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Oregon (OSAA) 6A wrestling state championships preview: Wild cards give challengers hope of dethroning 2-time defending champion Newberg

The 6A Oregon high school wrestling state championships take place Saturday and Sunday in Sandy. Here's a look at what to expect.

The 6A Oregon high school wrestling state championships take place Saturday and Sunday in Sandy. Here's a look at what to expect.

Top seeds (returning champions in italics)

106 Gage Singleton, So., Roseburg

113 Isaac Hampton, So., Newberg

120 Brayden Boyd, Sr., Sprague

126 Zachary Keinonen, So., Newberg

132 Nash Singleton, Sr., Roseburg

138 Drew Jones, Jr., Mountain View

145 Ayden Garver, Sr., Newberg

152 Charlie Evans, Sr., Newberg

160 Price Pothier, Sr., Newberg

170 Riley Davis, Jr., Sprague

182 Brook Byers, Sr., Sprague

195 Hudson Davis, Jr., Newberg

220 David Sherman, Sr., Sprague

285 Cole Steketee, Jr., Sprague

Other returning champion

132 Nicky Olmstead, Sr., Newberg

Most state qualifiers

1, Newberg 21. 2, Roseburg 19. 3, (tie) Grants Pass, Sprague and Tualatin 13. 6, (tie) Cleveland, Mountain View and West Linn 12. 9, (tie) Canby, David Douglas, Sandy and Westview 11. 13, Mountainside 10. 14, Bend 9. 15, Aloha 8.

What to watch

Wild cards give challengers hope of dethroning 2-time defending champion Newberg

While Newberg had no wild cards to add to its massive 21-wrestler qualifying haul from the Pacific district meet, several leading challengers to the Tigers’ bid for a third consecutive Class 6A title at Sandy High School picked up additional arrows for their quivers. 

Roseburg, which saw its six-year title streak ended by the Tigers in 2020, picked up three additional qualifiers to give it 19 wrestlers in the field. Sprague added one more to its total and Mountain View three, making the Mountain Valley contenders that much more formidable.

Still, with six top seeds among its 21 qualifiers, Newberg rates the favorite to best a loaded field and win a third consecutive title for the first time in the storied program’s history.

“We’re excited about that, but we also know that nobody gets anything based on those seeds,” Tigers coach Neil Russo said. “We like our chances, but we are also aware that we are entering the event with a giant bulls-eye on our backs. I don’t think anyone can count out Roseburg, Mountain View, Sprague or West Linn.”

Among those top seeds is Garver, aiming to become the second Newberg wrestler to win four state titles, joining Tommy Sicillano (2007-10) among the 41 current members of the four-timers club.

Newberg, Sprague, Roseburg and Mountain View have hoarded the team trophies the past three seasons since the Cougars moved up from Class 5A in 2019. Before that, you have to go back to 2016 for the last time the top three didn’t include those three schools. However, West Linn and Grants Pass both could break up the band and snag their program’s first hardware since 2014.

132-pound bracket features 2 returning champions, 2021 runner-up

Russo pointed to the 113-pound bracket as perhaps the deepest in the tournament, but to borrow a phrase from World Cup soccer, I’d argue that the 132 bracket is the “Group of Death.” 

Start with a couple of two-time champions — Oregon State-bound Nash Singleton and Olmstead, who won titles as a freshman (106) and junior (126) — on opposite sides of the bracket. The two met in the semifinals at the Reser’s Tournament of Champions, with Singleton escaping with a 5-3 decision en route to the TOC title. 

Then, add West Linn senior Ethan Goff, who lost to Singleton in the 132 final in June and would face Olmstead in the semifinals if form holds.

Lurking as a No. 4 seed is Sprague senior Bo Davis, who placed fifth at 126 in June and could meet Singleton in the semifinals.

Goff among 11 runners-up back for more this winter

While the 132 bracket is loaded with talent, there are 10 other runners-up besides Goff from June’s state meet who hope to reverse their fortunes and take home top honors Sunday night.

It starts at 113, where Hampton moves up after taking second to Gage Singleton at 106 in the spring. Jones lost to Olmstead in the 126 final, while Pothier was runner-up to Sprague’s Davis at 160 and Steketee lost to his teammate, Sherman, in the 220 final. All four runners-up earned top seeds this weekend.

Other returning second-place finishers are Newberg senior Ethan Ritchie, who hopes for a rematch with Sprague’s Boyd at 120; Newberg sophomore Brandon Smith, part of a deep 113 bracket; Sprague’s Josh Camillo, moving up from 145 to 152; Century’s William Musser, who needed a wild card into the 160 bracket after taking second at 152 in June; and a couple of 195-pounders in McKay senior Gavin Harris, runner-up to Byers in 182, and Reynolds senior Robert Plympton, who lost to Newberg’s Davis in last spring’s final.