The Dalles senior Joe Linebarger won two matches and finished just shy of a regional championship, and Glenn Breckterfield ended up just short of earning a state trip to Portland after Saturday’s 5A Special District 4 championships at Mountain View High School in Bend.
Facing juggernauts from Summit, Ridgeview, Redmond, Mountain View, Hermiston, Pendleton and Bend, the Riverhawks had eight active wrestlers in play, but only Linebarger and Breckterfield were able to log wins.
Nonetheless, TD head coach Greg Burkart admired the effort his athletes put forth.
“I am proud of the efforts of this very young team,” Burkart said. “We have what amounts to seven first-year high school wrestlers and two seniors.”
Wrestling at 220 pounds, Linebarger (28-3 overall record), had a first-round bye, before hitting the mat against Ridgeview’s Damian Garcia in the quarterfinals.
The Hawk senior needed only 48 seconds to impose his will on Garcia and started out with a pinfall victory to vault into the semifinals.
One win from picking up a championship round berth, Linebarger faced Redmond standout Bunker Parrish in what was a tough battle.
Both wrestlers fought to a standstill through the opening round, but then Linebarger found an opening and stuck Parrish with a takedown and then pin at the 3:41 mark to notch his championship qualification and state berth.
Wanting to stand on the top podium step, Linebarger had to beat Mario Nonato, of Redmond.
On the year, Nonato had won 33 of his 41 matches and was a highly-skilled wrestler in the 5A ranks.
Nonato was able to gain an edge early in the second round and pulled off the pinfall triumph at the 2:21 mark to claim his regional championship.
“I am really happy that Joe was able to earn his way back into the state tournament after having missed it last season due to illness,” Burkart said. “He is a quality young man who deserves this opportunity to end his career competing at the highest level.”
As one of the up-and-coming TD wrestlers, Breckterfield had a tough 145-pound division to go up against.
He lost in the first round by pin to Julio Osorio, of Ridgeview, with one second left on the clock, so now the task was getting through the consolation rounds to get back into the state picture.
Breckterfield (20-19 record) got back on the winning track in his opening consolation match against Ian bannister, of Pendleton, a second-round pinfall victory.
Enthused by that win, Breckterfield and Bend’s Victor Rincon fought for six minutes, and Breckterfield snuck past his Lava Bear foe with a 6-5 decision to put himself one win from consolation glory.
In his third consolation match, the Riverhawk youngster could not solve Hermiston’s Oscar Lopez.
Lopez wound up scoring a 13-3 major decision.
Sam Tyler (9-19) lost his opening match by first-round pinfall to Pendleton’s Alex Rendon in their 126-pound bout.
Tyler had a consolation bye, and then was nearly able to add another win to the Riverhawk scoreboard in his match against Cody, Edelblut, of Mountain View.
Both grapplers slugged it out for six minutes and with the score tied at 11-apiece, the match went to sudden death overtime.
Edelblut scored the points he needed to come out on top, 13-11.
At 132 pounds, Andrew Richman (7-17) lost both of his matches by first-round pin.
Logan Manciu (5-11) went through a case of bad luck at 132 pounds with an 8-4 decision loss, then an injury default in the third round in his match against Jadon Estes, of Pendleton.
Levi Kruger lost two matches by pin in his 138-pound class, and Michael Parrish (9-18) lost by opening-round pin to Hood River valley’s Max Lane.
After that, the 220-pound Parrish had his tournament cut short in the second consolation round by pin at the 3:41 mark to Hermiston’s Corey Mason.
Cole Davis (6-17) went to work at 120 pounds in his final tournament, but had a tough time in his first match against Summit’s Quintin McCoy, a first-round pin loss at 48 seconds.
Davis had a consolation bye, and then hit the mats opposite Blake Davis, of Pendleton.
Davis got the pin in 13 seconds to eliminate Davis from contention.
With a young roster, Burkart had the leadership of Linebarger and Davis to help shape and mold much of the inexperienced roster.
It was a collaborative effort through the winter season that will help the program bolster its numbers down the road.
“I would like to recognize Cole Davis and Joe Linebarger for their willingness to ignore the negativity that has been leveled at this program by outside sources by competing hard for the full four years,” Burkart said of his senior tandem. “They have set an excellent example for our young kids and will be greatly missed.”
OSAA State wrestling action starts at 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday at Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum in Portland.