioneer to place, and finished sixth after facing Catalino LeClaire of Madras, who won by a fall in 2:11.
Riverside fared well Saturday and picked up two first place finishes and four more finished in the top six.
Fernando Ortega started things off in the 106-weight class, and placed first by pinning Liberty’s Tanner Santesson in 2:50. Ortega received a bye in the first round and then easily moved his way through the quarter and semifinals — winning by falls in 0:29 and 1:10, respectively.
Andrew Barker (126) was the only other Pirate to finish in first place after winning in sudden victory 6-4 over Alex Duran of Baker. Like Ortega, Barker got to the final round after pinning his opponents in 1:45 and 4:46.
Also in the 106-weight class, Yeidi Ramos earned a sixth place finish after working his way out of the consolation rounds into a fifth place match with Liberty’s Emerald Koeppel. Ramos was pinned in 0:47.
Abraham Silva (120), Ethan Snyder (138) and Christian Reyes (132) finished the tournament in second, third and fourth place, respectively.
Silva received byes in the first two rounds and made his way into the first place match after pinning Echo’s Eng Daylon in 1:19. However, he was bested by Shane Lund of Enterprise in 4:22 to fall into second place.
Snyder easily found his way into the semifinals where he was then defeated by Mac-Hi’s Crisman. After the 10-6 decision didn’t go in Snyder’s favor he ended up claiming third after Henshew went down with his injury.
Reyes made it through Round 1 and the quarterfinals unscathed but after getting pinned by Liberty’s James Roy in the semis, he wrestled for third place against Pendleton’s Chambers. Chambers pinned Reyers in 2:44.
The Irrigon Knights didn’t have any first place finishers but their two wrestlers finished in second place and four others ended the day in the top six to move Irrigon into seventh place (90).
Alex Miranda-Walls (170) and Cristian Michaels (182) earned a spot in the first place match, but then lost by 15-5 to Baker and a win by fall in 0:48 seconds to The Dalles, respectively.
After Tucker McAllister (220) received a bye to start the day, he defeated Mac-Hi’s Spencer Wells to move into the semifinals. There, he was pinned by Rafael Hinojosa of Liberty in 2:43.
The tough competition didn’t wear down McAllister, and even if it did he didn’t show it as he won in the ultimate tie breaker (4-3) over Baker’s Hudson Cole.
Brady Harrington (195) placed fourth after G`ovi Quezada of Baker won by a 4-3 decision and Josue Aguilera (170) finished in fifth after pinning Pendleton’s Patterson.
Luis Cardenas (126) was the last Knight to place, and finished sixth after Ridgeview’s Danny Cornejo pinned him in the second round (2:36).
Echo rounded out the top 10 in team finishes after scoring 74 points, 26 of which were from Kenneth Bevan’s top finish.
The 220-pounder went toe-to-toe with Liberty’s Hinojosa, but it was Bevan who came out on top of a 6-5 decision.
Kyle Ranger (126) and Eng Daylon (120) finished in third place after they both pinned Liberty wrestlers.
Mychael Pointer (145) was the final Cougar to place, and he finished fifth after winning by fall over Jake Eskew of Baker.
1 Pendleton 247.0
2 Baker 184.5
3 Liberty 181.0
4 McLoughlin/Weston-McEwen/Griswold 139.0
5 Ridgeview 123.0
6 Riverside 119.0
7 Irrigon 90.0
8 Enterprise 80.0
9 Madras 78.0
10 Echo 74.0
11 The Dalles/Dufur/Sherman 67.0
12 Walla Walla (WA) 0.0