TURNER – As a freshman wrestler at Cascade in 2019, Mauro Michel started to think big when coach Jason Lovell told him he could be the school's first four-time state champion.
“That was the one goal I took to heart, no matter what,” Michel said.
Saturday night in the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 4A wrestling championships at Cascade, Michel's goal came to fruition, even if his career didn't play out exactly as anticipated.
After winning two titles for Cascade, Michel transferred to Stayton – where his brothers wrestled for the Eagles – and added two more championships. He joined an elite fraternity Saturday when he pinned all four of his opponents, taking out Banks senior Dylan Smith in 33 seconds in the 138-pound final in his former home gym.
An emotional Michel said he drew on the strength of his teammates, who raised him up on their shoulders in celebration.
“They've always been family to me, every single one,” Michel said. “Even if they're not blood, these guys mean so much to me. Seeing them here after I did something very big – just for my family and my schools in general – I'm just happy. It's one of the best days of my life.”
Michel, who has not lost since his freshman year, went 45-0 this season to extend his winning streak to 118 matches. He went 160-4 in his career, with three losses coming against Crescent Valley's Gabe Whisenhunt and one to West Linn's Ricky Bell.
Before Michel transferred to Stayton, the Eagles' last state champion was in 1993, when assistant coach Travis King won a title.
“It's been fun having him,” Stayton coach Stuart Peterson said of Michel. “He grew up in Stayton, and it was nice to have him back and carry out that legacy that his brothers brought through. It's great for him to have that as a memory now.”
What sets Michel apart?
“He has fun,” Peterson said. “And he's got that cradle. He can hit it from anywhere on the mat at any time.”
La Grande won its second team title in three seasons, scoring 275.5 points to hold off reigning champion Sweet Home (250.5), Tillamook (187) and Philomath (118).
The Tigers got titles from senior Braden Carson (145), junior Joshua Collins (138) and sophomore Kai Carson (120) and runner-up finishes from sophomore Mason Wolcott (106) and senior Brody MacMillan (195).
“This team was just amazing,” Braden Carson said. “We really had good cohesion. We stuck together really well on the trips. We encouraged each other. Those younger guys really pushed me in the mat room.”
Braden Carson won his third consecutive title by defeating Baker/Powder Valley senior Gavin Stone 10-0 in the final. He finished the season with a 39-1 record.
“Being in the state finals, there's nerves, and I just went out there and I knew I was going to do good,” Braden Carson said. “I knew my best was going to be a little bit better than his best.”
Having his brother also win a title made the night that much sweeter for Braden Carson.
“He's a stud. Way better than me when I was a sophomore,” Braden said of Kai. “I'm just super proud of him.”
They are the sons of La Grande coach Klel Carson.
“It's been a blast coaching them both,” Klel Carson said. “This weekend is like Christmas. I couldn't wait for it to get here and I don't want it to end.”
The Carsons weren't the only brothers to win titles, though. Sweet Home junior Jacob Sieminski (126) and sophomore Kyle Sieminski (106) were two of the Huskies' four individual champions, the others being freshman Jacob Landtroop (113) and senior Colby Gazeley (220).
It marked the second year in a row that the Sieminskis won titles together.
“It was just as cool as last year,” Jacob Sieminski said. “Still nerve-racking, though.”
Jacob Sieminski defeated Philomath senior Blake Niemann 16-0 to get payback for when Niemann pinned him in the regional final two weeks earlier. That was his first-ever loss to Niemann.
“It was the second time I've gotten pinned in the last five years that I remember,” Jacob Sieminski said. “So it was definitely difficult to come back from that. … But it was worth it in the end.”
Cascade senior Lance VanHoose (182) won his second title in a row. Marshfield senior Miguel Velasquez, won won a 2A/1A title for Reedsport in 2020, prevailed at 195.
