PORTLAND - Hermiston's Keith Carter won 12-2 at 119 pounds in the semifinals against defending state champion Bryson Gutches of Crater and teammate Kyle Larson pinned Jimmy Ulrey of North Medford to reach the 152-pound finals at the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tires state 4A wrestling championships.
Both Hermiston and Pendleton entered the day with five wrestlers in the tournament and have five combined still in action entering the final day today.
Each team suffered disappointment and success for the second consecutive day. Hermiston's Tyler Hartsteen lost his semifinal match at 275 to Justin Troxel of Roseburg, 2-1, to fall into the consolation bracket.
Pendleton's Sean Orr won a pair of 275-pound consolation matches to stay in the tournament while Justin Carter fell in the semifinal match at 125.
With a pair of overtime losses Friday, Pendleton coach Fred Phillips said that his wrestlers could have been a bit more mentally prepared.
"They fought hard, but we beat ourselves today," Pendleton coach Fred Phillips said. "That hurts you as a coach. You feel like you don't have your kids prepared when they beat themselves. We had few lapses in our matches."
Gutches perhaps had a lapse as he took an early lead, 2-0, on Keith Carter, but he gave up 12 points to lose his shot at the 2003 title.
"Carter's tremendously physical. He's mentally tough. He didn't get (shaken) by the take-down. You don't want to fight from behind against Carter," Hermiston coach Curt Berger said.
"He proved to everybody in the tournament that he's the real deal. It was an awesome match. It's very difficult to take a kid who's the defending state champion out. To beat a guy like Gutches is just a huge win. It sets him up for a lot of great things. He's in position to reach one of his goals and win a state championship."
Carter reached the semifinals with an 11-4 win over Matt Kim of West Linn and will take on Ryan Enoch of Redmond in the finals today.
"I was pretty pumped up for the match, he's a good wrestler," Keith Carter said of Gutches. "I beat (Enoch) twice this year, but he'll be out to get me this time. It will be a good match I think."
Larson picked up his 30th pin of the season in the semifinal and boosted his season mark to 44-0. Earlier, he defeated Seth Thomas of Roseburg (5-0) in the quarterfinals.
"He was slowing down a lot after the first round. When you just keep that pressure going, they all die," Larson said of Ulrey.
Ron Lee of Crater is next in line for Larson.
"I feel real good. There's no worries that anybody's better than me, I've (beaten) them all. I just need to go out and not overlook anybody. The guy I've got in the finals, I beat him (before)," Larson said.
"I know that I've done the work to get it done and he (hasn't) done more (work) than I have."
Hartsteen began the day with a win over Shawn Hogan of Willamette before the loss to Troxell, which was the result of yielding a penalty point for stalling with 19 seconds left.
Justin Carter won his first match Friday for the Bucks at 125, downing Nick Clark of Gresham in the quarterfinals, 7-1. He broke a scoreless tie in the second round of the semifinal match with Zach Steddum and led with one minute left before suffering a takedown with 10 seconds left.
"Right there at the end, with 10 seconds to go, we relax on the edge (of the ring) and get taken down when we are ahead by one, to lose the match," said Phillips.
Carter will take on the winner of the Wes York (Crook County)/Luke Penner (Corvallis) match today. Orr will face Rudy Schafforth today for the right to take on Hartsteen. Orr defeated Sean Adkinson of Madison and Sean Lugo of Tualatin to keep his season alive.
"He's done a good job," Phillips said. "He's battling real hard. His shoulder's really hurting him right now, but he's not using that as an excuse. He's taking the tough road to come back and win matches (in the consolation bracket)."
Campbell lost in the quarterfinals by technical fall to finalist Nick Cautrell of Churchill and in consolation to Nate Kearsley of Century.
Tyler Kilkenny and Tanner Smith each lost in consolation matches for Pendleton Friday.
"(Kilkenney) had one mental lapse that cost him the match," Phillips said, "and Tanner (Smith) did the same in overtime. To be a state champion wrestler, you can't take a break ever out there and I feel like that's my responsibility. Maybe I don't have them ready to go hard for six minutes."
Hermiston's Derek Jorgensen and James Williams were eliminated from the tournament. The Bulldogs are in seventh place with 69 team points. Crater leads with 154 and Roseburg is second at 101, while Pendleton is 26th with 30.5.