While the high schoolers are competing in league and district meets, five Knappa youth wrestlers took part in the Oregon Kids state tournament, held Friday through Sunday at the OSU Truax Center in Corvallis.
The Knappa Kids had two top-four placers, as Gary Newberry III took fourth in a 16-wrestler peewee bracket, and Cutter Barendse placed fourth out of 23 wrestlers in an 8U bantam bracket.
Newberry lost his first match in the 6U Peewee 37 bracket, but bounced back with four straight wins. The victories included a 21-second pin over Axel Harmon of Creswell, a 9-6 decision against Mauricio Reyes of Eastern Oregon Elite, and a 15-0 technical fall over Roseburg/Umpqua Valley's Esson McNabb.
In a consolation semifinal, Newberry won a 7-4 decision vs. Blake Johnson of the Salem Elite Mat Club.
In the third-place match, Dante Lewis of the Beaverton Mat Club pinned Newberry in 59 seconds, leaving Newberry with 14.5 team points.
Barendse had a busy tournament in his 70-pound division, wrestling seven matches, winning five.
After a loss in the championship bracket second round, Barendse wrestled back with five straight victories.
He won three in a row by pin over wrestlers from West Albany, Dayton and Pleasant Hill, followed by a 5-4 decision against Harrison Smith of the Lebanon Mat Club, who earlier had defeated Barendse in the Oregon Classic.
In the consolation semifinals, Barendse won by fall (2:33) over Cash Cooper of Pleasant Hill.
And in the third-place match, Brayden Thomas of the Dallas Mat Club won a thriller over Barendse, 2-1.
“It’s been a long season and the kids have worked hard,” said Knappa coach Gary Newberry. “The hard work showed this weekend in matches where they were down in points, but worked hard to win in the end.”
Other Knappa wrestlers taking part included Kenneth Lyle (8U Bantam 53), Easton Bartlett (8U Bantam 56) and Kohen Connor (10U Intermediate 84).