4A finals, Cascade HS
106 – Kyle Sieminski (Sweet Home) 44-4, So. over Mason Wolcott (La Grande) 31-9, So. (Fall 3:28)
113 – Jacob Landtroop (Sweet Home) 26-6, Fr. over Maxam Salvetti (Molalla) 31-7, Sr. (Dec 8-4)
120 – Kai Carson (La Grande) 39-3, So. over Kyle Watkins (Sweet Home) 45-10, Sr. (Dec 7-1)
126 – Jacob Sieminski (Sweet Home) 48-7, Jr. over Blake Niemann (Philomath) 42-7, Sr. (TF-1.5 4:27 (16-0))
132 – Mauro Michel (Stayton) 45-0, Sr. over Dylan Smith (Banks) 34-6, Sr. (Fall 0:33)
138 – Joshua Collins (La Grande) 36-7, Jr. over Eli Howard (Stayton) 40-3, Sr. (Dec 11-4)
145 – Braden Carson (La Grande) 39-1, Sr. over Gavin Stone (Baker/Powder Valley) 39-15, Sr. (MD 10-0)
152 – Ruben Hernandez (Ontario) 19-3, Sr. over Landen Wing (North Marion) 18-1, So. (Fall 2:45)
160 – Carson Henderson (Junction City) 27-3, Jr. over Mason Buss (Siuslaw) 29-9, Jr. (Dec 9-2)
170 – Emmett Henderson (Junction City) 29-1, Sr. over Blaise Pindell (Philomath) 35-4, Sr. (Dec 8-6)
182 – Lance VanHoose (Cascade) 44-2, Sr. over Daevon Vereen (Banks) 30-7, Jr. (MD 12-2)
195 – Miguel Velazquez (Marshfield) 27-2, Sr. over Brody MacMillan (La Grande) 25-8, Sr. (Dec 9-5)
220 – Colby Gazeley (Sweet Home) 41-10, Sr. over Tanner Wells (McLoughlin/Weston McEwen) 6-1, Sr. (Dec 4-2)
285 – Jaden Martin (Baker/Powder Valley) 42-4, Sr. over Christopher Woods (Hidden Valley) 23-1, Sr. (Fall 5:15)
Crescent Valley came back to win its fourth consecutive 5A championship in a packed Ridgeview gym Saturday night.
The Raiders were led by four-time state champs Gabe Whisenhunt (126) and James Rowley (182).
"Four state titles, four team titles," Rowley said. "Gabe and I starting from the bottom as little freshmen, now leaders of the team as seniors. This fourth one means a lot. Hope people had fun watching. Enjoyed the show, too."
“The boys wrestled really well,” Crescent Valley coach Chad Lamer said. “They didn’t leave hardly any extra points out there. … They wrestled great.”
Other Raiders winning titles were sophomore Everest Sutton (106), juniors DJ Gillett (132), Daschle Lamer (170) and Hayden Walters (195) and senior Riley Godek (285). Gillett, Lamer and Walters each won their third titles. It was the second title for Sutton.
Crook County held a slight lead entering the finals but the Raiders proved to be solid late in the tournament, ending with 241 points. Crook County (210.5), Thurston (208.5) and Redmond (152) were next.
“We have numbers for our guys on the back-side to keep making points up for us,” Chad Lamer said “So after the semifinals, it really helped for us gain a lot of points, and keeps us in the lead.”
Crook County's only title came from senior Tucker Bonner, who defeated senior teammate Mitch Warren 10-3 in the 120 final.
“I think we had a chance. Some of the guys needed to score some more points,” Crook County coach Jake Gonzales said. “Crescent Valley is tough and it is good to address that tough competition, so overall it was a good tournament.”
Gonzales was honored with coach of the year at the tournament.
“It really goes to the kids. They are the ones competing,” Gonzales said.
The change in format and venue gave the event a different feel than a traditional state tournament, according to Chad Lamer.
“Only having to make weight once is weird,” Lamer said. “But it was still a good environment. It’s nice when people can get close to the mat. It’s really loud in this gym which makes things exciting too.”
