Luke Nelson, Seaside wrestling

Seaside junior Luke Nelson, second from right, finished second at 220 pounds in the district wrestling finals at Tillamook to qualify for the state tournament.

As expected, wrestling powerhouse Tillamook ran off with the District 1/4A title over the weekend.

Hosting the tournament Friday and Saturday on their home mat, the Cheesemakers dominated the eight-team field by scoring 474 team points, well ahead of second-place Estacada (224.5). Woodburn was third (223.5) and Molalla fourth (214).

The No. 1-ranked team in the latest 4A coaches poll, Tillamook had 13 wrestlers reach the finals in their respective weight classes, with five winning individual championships. The Cheesemakers will send 21 wrestlers to the state tournament, Feb. 22-23 at Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

Seaside finished seventh in the district meet with 80.5 points, and qualified two wrestlers for state, while Astoria took eighth (31), with one state qualifier.

Junior Luke Nelson highlighted the tournament for the Gulls by taking second at 220 pounds.

After a first-round bye, Nelson won by technical fall (15-0 at 5:07) over Jackson Turner of Estacada, followed by a 7-1 decision over Tillamook’s Dawson McKibbin in a semifinal match.

Nelson’s day came to a quick end in the finals, as James Ellis of Banks ran his record to 36-1 with a 22-second pin.

Seaside’s Andrew Gastelum qualified for state with a third-place finish at 120 pounds.

The junior pinned Woodburn’s Ernie Preciado in 5:50 in a quarterfinal match, before Quintin Metcalfe of Tillamook pinned Gastelum in 1:17 in the semifinals.

Gastelum bounced back strong, pinning his next two opponents in consolation. He took care of Molalla’s Alec Lowry in 1:59, then won by fall (4:37) over Estacada’s Landin Vittetoe in the third-place match.

For Astoria, Skylar Smith scored 18 points for the Fishermen by placing third and qualifying for state at 285 pounds.

Smith scored a quarterfinal victory with a pin over Estacada’s Kenny Clark in 3:52, before Brian Rieger of Tillamook had a 46-second pin over Smith.

Smith rebounded with a 35-second fall against Seaside’s Gunner Knox, then Smith won a rematch with Clark, scoring a 9-6 decision in the third-place match.

Gary Henley is a sports reporter for The Daily Astorian. Contact him at 503-861-8493 or

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