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By René Ferrán

Thurston’s one-point victory over Crook County in the Class 5A championship match highlighted the weekend’s festivities at the Oregon Classic wrestling tournament at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center in Redmond.

The tournament, which crowns the best dual-meet teams in each classification, returned after a one-year hiatus caused by the pandemic.

The Colts, who won their only state championship 20 years ago, eked out a 38-37 victory over the Cowboys — who have finished first or second at the past eight OSAA state tournaments. Vaun Halstead (220 pounds) and Keannan Bowditch (285) recorded pins to erase Crook County’s 11-point lead.

The Thurston girls also took home the title, defeating Sweet Home 36-24 in the final.

Newberg dominated the 6A final, defeating Mountain View 62-9. Other classification winners were La Grande (4A), La Pine (3A) and Culver (2A/1A).

On Saturday, five high school wrestlers defeated fields featuring NAIA and junior college competition to take home titles at the Oregon Classic Women’s Open.

Cleveland’s Haley Vann (116), Hillsboro’s Alice Rickett (130) and Ayana Medina (136), Oregon City’s Bella Amaro (143) and West Linn’s Destiny Rodriguez (155) earned titles at one of the state’s premier competitions. 

Rodriguez defeated former Gervais standout Alexys Zepeda, now wrestling at Corban, erasing a 4-2 deficit and earning a pin in 5:05 in the decisive match of the round-robin tournament. Rodriguez sits No. 12 on USA Wrestling’s latest pound-for-pound national rankings and No. 2 at 152.

Vann also beat a former state champion, Tess Barnett (McKay) of Corban, pinning her in 2:26. Vann ranks No. 10 nationally at 117 pounds, Amaro is No. 4 at 132 and Medina is No. 6 at 122.

Photo by Michele Bunch

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