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25 seniors to watch at Oregon high school wrestling championships

Here are 25 seniors who have shined this season.
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By René Ferrán  

The Oregon high school wrestling championships take place this weekend at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland. Here are 25 seniors who have shined this season.

Tyson Flack (La Pine) photo by Leon Neuschwander

Ariana Martinez, West Albany (115)

Career record: 93-16

2022-23 record: 42-0

Martinez could have wrestled in last year’s Class 5A boys state meet after placing fourth at district but chose instead to head to Culver for the girls tournament. Good choice — she romped through the 110-pound division as the No. 2 seed, beating No. 1 Analise Smith of Bend by technical fall in the final. This season, she won six in-season tournaments and repeated as district champion. Of her 42 victories, 35 have come by fall.

Chelo Garcia, Siletz Valley/Eddyville (105)

Career record: 47-2

2022-23 record: 17-0 

‘Chelo the Champ’ earned her moniker last season, when she became the second wrestler (and first girl) in school history to win a state championship with a first-round pin of McKay’s Sarahi Chavez. This season, she’s had only two matches last beyond the first period and one go the distance — a 9-0 major decision over Kendra Jamison of Sweet Home in the district final.

Cole Steketee, Sprague (285)

Career record: 94-15

2022-23 record: 37-1 

Steketee crashed out of the OSAA 6A state meet early as a freshman, and he realized changes were needed if he wanted to achieve his goal of becoming a state champion. After finishing second to teammate David Sherman in the 220 final at the OWA state meet during the COVID spring 2021 season, he came back last year and helped the Olympians finish second at state by winning his first title. This winter, he’s been even more dominant, with his only loss coming in the semifinals at the Reno Tournament of Champions to Aden Attao (a World U20s bronze medalist).

Daschle Lamer, Crescent Valley (170)

Career record: 114-14

2022-23 record: 37-1

Lamer has put together one of the most dominant senior seasons in recent history. The three-time state champion and Cal Poly signee’s only loss came in the semifinals of the Walsh Ironman to Lorenzo Norman (Stanford) of Blair (NJ) Academy. He’s won titles at the Reno TOC, Doc Buchanan and Reser’s TOC, and he needed just 110 seconds in three matches to win the Mid-Willamette district title. His coach and father, Chad, called Daschle “like having an extra coach in the room. He runs the warmups, helps show technique, and cares a lot about his teammates. It’s been a lot of fun to watch the levels he has jumped in his skills. His wrestling IQ and knowledge are about as good as it gets.”

Destiny Rodriguez, West Linn (155)

Career record: 68-0 (66 by fall)

2022-23 record: 19-0

The list of accolades Rodriguez has garnered during her career starts in grade school, when she was already qualifying for US national teams participating at international tournaments. In the past 12 months, she won her third state championship, qualified for the U20 world championships team and signed with national power McKendree University. The No. 3 female wrestler in the country pound-for-pound (and No. 1 at 152) in the most recent FloWrestling/USA Wrestling rankings looks to exit Memorial Coliseum as the second girl in state history to win four titles.

DJ Gillett, Crescent Valley (138)

Career record: 107-18

2022-23 record: 28-6

Gillett, an Oregon State commit, grew up in a wrestling room full of four-time state champions, and he’s now on the verge of becoming one himself. He has not lost to an in-state opponent since last year’s Reser’s TOC final against three-time champion Nash Singleton of Roseburg, winning a second Reser’s title three weeks ago and a third district title last weekend. Raiders coach Chad Lamer admires his ability to remain stoic on the mat, even during the most hectic moments. “He doesn’t get rattled easily,” Lamer said. “He is a great leader but does most of it with his actions and not his voice. He goes out and takes care of business when he steps on the mat.”

Drew Jones, Mountain View (132)

Career record: 115-27

2022-23 record: 33-2

Cougars coach Les Combs has had Jones on his club, middle school and now high school team for more than a decade, and Combs called him “quite the character most of his life.” Their long journey together led to a touching embrace between the two after Jones won his first state title last year with a 7-3 victory over West Linn’s Charles Spinning. “Pure joy and satisfaction,” Combs said of the moment. This season, Jones won titles at Sierra Nevada and Rollie Lane and reached the finals at Rose City and Reser’s TOC.

