BranFord News

Subscribe Now!

Wrestling Results: State Champions, Other Results For Columbia County Schools

Wrestling Results: State Champions, Other Results For Columbia County Schools

Some of Columbia County’s top high school wrestlers put it all on the mats at the OSAA/OnPoint State Wrestling Championships, which were held Feb. 22-23 at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

State Champions

The headline performances were St. Helens High School’s Jadyn Pense and Scappoose’s Maverick Heimbuck, and Vernonia’s Trevor Wolf who earned state titles in their respective divisions.

Wolf was the #1 seed heading into the tournament. Wolf had a 39-1 record for the season, and pinned all 3 opponents at the state tournament en route to a championship in the 138 lb. division.

Pense is just a freshman, but she proved that she is the best in the state, capping off a tremendous season with a girls 4A/3A/2A/1A state championship. Hannah Barber, an assistant coach for the Lions, detailed what the achievement meant for Pense and the program.

“It was really just a big moment for women especially. We haven’t had a collegiate girls state champion yet,” Barber said. “It was a big deal, because not only is she a freshman, but she’s 14 years old. This is her first year in high school; she’s never lost a match in Oregon yet.”

Barber said the achievement says a lot about what the future of Pense’s career could look like. Barber said that watching Pense achieve the title was an “empowering moment.”

“She worked really hard for this; she was going to double practices, girls’ and boys’ practices, and I could tell it was starting to get to her a little bit,” Barber said. “After the match, she was crying, and she said, ‘I worked so hard for this, and it’s all paid off.’”

Like Pense, Heimbuck entered the bracket as the number 1 seed in the 4A 157 lb. division and was able to defend the ranking through the bracket to seize the title.

In addition to the two state champions, Columbia County schools acquitted themselves well. Let’s take a look at where some of the other wrestlers from around the county ended up.

Clatskanie Middle/High School

Clatskanie sent two wrestlers to state, Natalie Baker from its girls team and Taylor Crawford on the boys side.

Head Coach Zach Davis said that Crawford placed 2nd at state after knocking off the number 2 tournament seed in his first match.

“He wrestled extremely well this weekend,” Davis said.

Baker got a tough draw in the bracket, and lost her first match against the number 1 seed. Baker rebounded with a win in her second match, but was unfortunately eliminated in her third match and did not place.

“Going into next year we will have a strong, seasoned team and hope to send more athletes to state and bring home some more placers,” Davis said. “The entire team deserves praise for finishing the season strong.”

Rainier High School

Rainier sent five wrestlers to state, two on the girls side and three from the boys team. Derek Katon, Jonny Rice, and Walker Makinson represented the Columbians on the boys side of the bracket.

Makinson lost his blood round and narrowly missed placement. Rice advanced and won his blood round to achieve an automatic placement in the tournament. After losing his consolation semifinal match, Rice competed for fifth place but ultimately finished 6th.

Katon, who won the District Championship in the 165 lb. division, had a great showing at state, finishing second in the 3A 165 lb. class.

On the girl’s side, Kasey Neal and Lily Key both lost in their blood round matches, and each finished one spot short of placement.

St. Helens High School

St. Helens sent a large contingent of wrestlers to the state tournament, including eight wrestlers for the boy’s team. Evan Willis placed 4th, Greg Hall got 5th, Tyler Smith placed 6th, and Austin Stockwell placed 4th.

Michael Cobabe, John Hubbard, and Carter Stewart wrestled but did not place, according to Head Coach Paul Connelly.

“Overall, the team did outstanding, and I was very pleased with our performance,” Connelly said.

On the girls side, Pense, Kate Leonard, Annaliese Steele, and Kallee Kester represented the Lions. Leonard, a senior and captain, placed 3rd. Kester, a junior and captain, placed 3rd. Barber said that Leonard was a great leader for the team this year.

“Not only is [Leonard] an exceptional wrestler, she’s an awesome individual. She was our captain along with Kallee Kester this year, and she’s really good with the girls,” Barber said. “She really enjoys pushing herself during practice but also enjoys helping the other girls figure out how to wrestle. We have a lot of new girls, and she and Kallee have been really good about working with them.”

Regarding Kester, Barber said that she was battling a knee injury for much of the season but still managed to make state and battle through the adversity for a 3rd place finish. Of note, both Pense and Kester were both recipients of the St. Helens Middle School John Beck Memorial Award, Pense in 2023, and Kester in 2021. They continue to excel at the high school level.

Barber said that the team’s success had been a product of the buy-in from the athletes in the program and the well-rounded approach of the coaching staff. Barber said there have been many different people who have volunteered their time to lend their expertise to help coach the wrestlers.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *