Sports Zone

Winter Sports Previews: Wrestling


Head coach: Charlie Kent, 1st year
2022-23 season: Boys 7th in league. Girls 26th in league.
School colors: Dark Blue and Gold
Top boys returners
Nathan Abrams, Sr., 285-lb weight class, 2022/23: 2nd-place in Sky-Em League
Carter Bengtson, Jr., 132-lb weight class, 2022/23: 3rd-place in Sky-Em League
Daniel Hernandez, Sr., 220-lb weight class, 2022/23: 4th-place in Sky-Em League
Top girls returner
Allison Palluck, Jr., 115-lb weight class, 2022/23: 26-0, won state championship.
Pierre’s take: Cottage Grove brings in coach Charlie Kent, a former Navy wrestler from Tualatin. The Lions top returner is Palluck on the girls side, who went undefeated and won the Class 4A 115-lb state championship last season. Cottage Grove also returns its top three boys from a team that came in 7th in league last season, so Kent has lots of tools to work with in his first season.
11/30 Dual BWR Meet @ Cottage Grove, 6:30 p.m.
12/2 Perry Burlison Classic @ Cascade, 10 a.m.
12/8-9 Coast Classic Tour. @ North Bend, TBD
12/15-16 Winter Kick-Off @ Grants Pass, TBD
12/20 Holiday Dual @ Creswell, 5 p.m.
1/13 Nick Lutz Memorial Invite. @ Siuslaw, 9:30 a.m.
1/26-27 Cottage Grove Invite. @ Cottage Grove

Head coach: Jeff Cardwell, 2nd year
2022-23 season: Boys 10th in league. Girls 16th in league
School colors: Red, White, and Black
Top boys returners
Lyosha Mitchell, Jr., 113-lb weight class, 2022/23: 6th-place at state, 2nd in league
Kaleb Sanders, Sr., 138-lb weight class, 2022/23: 3rd-place in league
Top girls returners
Chantell Noffsinger, Jr., 140-lb weight class, 2022/23: 3rd-place at state, 3rd in league
Jennalyn Kruger, Sr., 130-lb weight class, 2022/23: won consolation bracket in league
Pierre’s take: Jeff Cardwell returns for a second year with two good returners on each side, including Noffsinger, who came in 3rd-place at the state tournament. Mitchell returns on the boys side after finishing second in league and 6th at state as both teams look to improve on respectable league finishes from last season.
12/1 Deven Dawson Invite. @ Harrisburg, 10 a.m.
12/5 Sutherlin Classic @ Sutherlin, 1 p.m.
12/16 Covered Bridge Invite. @ Lowell, 9 a.m.
12/20 Holiday Duel @ Creswell, 5 p.m.
1/6 King of the Hill @ Pleasant Hill, TBD
1/13 Nick Lutz Memorial Invite. @ Siuslaw, 9:30 a.m.
1/20 Screaming Eagle @ Santiam Chr., 10 a.m.
1/23 3-Way Duel @ Creswell, TBD
1/25 Senior Night Duals @ Siuslaw, 5 p.m.
2/2-3 Special District 2 Duals @ Santiam Chr., TBD
2/9-10 Special District 2 Champ. @ Sheridan, TBD
2/16-17 League Districts @ Sheridan, TBD

Head coach: Dahn Nitkitins, 26th year
2022-23 season: Boys 12th at state, 3rd in league. Girls 45th in league.
School colors: Navy and Gold
Top boys returner
Eli Anderson, Jr., 138-lb weight class, 2022/23: 3rd at state, won league
Top girls returner
Athena Sprague, Jr., 155-lb weight class, 2022/23: Lost in consolation bracket in league
Pierre’s take: Coach Nitkitins returns for his 26th season, tied for the 21st-most seasons coached in Oregon wrestling history, and tied for 13th-most at one school. The Billies return only one wrestler that placed at state, Anderson on the boys side. Anderson did win league though, and finished 3rd at state as a sophomore, so should be one of the state favorites in whatever weight class he competes in this season.
12/1 Deven Dawson Invite. @ Harrisburg, 10 a.m.
12/5 Sutherlin Classic @ Sutherlin, 1 p.m.
12/14 Meet vs. N. Eugene @ Pleasant Hill, 6 p.m.
1/6 King of the Hill @ Pleasant Hill, TB
1/10 SD 3 Dual Meet @ Coquille, 4:30 p.m.
1/11 La Pine 3-Way @ La Pine, 5 p.m.
1/13 Nick Lutz Memorial Invite. @ Siuslaw, 9:30 a.m.
1/17 Special District 3 Dual Meet @ PHHS, 4:30 p.m.
1/23 Creswell 3-Way Dual @ Creswell, TBD
1/24 SD 3 Dual Meet @ Creswell, 4:30 a.m.
1/24 Special District 3 Dual Meet @ South Umpqua, 4:30 p.m.
2/9-10 Special District 3 Championships @ North Valley, TBD

