&nbps; Sixteen Columbia High sophomore and freshman wrestlers traveled to The Dalles, Ore., on Dec. 1 to participate in The Dalles Novice Invitational Wrestling Tournament.
The tournament was run in a four-man bracket format. Wrestlers from Hood River, Irrigon and The Dalles Wahtonka high schools also competed.
For Columbia, freshmen Jenson Ladiges, in the 152-pound weight class, and Seth Bell, in the 160-pound weight class, performed notably. Each wrestler pinned all three of his opponents.
Freshman Finn Anderson also made a good showing, winning all three of his matches, two by pin. Another CHS freshman, Alex Herschbach, won two of three matches, including one by pin.
"We were pleased with the efforts given by all of our wrestlers," Bruins Coach Stoner Bell said. "We have 27 students on the roster right now and a majority of them are underclassmen. We have a lot of first-year wrestlers this season."
The size of the turnout is good news for a wrestling program that has struggled to attract athletes the past few seasons.
Noted Bell: "We were impressed with how hard every wrestler fought on the mat. Even those that didn't win their matches demonstrated a lot of heart out there."
Bell said the early tournaments on CHS's 2006-07 schedule are helping Bruins coaches identify "the areas where we still need to work and are a good indication on whether we are in good enough shape to wrestle three rounds."
Columbia High varsity wrestlers will see their first action of the new season this weekend at the Bill Geister Invitational Tournament at Clackamas High School, in Clackamas, Ore.
The varsity tournament, with wrestling action on six mats, will start at 5 p.m. Friday and conclude Saturday.
A tournament for junior varsity wrestlers will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.