WILLAMINA — Warrenton finished fourth out of nine teams Saturday on the final day of wrestling in the 3A Special District 1 tournament at Willamina High School.
The Warriors finished with 167.5 points in the team standings, just one point behind third-place Dayton. Willamina was the big winner, racking up 337 points for the team title ahead of Rainier (225.5).
“We knew we wouldn’t have a load of champions, but we brought a big team and felt that if everyone chipped in, we could finish in a spot that we could be proud of,” said Warrenton coach Corey Conant.
The Warriors will send three wrestlers to the state meet, Feb. 16-17 in Portland.
And the trio includes one individual district champion, as junior Kaden Gilbert won the title at 182 pounds, and will make his third trip to the state meet, his first with Warrenton.
With just five wrestlers competing in the 182-pound bracket, Gilbert opened with byes in the first two rounds.
He scored a fall (1:32) over Chris Byrum of Taft in a semifinal match to qualify for state.
And Gilbert capped his tournament with a technical fall (2:38, 18-1) over Dayton’s Leonel Rosas in the championship match.
Warrior freshman Sam Irwin will also head to state, taking third out of five wrestlers at 195.
Irwin had a bye in the first round, won by forfeit in the second round, and lost by a fall (1:57) to Dayton’s Blake Larsen in the semifinals.
He bounced back in consolation, where he pinned teammate Leo Thompson in 2:14, then won the third-place match with a 9-7 decision over De La Salle’s Josue Hernandez.
At 285 pounds, Warrenton’s Beau Reynolds was 2-1 on the mat and finished third to qualify for state.
After a first-round bye, Reynolds pinned Dayton’s Guillermo Lopez in just 11 seconds in a quarterfinal match.
In the semifinals, Willamina’s Tanner Cavan had a 36-second pin over Reynolds, sending the Warrior senior to the consolation bracket, where he won another short match, a 15-second pin over Lopez.
There were 13 wrestlers in the bracket at 170 pounds, where Warrenton’s Morgan Buoy lost a first round match to Clatskanie’s Alvin Roberts.
But Buoy stayed afloat with four straight wins in the consolation bracket, with falls over Logan Gilleo of Taft (4:17) and DeAndra Brocksterman of Sheridan (5:07).
He scored a 4-3 decision against De La Salle’s Zachary Mahoney, followed by a 4-2 overtime win over De La Salle’s Maxwell Castillo.
In the third-place final, Willamina’s Nate Konovalov scored an 8-1 decision over Buoy, who placed fourth.
“We were so proud of the way Morgan fought,” Conant said. “The team points were huge, but he served as an even bigger inspiration to the rest team throughout the whole tournament.”
Also at 170, Warrenton’s Gabe Lagana scored three pins in consolation to place sixth.
“Over the course of the season, it is typically expected that you will lose a certain number of wrestlers to injuries, grades or students deciding they want to quit,” Conant said. “We kept almost our entire team with us from the beginning of the year to the end.
“All season we talk about how the district tournament is like an end-of-the-year exam,” he said. “The team felt like they could have finished higher, but this was a performance they should be proud of.”