Twenty-five strong and filling all but one weight class, the Creswell Bulldogs wrestling team is the biggest it’s been in years. The team of 19 boys and six girls (under girls’ coach, Alexia Vinje) is eager and working hard; however, with only three seniors, “we’re very young and pretty green,” said Head Coach Wayne Roberts. “But we’re continuing to work on techniques, tempo; we’re getting stronger, and if these kids continue wrestling, they’re going to have a lot of experience behind them in a couple of years.”
Gaining that experience began at the Harrisburg Tournament on Nov. 30. There, Hannah Bettis placed second in her six-person, coed and 113-pound bracket.
“That was huge – a very big deal,” Roberts said. “She pinned a guy in the second round and had a fighting chance against the top-seeded guy who took first. We’re very proud of her.”
Alex Metteer (3-1) placed second at 120 pounds. “He pinned Ethan Litson of Pleasant Hill in the first round, and that’s the guy he lost to that kept him from going to state last year,” Roberts said, “so for him to come back and beat him was great.”
Wrestling up a class, Logan Johnson went 4-1 to place fifth at 160 pounds.
Jaxson Wilkerson (4-1) tied for fifth at 145. “He got caught by a very, very strong kid from Coquille,” Roberts said.
Rogelio Legorreta (2-2) placed sixth at 182.
Miguel Lopez (2-3) tied for seventh at 132.
At 132 pounds, Giovanni Vazquez went 3-2; Jurny Halvorson went 2-2 and Josiah Lee went 1-2 at 126; Ayden Stubbs went 1-2 at 138; Sam Kenworthy went 0-2 at 152; Javier Fregoso went 0-2 at 220 and Corbin Allison went 0-2 at 285.
At the Jefferson Tournament on Dec. 7, Johnson won the 152-pound bracket with a 3-1 record, defeating some state-ranked wrestlers from Sutherlin.
“Logan’s really stepped up as team captain and he’s strong as an ox,” Roberts said. “We should see some special things from him this year — and next year, I think nobody will be able to stop him, honestly.”
Brielle Brick, at 138 pounds, was undefeated at 4-0 in winning her all-girl exhibition crab pool.
“She has quite a bit of athleticism and talent behind her and she’s wrestling absolutely fantastic,” Roberts said. “If she chooses to keep wrestling, I can see her being one of our first — if not the first — to put her name up on the wall as a girls’ state champion.”
Metteer (2-1) placed second at 120 pounds. “He lost to a kid from Sutherlin, and that’s going to be an important matchup because Sutherlin just dropped down from 4A to 3A this year,” Roberts said.
Lopez (4-1) placed third at 132; Wilkerson (4-1) placed third at 145; Vazquez (3-2) placed fourth at 126; Fregoso placed fourth at 195; and Allison placed fourth at 285.
Bettis went 1-2 at 113, Halvorson went 1-2 at 126, Lee went 2-2 at 132, Stubbs went 1-2 at 138, Carlie Prosser went 1-2 at 145, Jack Padilla went 0-2 at 170; and Legorreta went 1-2 at 182.
With two tournaments under their belts, Roberts said the outlook for the season is bright for the Bulldogs.
“It’s such a fun environment in the mat room right now; the kids are working hard and are so energized,” Roberts said. “We’re young, but I think we’ll shock quite a few people this year.”