Dylan Lee, Ridgeview (160)

Career record: 130-32

2022-23 record: 45-4

A year ago, Lee realized a lifelong dream by winning a 5A state title in his hometown, defeating Crescent Valley’s Austin Dalton 8-2 in the 160 final. He transferred across town to Ridgeview this season, and three of his losses this season were to Reser’s TOC champion Jackson Potts of Mountain View — including the Intermountain district final, which Lee defaulted because of an injury.

Estella Gutches, North Medford (135)

Career record: 51-2

2022-23 record: 20-0

Nineteen matches. Nineteen first-period pins. That’s the story of Gutches’ season to date (she also has one forfeit win on her record) as she won the Reno Tournament of Champions and a third district title. Now, the niece of Hall of Fame wrestler and world champion Les Gutches looks to add an OSAA state title to the OWA title she won two years ago to close the COVID-shortened spring 2021 season.

Ethan Dunigan, Central (152)

Career record: 109-13

2022-23 record: 36-0

Dunigan last season narrowly missed winning the school’s first state title since 2018, falling 7-5 to Junior Downing of Redmond in front of a partisan hometown crowd at the 5A state meet. A year earlier, he was the final domino to fall in Chance Lamer’s four-time state championship run at Crescent Valley. Dunigan is back as a No. 1 seed this weekend, rolling through the season with only four matches lasting the full six minutes.

Haley Vann, Cleveland (130)

Career record: 97-5

2022-23 record: 40-0

Vann, the daughter of two jiu jitsu brown belts, didn’t pick up wrestling until arriving at Cleveland as a freshman, but with that martial arts background, she quickly became a force on the mats. She finished third as a freshman at the OSAA state meet, then won back-to-back titles at the OWA (2021) and OSAA (2022) meets. The North Central College commit arrives at Memorial Coliseum riding a 74-match win streak that includes titles at War of the Roses, Kelso and the Lady Dragon Invitational.

Hayden Walters, Crater (220)

Career record: 87-10

2022-23 record: 12-1

Walters spent the first three seasons of his high school career at Crescent Valley, where he won three state titles and helped the Raiders to three team championships. He moved home to Central Point over the summer, then saw most of his senior season derailed by a dislocated wrist suffered in the Reno TOC final. He returned in time for the Midwestern district meet, and he’ll look to join the four-time state champion club this weekend.

Hudson Davis, Newberg (195)

Career record: 116-13

2022-23 record: 28-1

Davis lost only once in three previous appearances at the 6A state championships, finishing third as a freshman before winning titles the past two years. He signed with Wyoming before the season, and his only loss this season came in the Rose City final to Oregon State signee Vaun Halstead of Thurston. He gained the nickname Pooh Bear with his classmates after sustaining rope burns sliding down the rope while rock climbing in PE class. “He burned his hands so badly that they swelled up like the Hamburger Helper guy,” recalled Tigers coach Neil Russo. “Our trainer rubbed honey on them and wrapped them with gauze.”

Hunter Kemper, Burns (152)

Career record: 114-15

2022-23 record: 42-4

Kemper steadily climbed the podium at the state tournaments during his career — from third place as a freshman to second at the COVID-shortened spring 2021 meet as a sophomore, then winning his first title with a 6-3 decision over Logan Chapman of Rainier last February. He won a fourth district title two weeks ago.

Jacob Sieminski, Sweet Home (132)

Career record: 147-18

2022-23 record: 46-5

Sieminski rebounded from a loss in the district final last year to win his second 4A state championship, avenging that defeat with a technical fall against Philomath’s Blake Niemann. He became his school’s first Reser’s TOC champion since 2014 by avenging another defeat, beating Mountain View’s Drew Jones, but after winning the district title last weekend, he won’t have anything to avenge this weekend.

Jaxson Gribskov, Hermiston (182)

Career record: 108-40

2022-23 record: 39-8

Gribskov won a Washington state championship last season at 182 pounds. After winning district and regional titles this season, he reached the final at Mat Classic XXXIV before falling to Lincoln’s Navarre Dixon at the Tacoma Dome.

