The future of wrestling in Clatsop County is in good hands, as a few youngsters showed last weekend in the Oregon Kids State Championships.
The youth wrestling event was held Saturday and Sunday at the Oregon State Fair & Expo Center, where some young members of the Knappa Kids and Lower Columbia youth clubs posted some big results.
Lower Columbia had two participants, and both placed.
Competing in the Under 12 (U12) novice category, Brayden Cooley, 10, of Seaside took third place in the 117-pound division.
Cooley lost his opener in the championship bracket, then bounced back in consolation with four straight wins. He pinned Damian Rael of the Silverton Mat Club in 1:57, then followed with a major decision against Lowell’s Aayden Dillon (10-2), then back-to-back pins over Rocco Caranna of Deschutes (1:50) and Mattaeo Calderon of the Rock of Redmond club (1:52).
In the second place match, Hillsboro’s Isiah Conner pinned Cooley in 16 seconds.
Lower Columbia’s Kaison Smith added team points with a fifth place finish at 170 pounds, in the U16 Cadet division.
The Knappa Kids had six wrestlers competing, with three placing in the U6 Peewee division.
Carl Isom highlighted Knappa’s tournament with a third-place finish in the 38-pound class.
Isom opened with a fall over Oregon City’s Juniper Ramirez, won a 15-10 decision against Vince Leanos of the North Eugene club, then pinned Alec Edgar-Storbeck of Team Bucs in 2:50.
In the championship match, Mauricio Reyes of the Ontario Tigers scored a 15-0 technical fall over Isom, who also lost in the second-place match to Adriel Flores of Madras.
At 41 pounds, Gary (“LG”) Newberry III took fourth, advancing to the quarterfinals, and after a loss Newberry won three straight in consolation before falling in the third-place match.
Jameson “The Destroyer” Landwehr took sixth at 45 pounds, highlighted by a 26-second pin in the quarterfinals.
Other Knappa wrestlers who made the trip to state were Easton Bartlett (U8 Bantam), Cutter Barendse (U10 Intermediate) and Zion Ausmus (U12 Novice).
The 6U wrestlers “have had a great season,” said Gary Newberry, a Knappa coach. “They have been putting in a lot of work, and it all paid off.”