Head coach: Chase Wells, 3rd year
2022-23 season: Boys 5th in league. Girls 15th in league.
School colors: Blue and White
Top boys returner
Bill Matheus, Soph., 132-lb weight class, 2022/23: 4th in Midwestern League
Top girls returner
Lydia Stewart, Sr., 115-lb weight class, 2022/23: 4th in Midwestern League
Pierre’s take: The Millers lost top wrestlers Michael Owens and Diego Medina, both of whom finished 6th-place at state and helped the boys team finish 5th in league. Springfield does return Matheus, though, a sophomore who went 24-11 and made the state tournament as a freshman. 
12/1 Deven Dawson Invite. @ Harrisburg, 10 a.m.
12/2 Willie Wilkinson Memorial Tour. @ Glide, 10 a.m.
12/5 Sutherlin Classic @ Sutherlin, 1 p.m.
12/8 Warrior Classic @ Philomath, TBD
12/15 Holiday Send-Off Tour. @ Central, 2 p.m.
12/16 Van Holstad Invitational @ Central, 10 a.m.1/6 King of the Hill @ Pleasant Hill, TBD
1/10 MWL Double-Dual @ Churchill, 5 p.m.
1/17 N. Eugene and Thurston @ Springfield 6 p.m.
1/23 Dual BWR Meet @ Elmira, TBD
1/31 Dual BWR Meet @ Churchill, 6 p.m.

Head coach: Mike Simons, 21st year
2022-23 season: Second place at state, Won Midwestern League (boys and girls)
School colors: Red, Black, and White
Top boys returners
Holton Halstead, Jr., 150-lb weight class, 2023 2nd-place
KJ Kelly, Sr., 105-lb weight class, 2023 state champion
Jaden Ellis, Jr., 138-lb weight class, 2023 2nd-place
Colton Annis, Jr., 144-lb weight class, 2023 2nd-place
Top girls returners
Rubie Winterburn, Sr., 105-lb weight class, 2023 3rd-place
Kassidy Hadden, Soph., 130-lb weight class, 2023 3rd-place
Kristal Zamora, Jr., 140-lb weight class, 2023 3rd-place
Pierre’s take: The Colts had an incredible season last year, winning league and finishing second at state on both the boys and girls sides. Thurston did lose the top wrestler on each side, though, three-time state champ Kaylee Annis on the girls side and two-time champ Vaun Halstead on the boys side. Vaun’s younger brother Holton leads the boys team this season, along with defending champion Kelly. The powerhouse Colts wrestling program looks poised to compete for the state title once again this season.
12/2 Rainer Tournament @ Rainer, 9 a.m.
12/6 Dual BWR Meet @ Roseburg, 6 p.m.
12/8-9 Rose City tour. @ Westview, TBD
12/16 Tournament @ Thurston, TBD
12/16 Dual BWR Meet vs. North Eugene, TBD
12/28-12/29 NW Duals @ West Albany, TBD
1/5 Earl Gills Invitational @ Newberg
1/10 Dual BWR Meet vs. Eagle Point, 6 p.m.
1/12-13 Oregon Classic @ Redmond, TBD
1/17 Meet @ Springfield, 6 p.m.
1/24 Dual Meet at Redmond, 5:30 p.m.
1/26-27 Tour. of Champions @ Liberty, TBD
1/31 Dual BWR Meet vs. Crater, 6 p.m.

– Compiled by Pierre Weil and Seth Thompson

Girls wrestling debuts as sanctioned sport 

OSAA officials voted unanimously to adopt girls wrestling as a sanctioned sport in April, and this season will be the debut of that adoption. The girls division of wrestling was added in 2018 and has been run as part of the boys state championships.

While girls wrestling is officially a sanctioned sport, the likelihood of anything changing logistically is small.

“Everything’s going to look similar in the state as far as how tournaments are run and how schools are doing stuff,” said Hood River Valley athletic director Trent Kroll, who helped push for sanctioning. “What this does is it gives a little bit more equitable access for school districts to do more for a girls wrestling program.”



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