Joshua Collins, La Grande (138)

Career record: 98-25

2022-23 record: 27-6 

For years, Collins has joined the Carsons (Braden, Kai and coach Klel) for wrestling trips around the world — Hawaii, Switzerland, Austria, Poland and Germany, among other stops — and enjoyed success all along the way. He’ll make one last trip with Kai and Klel this weekend to Memorial Coliseum, hoping to make the 4A state final for a fourth time and win his second title after knocking off Eli Howard of Stayton last year.

Justin Rademacher, West Linn (182)

Career record: 119-12

2022-23 record: 40-1

Twice a Reser’s TOC champion. Four times a Three Rivers district titlist. Doc Buchanan champion. Two-time Fargo All-American. Those are just some of the accolades that Rademacher, an Oregon State signee, has garnered over the past four seasons. The only one to have eluded him? High school state champion, but considering how dominant he has been this season, that should change by Sunday afternoon. “He has not taken his foot off the pedal in his training,” Lions coach Kevin Keeney said. “I expect the Coliseum will see the best Justin Rademacher they have ever seen (this weekend).”

Kaylee Annis, Thurston (110)

Career record: 82-6

2022-23 record: 34-2

Annis has been one of the cornerstones of a Thurston program that has established itself as one of the state’s best on the girls side. She reached the state final in her first three seasons, winning titles the past two seasons, and won her fourth district championship to cap a season that saw her win titles at Perry Burlison and the Lady Dragon Invitational.

Kira Kerr, La Pine (155)

Career record: 58-6

2022-23 record: 11-0 

Kerr is one of five members of her family to win state championships for La Pine, earning hers in the final 10 seconds of the title match last season in Culver. She missed the first half of her senior season, but since returning, she has pinned all 10 of her opponents on the mat, including a 13-second pin of Hannah Henderson of Harrisburg in the district final.

Kolton Malone, Thurston (145)

Career record: 126-7

2022-23 record: 34-0

Malone lost in the final of the OSAA 5A state meet his freshman season, then had to sit out the COVID spring 2021 season because of a shoulder injury. That leaves his defeat to Daschle Lamer in the 120 final in 2020 as the last time he exited a high school mat without having his hand raised in victory. He won his first state title last season in Redmond, and he comes to Memorial Coliseum riding a 77-match win streak.

Maddox Griggs, Sutherlin (285)

Career record: 71-27

2022-23 record: 24-5 

Griggs first made his mark at the end of his sophomore season in the spring of 2021, when he vaulted from fourth at the district tournament to a fourth-place finish at the OWA state meet. He came back last winter to win the OSAA state heavyweight title, and he returns this weekend hoping to repeat as champion.

Mason Buss, Siuslaw (195)

Career record: 116-26

2022-23 record: 29-0

Buss saved his best for last the past two seasons, finishing third at the OWA 4A state meet as a sophomore and reaching the final at the OSAA state meet last year, knocking off the top seed in the semifinals before losing to Junction City’s Carson Henderson in the final. Siuslaw dropped to 3A this season, and Buss has rolled through every comer, winning five in-season tournaments and his first district title. A victory this weekend would make him the Vikings’ first state champion since 2017.

Tyson Flack, La Pine (106)

Career record: 102-25

2022-23 record: 40-2

Not only did Flack become his school’s first Reser’s TOC champion this month by pinning Carsen Atterbury of Dallas in the final, but the win was his 100th career victory. He added two more wins a week later to earn his second district title, and he’ll go for his second 3A state title this weekend — he won the OWA title as a sophomore and placed third last year.

Vaun Halstead, Thurston (195)

Career record: 117-20

2022-23 record: 37-0 

Halstead turned from being a football player who excelled at wrestling to a wrestler who’s also a football standout around this time last year, when in a month’s time, he won a Reser’s TOC title, district title and 5A state championship. He completed his transition when he signed with Oregon State’s wrestling program, and after winning a second Reser’s TOC this month, he has a chance to complete an undefeated season this weekend at Memorial Coliseum. 


106 boys and 100 girls

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126 boys and 115 girls

132 boys and 120 girls

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170 boys and 145 girls

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195 boys and 170 girls

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285 boys and 235 girls