Runner-up performances by seniors Seth Bell and Kevin Kreps, and junior Jenson Ladiges last Saturday helped Columbia High's wrestling team post a solid fifth-place finish in Stevenson's nine-team Columbia Gorge Invitational Tournament.
"We had 11 wrestlers in the tournament, with three taking second and two taking fourth," Bruins Coach Stoner Bell noted. "This was by far our strongest finish in this tournament in the last three years."
Bell, wrestling at 189 pounds, won his first two matches by fall, then lost the championship match by decision to Edd Allen of Hudson's Bay (Vancouver).
The match was tied 2-2 after one period and 4-4 after two periods and late into the third. But with four seconds left on the clock, Allen executed a reversal to defeat Bell, 6-4.
Kreps recorded two major decisions -- 10-2, then 12-1 -- on his way to the championship match of the 145-pound weight class. In the final, he faced Sean Baker of Hood River, who took first place in Oregon's Class 6A tournament in 2008.
Baker amassed an 18-8 lead before finally dispatching Kreps by fall with one second left in the third period.
Ladiges, competing at 160, pinned his first two opponents in the first period. But against Hood River's Tanner Weatherill in the championship match, Ladiges found himself overmatched as Weatherill won by technical fall, 20-1.
At 152 pounds, CHS sophomore Connor Warner earned fourth place. He prevailed in two of his first three matches by fall before losing to Kelly Powell of Stevenson, 7-5, in the consolation final.
Warner began the third period trailing by a point, 5-4, made an escape to tie the score, but eventually lost the match when on a late takedown by Powell.
Freshman Leo Torres finished the tournament with a loss to Prairie's Dallas Dickson by fall in the consolation final of the 112-pound weight class. Torres qualified for the match by pinning Kraig Rutherford of Stevenson at 1:47 of their second-round pairing.