Hermiston put three wrestlers in the finals, and came away with three champions Saturday at the Farm City Invitational at Hermiston High School.
The Bulldogs got titles from Zayne Helfer at 106 pounds, Adrian Delgado at 113, and Jon Lee at 220 as Hermiston placed third in the team standings with 244 points.
“Our little guys, Zayne and Adrian are young, but they show up and want to win,” Hermiston coach Kyle Larson said. “They fight. Jon placed last week at Gut Check and won here. He has done well, but has room to grow. We keep three buckles at home, and we came out with a team trophy. We can be proud of that.”
Mountain Crest, from Hyrum, Utah, had a 282-275.5 lead over Chiawana going into the finals, but the Riverhawks won five titles — Darion Johnson (126), Morgan McFee (160), Tyson Stover (182), Isaiah Anderson (195) and Colby Blasdel — to win the team title by a slim margin (301.5-300).
“It’s a great day for us,” Chiawana coach Jack Anderson said. “We have had a grind the last month. It’s nice to come here and get a championship. This is the most fun tournament we have been to all year. The finalists get singlets and the winners get buckles. This community is awesome. This is our first time here, and we want to come back.”
The tournament, which gets support from the Farm-City Pro Rodeo, hands out specially designed singlets in two colors to the finalists, which they get to keep. The winner also gets a championship buckle.
“We want to make the teams happy and the coaches happy,” Larson said. “We want to bring in good teams, and have them come back. Our hospitality room is phenomenal and our awards are awesome. We try to make the (championship) face-offs as much of an event as we can. The kids deserve it.”
Helfer, a freshman, opened the championship round with a 10-2 major decision over Baker/Power Valley’s Gavin Stone.
Helfer led 5-0 after the first round, and 9-0 after two.
“It was really cool,” Helfer said of winning the title. “The pressure got to me in the semifinals, but in the finals, I relaxed and went into my zone. Gavin put up one hell of a fight.”
Delgado followed with a pin of Baker/Powder Valley’s Isael Duran at 5:41.
Delgado held a 2-0 lead after the second round. Duran chose both wrestlers up to start the third. Delgado got a takedown and the pin.
Lee, just a freshman, led Mountain Crest’s Sam McMurray 4-2 after the first round, and 8-5 after the second. In the third, he registered two takedowns and had an escape.
“He was pretty strong,” Lee said of his opponent. “With wrestlers like him, it’s crucial to keep good balance. He had good technique, but I had just enough to pull through. We go to a lot of tough tournaments that prepared me for this. I wanted that singlet.”
So did Alex Miranda-Walls of Irrigon, who won the 170-pound title and improved to 23-0 on the season.
Miranda-Walls earned a 7-0 decision over Victor Silva of Chiawana (20-9) in the title match.
“He was a tough kid,” Miranda-Walls said. “You are always nervous when you go up against someone you haven’t wrestled. I got to watch him earlier and he was high on the throws. I take pride in wrestling my match the whole way and making it my own.”
Miranda-Walls also won the Hanford Winter Cup last month.
“It’s pretty cool to win these tournaments, there is no other way to describe it,” Miranda-Walls said. “Come tomorrow, all the glory will be gone and you start over. It makes me happy that I can be a light for our community and be a role model for the little guys.”
Michael Pointer of Echo (27-6) reached the 145-pound title match by pinning his first two opponents.
He met up with Camden Olsen of Mountain Crest in the finals, where he lost an 8-3 decision.