– Bill Baker
5A finals, Ridgeview HS
106 – Everest Sutton (Crescent Valley) 22-5, So. over Billy Jackson (Redmond) 31-3, Fr. (Fall 1:38)
113 – Elijah Bayne (Crater) 30-6, Fr. over Landon Lavey (Crook County) 32-8, Fr. (Dec 10-4)
120 – Tucker Bonner (Crook County) 36-3, Sr. over Mitch Warren (Crook County) 25-9, Sr. (Dec 10-3)
126 – Gabe Whisenhunt (Crescent Valley) 35-2, Sr. over Anthony Comer (Scapppoose) 33-6, Jr. (Fall 3:29)
132 – DJ Gillett (Crescent Valley) 31-8, Jr. over Dylan Dahling (Eagle Point) 21-7, Sr. (Fall 4:55)
138 – Kolton Malone (Thurston) 43-0, Jr. over Derek Sossie (West Albany) 39-6, Jr. (Dec 9-2)
145 – Junior Downing (Redmond) 45-4, Sr. over Ethan Dunigan (Central) 31-4, Jr. (Dec 7-5)
152 – Hunter Harwood (Thurston) 38-3, Sr. over Daniel Jaramillo (Ridgeview) 36-10, Sr. (Fall 1:35)
160 – Dylan Lee (Redmond) 41-8, Jr. over Austin Dalton (Crescent Valley) 20-6, Sr. (Dec 8-2)
170 – Daschle Lamer (Crescent Valley) 31-4, Jr. over Brayden Duke (Crook County) 32-6, Sr. (TF-1.5 4:24 (16-1))
182 – James Rowley (Crescent Valley) 34-2, Sr. over Marshall Rodenbeck (Wilsonville) 25-5, Sr. (Fall 1:41)
195 – Hayden Walters (Crescent Valley) 33-3, Jr. over Ray Solis (Crook County) 27-5, Sr. (Fall 4:45)
220 – Vaun Halstead (Thurston) 36-1, Jr. over Sebastian Echeverria (Hillsboro) 27-3, Jr. (Dec 7-1)
285 – Riley Godek (Crescent Valley) 23-4, Sr. over Neal Walter (North Bend) 30-4, Jr. (MD 14-3)
Host La Pine got titles from senior Dylan Mann (138) and freshmen Landyn Philpott (120) and Devon Kerr (132) to win its third title in four seasons in the 3A tournament Saturday night.
Senior Dylan Hankey (195) added a runner-up finish for the Hawks, who scored 199.5 points to beat Burns (166.5), Harrisburg (110.5) and Nyssa (87).
Dayton senior Tony Cisneros (145) grabbed his second title in a row and completed a 27-0 season by pinning Burns senior Kevin Peasley, last year's champion at 145, in the third round.
Also repeating as champions were Mann and Willamina/Falls City senior Michael Fox (160). Burns senior Oliver Barnes (126), a champion in 2020, grabbed his second title.
South Umpqua senior Caj Simmons capped a 24-0 season with a title at 195. Nyssa senior Alec Carey (182) pulled out a 3-2 decision in the final over Dayton senior David Bowlin, the champion at 182 last year.
3A finals, La Pine HS
106 – Luke Cheek (Harrisburg) 43-4, Fr. over Canon Winn (Burns) 21-3, Fr. (Dec 4-2)
113 – Kale Cornell (Burns) 43-4, Fr. over Joseph Hutchins (Cascade Christian) 25-6, Fr. (Fall 2:43)
120 – Landyn Philpott (La Pine) 39-9, Fr. over Ethan Peasley (Burns) 16-6, Sr. (Dec 5-2)
126 – Oliver Barnes (Burns) 46-4, Sr. over Curtis Talmadge (Harrisburg) 33-9, Jr. (MD 13-0)
132 – Devon Kerr (La Pine) 38-6, Fr. over Nephi Heakin (Harrisburg) 34-14, So. (Fall 1:28)
138 – Dylan Mann (La Pine) 48-3, Sr. over Austin Johnson (Willamina/Falls City) 5-1, Jr. (Fall 1:57)
145 – Tony Cisneros (Dayton) 27-0, Sr. over Kevin Peasley (Burns) 42-13, Sr. (Fall 5:34)
152 – Hunter Kemper (Burns) 12-1, Jr. over Logan Chapman (Rainier) 39-5, Sr. (Dec 6-3)
160 – Michael Fox (Willamina/Falls City) 6-0, Sr. over Garrett Forbes (La Pine) 28-7, Jr. (Dec 4-1)
170 – Easton Kemper (Burns) 39-7, Fr. over Alex Tapia (Warrenton) 18-4, Sr. (Fall 2:25)
182 – Alec Carey (Nyssa) 34-7, Sr. over David Bowlin (Dayton) 33-3, Sr. (Dec 3-2)
195 – Caj Simmons (South Umpqua) 24-0, Sr. over Dylan Hankey (La Pine) 32-8, Sr. (Dec 16-13)
220 – Jesse Aragon (Nyssa) 31-12, Jr. over Trent Olsen (Sutherlin) 35-1, Sr. (Dec 3-1)
285 – Maddox Griggs (Sutherlin) 29-2, Jr. over Kody Van Meter (Nyssa) 23-18, Sr. (Dec 6-2)
Host Culver put six wrestlers in the finals – winning four titles – to capture its 14th state championship in 16 seasons in the 2A/1A tournament Saturday.
