By SVERRE BAKKE
Columbia High’s wrestling team picked up its second SWW 1A League Trico Division victory of the season last Thursday, pinning a 46-30 loss on Rochester during a double dual meet in Castle Rock.
The Bruins (2-2 in Trico, 4-5 overall) decided the meet—which Bruins Coach Rich Polkinghorn thought would be “very close”—by winning the last two matches.
Kevin Kreps pinned his opponent in the 145-pound weight class in 45 seconds to secure the victory for Columbia, and Connor Warner put an exclamation point on the win with a come-from-behind pin in the second round of his 152-pound match.
Against host Castle Rock, Columbia was “just totally outgunned,” Polkinghorn said. “They have a very quality program that turns out great wrestlers. They are where we hope to be in a few years.”
The Bruins fell to the Rockets, 59-19, with one of their wins coming via a pin by 189-pounder Ben Ward. On the day, Ward wrestled two matches and won both by fall.
Polkinghorn said Ward’s performance was “very gutsy” in that the sophomore injured an ankle during warm-ups, yet still took his turns on the mat. Later, the team learned that Ward had fractured the ankle.
“It’s disappointing because Ben has made such tremendous growth this season,” Polkinghorn said. “With a year of weights behind, he’ll be a force next season.”
Other varsity standouts for Columbia last Thursday included Jon Belvin (2-0 at 125), Brad Spring (1-1 at 119), Ethan Cranmer (1-1 at 135), Jim Price (1-1 at 160), Seth Bell (1-1 at 171), Max Wulff (1-1 at 215) and Russ Bucher (1-1 at 285).
Winners in junior varsity action were Omar Ihmoda (171), Josh Bell (160) and Devin Bulick (215).
“The kids wrestled very well,” Polkinghorn said. “We have seen such huge growth with them this season; it’s fun to watch them get better everytime they step on the mat.”
Hood River Tournament
Kevin Kreps earned a second-place finish in the 145-pound weight class at the 18-team tournament staged Jan. 5 at Hood River Valley High School.
Kreps posted a 3-1 record on the day, winning once by fall and twice by decision.
In his first match, Kreps faced Cameron Silva of Centennial and pinned him in 1 minute, 48 seconds. Next he wrestled Steven Tavarres of Lakeridge and won 14-8. He followed up with a 15-8 decision over Nathan Chrissman of Silverton, Ore.
In the finals, Kreps met Hood River’s Sean Baker, Oregon’s No. 1 ranked wrestler at 140 pounds and a fourth-place finisher at the 2007 state tournament. Baker pinned Kreps in the second round.
The loss notwithstanding, Kreps’ tournament performance “was stellar,” according to Bruins Coach Rich Polkinghorn.
“Kevin is starting to realize that he is as strong as any kid he is going to face, and is starting to use his strength to his advantage,” Polkinghorn noted. “To place that high at a tournament of this quality is an amazing accomplishment.”
Seth Bell also had a strong tournament for Columbia, wrestling his first matches since getting over chicken pox. Competing at 171 pounds, Bell went 1-2 on the day for an eighth-place finish.
In JV tournament action on Jan. 5 and 7, Connor Warner posted a 6-0 mark in the 152-pound weight class, Zach Halpern was 3-0 at 125 pounds, Luis Roque was 4-2 at 140 and Kyle VanLaar was 6-2 at 215.
Coming Up: Columbia, which completed its Trico Division slate Wednesday against Ilwaco and Stevenson, is at Stevenson this Saturday for a tournament that gets under way at 10 a.m. The Bruins then wrap up their regular season on Jan. 26 at a tournament hosted by Fort Vancouver High School.