“I feel good,” Brookings-Harbor High School wrestler Cole Hannan said. “I’ve been training a long time for this, and I finally got what I wanted, which was regional champ. First it was district champ, now it’s going to be state champ, it’s the next thing.”
Bruin wrestler Cole Hannan takes his opponent, Braden Vega of Phoenix, to the mat during the championship match of the regional tournament. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
Hannan was speaking after being crowned champion in the 138-pound weight class at the OSAA Special District 3 Regional Championships.
Hannan was one of eight Bruin wrestlers who qualified for the tournament by placing in the top four at the Far West League District Championships.
“It was exciting,” Head Coach Dave Freeman said. “We had an OK tournament. I don’t think we wrestled as well as we did at districts. Obviously the competition is tougher but we didn’t have the same overall fight.
“I’m not disappointed in their efforts at all; I’m really proud of the kids.”
Freshman Sam Strom, sophomores Adan Brambilla and Tyler Marrington, and juniors Brandon Holteen and Ethan Williams all lost their first-round matches to drop into the consolation bracket where all but Williams lost for a second time, putting them out of the tournament.
Strom was philosophical about his losses.
“It was pretty good,” he said. “It was my first year, and it’s all about learning. I felt pretty good though.”
According to Freeman, Strom was a completely different wrestler at regionals than he was at the beginning of the year.
“He might have wrestled better at districts,” Freeman said, “but that was a great match.”
Strom was being dominated through the third round before catching his opponent, Trevon Kuhlman of Henley, and almost pinning him before running out of time.
Williams won his second match of the tournament before running into eventual third-place finisher Geordy Blower of North Bend and losing by pin in the second round.
Senior Isaac Sanders won his first match in the 220-pound weight class with a 10-4 demolishing of Mazama’s Tyler Garrard to advance to the quarter finals where he faced Garrard’s teammate Trevor Derra.
Derra is ranked fourth in the state and Sanders was able to carry the match into a fourth overtime before allowing Derra up from the bottom and losing.
In high school wrestling, if the score is tied after the first three 2-minute rounds, the match goes into a one-minute sudden-death overtime. If the score is still tied, the match progresses into two 30-second rounds with each wrestler alternating top and bottom. If the score is still tied at the end of that round, the fourth and final overtime is a 30-second sudden-death round where the bottom man must escape, or lose.
Sanders and Derra had the score knotted up at 2 points each at the end of three rounds and carried that score through to the fourth and final overtime.
Sanders was assigned top position and failed to keep Derra on the mat and lost.
“This is bad,” Sanders said when asked what he was thinking as his opponent made his escape. “I was too tired and couldn’t keep him down. Now my goal is to come back and take third, and get to state.”
Sanders would come back, not to take third, but fourth, after losing by pin to Eli Noonan of Henley in the consolation finals match.
“It feels good to be going to state. First time ever,” he said. “I’m happy I’m going to state and I just want to place. My goal is to place at state.”
Freeman was impressed by how well Sanders did.
“Isaac was probably the biggest surprise,” he said. “He took a kid into overtime that was in the finals, so that is pretty good.”
CJ Paxton will also join Sanders and Hannan at the state tournament after taking second in the regional tournament at the 182-pound weight division.
Paxton defeated each of his opponents by points before losing to Phillip Morgan of Henley by pin in the second round.
“I’m pretty excited,” Paxton said, “because it is my first time going to state.
“I knew that I’d be going to state sometime in high school because I’ve been working really hard and that has been my goal since I was a freshman.”
“My next goal is to place at state,” he added. “If not this year, then next.”
Hannan was the only Bruin who was crowned champion and won each of his matches by points.
His first opponent, Riley Dodd of Phoenix, came closest to defeating Hannan with a final score of 8-7 but Hannan claimed victory to advance.
Hannan’s second match wasn’t even close as Henley’s Calvin Tilley scored just two points on an escape and a stalling call that went against the Bruins even though Tilley was laying on the mat and failed to improve his position in the 7-2 loss.
Freeman questioned the call and asked for clarification, but a seemingly overzealous referee cautioned him against speaking and eventually stripped the Bruins of a team point for a comment Freeman made to Hannan.
“I said, ‘Cole, cut him loose. He is just going to lay there with his head on the mat,’ ” Freeman explained. “The ref thought I was talking to him and called me for unsportsmanlike conduct.”
The final match of the night pitted Hannan against Dodd’s teammate, Braden Vega. Hannan won 7-4, and afterword talked about the gaps in score that would take place at the state tourament.
“I think at the next level it’s not going to be a lot of stretched-out scores,” he said. “It’s going to be close in each match. A win is a win for state, whether it is five points or one point. A win is a win.”
The Bruins leave for the state tournament Thursday and the first match of session one is Friday morning at 8:30 a.m.