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By René Ferrán

At the start of the season, we took a look at some of the top returning wrestlers in Oregon:

Class 6A | Class 5A | Class 4A | Class 3A | Class 2A/1A | Girls

This week, we are highlighting many of the freshmen and sophomores who have emerged as current and future stars in the sport.

Here is Part 1 of our list. Check back soon for Part 2 and Part 3.

Records through Sunday, Jan. 16

Aldo Duran, Fr., Baker/Powder Valley

Duran, a 120-pounder, has had a strong start to his high school career. He reached the quarterfinals at the Calhoun Classic, was third at Rollin Schimmel, and won the John Rysdam Memorial, giving him a 13-6 record. 

Benjamin Larson, So., Hermiston

Larson was a runner-up as a freshman at the Mid-Columbia district tournament. The 160-pounder has gone 22-5 this winter, with third-place finishes at Edmonds and Muilenburg and a runner-up finish at Tri-State. He also reached the consolation quarterfinals at Rollie Lane. 

Billy Jackson, Fr., Redmond

Jackson has started his career 19-0, including a victory at the Rollie Lane tournament in the 98-pound division. He likely will wrestle 106 in the postseason. “He is fierce on the mat and pushes the pace all the time,” said Panthers coach Billy Jackson. “He will be a force for the next four years.” 

Brash Henderson, Fr., Silverton

It’s rare for a freshman to have success at one of the heavier weights, but the 220-pounder recently won the Rollie Lane title to improve to 14-1 this season — his only loss coming in the first round of the Tyrone S. Woods Memorial. 

Breanna Meek, Fr., North Valley

Meek already has won titles at 235 pounds at the Grants Pass and Eagle Point tournaments. 

Bricen Frazzini, Fr., West Albany

Frazzini started the season wrestling JV at 106, but since moving up to varsity, he won the Rick Herrin Holiday Classic and made the podium at Liberty (fifth) and Pape Linn County (third) to improve to 14-2. 

Brody Copple, Fr., Cascade

The 113-pounder kicked off his career with a third-place finish at Rose City. He later added a fifth at Perry Burlison and is now 15-4. 

Brody Lybarger, Fr., Mountainside

Lybarger has yet to suffer defeat in his high school career, going 17-0 and earning titles at 106 at Tyrone S. Woods, Rick Herrin and the McMinnville Your Space Storage Invite.

Cache Montgomery, So., La Pine

Montgomery doesn’t have the experience of other middleweight wrestlers, but as Hawks coach Aaron Flack said, “he is a grinder” who has gone 23-9 this season, reaching the quarterfinals at Adrian Irwin and the fourth round of consolation at Rollie Lane. The 170-pounder also placed fourth at Culver. “He keeps wrestling and is getting tougher all the time,” Flack said. 

Caden Hill, So., Yamhill-Carlton

Hill reached the consolation semifinals at the 3A state meet in June. This winter, he’s gone 11-2 at 120 with titles at Deven Dawson and Scio and a second-place finish at the Dayton tournament. 

Charles Spinning, So., West Linn

Spinning went 10-5 as a freshman and made the podium with a fifth-place finish at state. He kicked off his sophomore season with a second-place finish at Tyrone S. Woods, added a fourth at Rose City and a second at Kelso, and is 20-3 at 138. Lions coach Doug Samarron loves how he stays laser-focused during the chaos of a match. “He is a quiet, somewhat introverted individual who is best described as silent but deadly,” Samarron said. “I just love the way he wrestles.” 

Cohen Schleich, So., Estacada

Schleich has followed a fourth-place finish at state as a freshman, when he went 16-5, by starting this season 17-1 at 126, winning titles at the Ranger Classic, Dayton and Molalla and bouncing back from his only loss to place third at Muilenburg.

Cole Langford, So., Dallas

Langford placed fourth at district as a freshman but moved up to 195 this winter, placing third at Rose City and winning the Liberty Tournament title to improve to 22-6. 

Colton Annis, Fr., Thurston

Annis hopes to follow in the footsteps of older sister Kaylee, who won her first state title in June. The 120-pounder reached the quarterfinals at Rose City, placed third at Perry Burlison, and is 23-8 heading to the second half of the season. “Colton is extremely tall and strong for his weight class,” said Colts coach Mike Simons. “He puts in a ton of time on the mat. He really loves wrestling and is going to be very successful with the sport.” 

David Weathers, Fr., Tillamook

Weathers has fit in right away with an always stacked Tillamook program, going 13-5 at 120 with titles at Rick Herrin and Van Holstad, a third-place finish at the Werner Gourmet Meat Snacks tournament, and a fifth at McMinnville’s Your Space Storage Invite.

Destiny Weaver, Fr., Glendale

Weaver has had success in both boys events — 11-1 at 113, with titles at Deven Dawson and the Winter Break Send-Off — and girls, placing second at the Culver tournament. 

Devin Martin, So., Harrisburg

Martin went 21-10 as a freshman, reaching the consolation semifinals at state, and started this season 20-7 at 160, including a runner-up finish at Devon Dawson and a fifth at Adrian Irwin. He also went 5-1 at the Oregon Classic, including wins over a second- and fourth-place finisher from June’s state meet. “In my 19 years as head coach here, I’m not sure I’ve had a better leader than Devin,” coach Desmond Bennett said. “From the first day of workout this season, he stepped in and started our team warmups. He has taken a couple of students around during grade checks to some of their teachers in the classes they might struggle in and found out what they need to get done to stay eligible. He’s done this completely on his own. His leadership abilities have been crucial for our young team’s progression throughout the season.” 

Devon Kerr, Fr., La Pine

Kerr is the latest in a long line of state champions in his family — seven in all between brothers David and Derrik (each three-time state champions for the Hawks) and father Dave, who won the school’s first title back in 1989. He is 26-3 this winter, winning the title at Adrian Irwin and taking second at the Central Oregon Officials tournament.

Duke Wentzel, Fr., Crook County

Wentzel is one of several youngsters off to a strong start for the Cowboys, going 14-6 at 106 with a second-place finish at the Central Oregon Officials tournament, third at Adrian Irwin and fourth at Culver. 

Dylan Howell, So., Barlow

Howell moved up from JV, where he wrestled as a freshman, to become the No. 1 at 285 this winter, going 10-1 with a victory at the MHS Your Space Storage Invite on his resumé.

Easton Kemper, Fr., Burns

Kemper is 19-5 in his debut season at 170, winning titles at Adrian Irwin and Rollin Schimmel and taking second at Muilenburg. 

Elijah Bayne, Fr., Crater

Bayne is 15-3 and has a couple of titles at 113 in his first season (Doc Peersen, NorCal Championships) as well as a third at North Bend and fourth at Grants Pass.

Eric Larwin, Fr., Bend

Larwin kicked off his freshman season with a third-place finish at 106 at the Central Oregon Officials tournament and reached the consolation quarterfinals at Rollie Lane to improve to 15-5. 

Garrett Matthews, So., Eagle Point

Matthews didn’t wrestle until the final two weeks of his freshman season, but he made up for lost time this winter, going 20-5 at 285 with a victory at Eagle Point capping a run that included a fifth at Dan Vidlak and fourth-place finishes at North Bend and Grants Pass. 

Gavin Sandoval, Fr., Crook County

The 145-pounder has gone 15-6 to start his career, finishing second at Perry Burlison, fifth at North Bend, and one round from the medals at Rollie Lane.