Of all the team's titles, though, this is the first one the Bulldogs have won in their home gym.
“It felt great having my whole family here to cheer me on,” said Culver senior Noel Navarro, the champion at 120. He added that “there was a whole different energy being in front of my home fans.”
Navarro pinned his way through the bracket to win his first title. Culver's other champions were senior Isaiah Toomey (160) and juniors Kelin Abbas (145) and Wylie Johnson (285).
“It was indescribable, feeling the crowd and my teammates roar when I won the title,” Toomey said. “It felt really good knowing I accomplished my goal I'd had my whole high school career.”
Juniors Debren Sanabria (113) and Reeden Arsenault (138) were runners-up for the Bulldogs, who racked up 182 points to outpace Illinois Valley (101.5), Vernonia (80) and Toledo (72).
Culver coach J.D. Alley reflected on another team title.
“We try to make everyone feel special and unique,” Alley said. “Some of these kids may not have even been born when we won our first in 2007.”
The Butner brothers of Pine Eagle finished off impressive seasons with wins in the finals. Senior Coy Butner (132) won his first title with a 7-2 decision over Reedsport senior Aaron Solomon, last year's champion at 132. Senior Chase Butner (138) collected his third championship by outlasting Culver's Arsenault 11-8 in the final.
Coy and Chase finished with season records of 31-1 and 29-1, respectively.
Oakland senior Kaleb Oliver (170) completed a 29-0 season by picking up his second championship. Others winning their second titles were Illinois Valley sophomore Michael Miller (106), Imbler senior Garrett Burns (126), Grant Union/Prairie City senior Justin Hodge (152) and Lakeview senior Morgan Ludwig (182).
– Jeremy Lanthorn
2A/1A finals, Culver HS
106 – Michael Miller (Illinois Valley) 22-1, So. over Harley Hardison (Lowell) 15-4, Fr. (Dec 6-3)
113 – Micah Martinho (Illinois Valley) 28-1, Fr. over Debren Sanabria (Culver) 25-9, Jr. (Dec 9-5)
120 – Noel Navarro (Culver) 33-9, Sr. over Brandon DePue (Vernonia) 20-4, Sr. (Fall 3:20)
126 – Garrett Burns (Imbler) 7-0, Sr. over John Otley (Crane) 33-5, Sr. (Dec 7-2)
132 – Coy Butner (Pine Eagle) 31-1, Sr. over Aaron Solomon (Reedsport) 19-3, Sr. (Dec 7-2)
138 – Chase Butner (Pine Eagle) 29-1, Sr. over Reeden Arsenault (Culver) 29-17, Jr. (Dec 11-8)
145 – Kelin Abbas (Culver) 31-15, Jr. over Ryan Griffin (Illinois Valley) 23-4, So. (Dec 4-2)
152 – Justin Hodge (Grant Union/ Prairie City) 38-1, Sr. over Wyatt Patzke (Lakeview) 26-4, Sr. (Dec 16-13)
160 – Isaiah Toomey (Culver) 41-8, Sr. over Joseph Lathrop (Elgin) 34-15, Jr. (Dec 7-4)
170 – Kaleb Oliver (Oakland) 29-0, Sr. over Jake Doman (Crane) 26-13, Jr. (Fall 2:33)
182 – Morgan Ludwig (Lakeview) 40-2, Sr. over Jacob Beauchamp (Central Linn) 38-7, Jr. (Dec 6-0)
195 – Ash Blomstrom (Toledo) 26-4, So. over Logan Clayburn (Myrtle Point) 23-5, So. (Fall 5:23)
220 – Tommy Vigue (Coquille) 24-10, So. over Toby Clow (Adrian) 33-3, Sr. (Fall 1:37)
285 – Wylie Johnson (Culver) 42-4, Jr. over Rylan Cox (Grant Union/ Prairie City) 14-6, Jr. (Fall 2:55)