CLACKAMAS - The Hermiston Bulldog wrestlers are in strong position to claim the team title after scoring 39 points in the first round of the Clackamas Invitational Friday.

The 13-team event will conclude today and Hermiston coach Curt Berger said the Bulldogs are in good shape for the title as long as their top performers do what they can do.

"We just need our leaders to come through and wrestle like they are capable of and we will be fine," he said.

Seventeen Hermiston wrestlers won their first round matches in the varsity/junior varsity event. Hermiston trails Rex Putnam by 1.5 points.

Keith Saucillo claimed a 14-5 win at 112 pounds over Alex Boyles of David Douglas and Brent Parks won 6-2 over Luke Injured of Hillsboro at 119 pounds. Hermiston's Drew Guthmiller pinned Justin Mehnor of Madison at 125 pounds in 3 minutes, 10 seconds.

Keith Carter used just 2:29 to pin Nick Barron of Centennial at 130 pounds and Brett Jensen also earned a pin at 135, dropping Shawn Robertson of Hillsboro in 2:24. Hermiston's Ryan Barton won at 135, 10-2 over Madison's Scott Lucas and 140-pounder Kevin Verway won for Hermiston 14-5 over Jordan Carlson of Hillsboro.

At 145, Hermiston's Danny Hall pinned Micha Wilcox of Clackamas in 2:43 and Lee Bissinger used just 1:16 at the same weight to pin Sunset's Josh Wardini. Grant Myer of Madison was a fall victim in 1:09 at 152 pounds to Bulldog Michael Ramirez and at 171, Hermiston's Tim Dean won by forfeit. Brandon Frazier earned a pin at 189 in 1:47 over Adam Stickney of Hillsboro. Hermiston 189-pounder Troy Kessell pinned Madison's Ezra Clarry in 3:34 and Duane Stahl dispatched Sunset's Nathon Gunther in 3:55 at 215 pounds. Garrett later won 10-3 for Hermiston at 215 over Brain Sause of Sunset and Brian White won by fall at 275 over Mark Yakubisin of Sunset in 2:42.

"It's a good tournament and a good situation for our younger kids," Berger said.

On the short end of a match was Hermiston 103-pounder Abilardo Molina, who was pinned by Garrett Gentry of Mountain View in 3:54. At 119, Andy Adams lost to Derrick Brown of David Douglas by fall in 1:30. Pete Veliz was pinned in a 140-pound match by Isreal Aguire of Rex Putnam in 3:43 and Troy Sidor of Clackamas got the best of 140-pounder Aaron Huxoll. Collin Field-Eaton of Tigard won a 10-4 decision over 152-pounder Tye Sheffeld of Hermiston.

In a preview of the 160-pound Intermountain Conference clash next Wednesday with Hood River Valley, Hermiston's Andy Hall fell to Jason DeHart 7-3. Hermiston lost at 171 when Travis Evans of Mountain View pinned Keith Jemmett in 1:47.

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