I.V. Wrestlers win 3rd consecutive district title

Dusty Fiske
IVN Contributing Writer

The Illinois Valley High School wrestlers went to Lowell Feb. 10 and won the district tournament by a whopping 60 points. The Cougars scored 218 points to out-distance second place Camas Valley who finished with 158.5 points. North Douglas/Yoncalla finished third (129.5 points) and host school Lowell was fourth (124 points). There were 19 schools represented in the one day event featuring 149 wrestlers in 247 matches. It was a very long day as the first match started at 10 a.m. and the final bout ended at 8 p.m. It was a longer day for the wrestlers because the bus left at 4 a.m. and didn’t get back until 1 a.m.
The action started at 106 pounds and James Conn won all three of his matches, two pins, to run his record to 32-2 entering the state tournament. His only two loses came in the Reser’s Tournament after he broke his nose. Last season he lost in the state final to his teammate, Mike Miller, who we’ll talk about next. James will be one of the favorites at 106 pounds.
Next up is Mike Miller at 113 pounds this year. Mike is a three-time state champ and is attempting to become the first four-time state champ in I.V. history. He pinned all three of his opponents in the first period to claim the 113 pound championship. Mike lost an early season match at Culver and lost twice at Reser’s but should be one of the favorites at state with a record of 38-3.
Freshman Garrett White will also go to state in the 113 pound division. He pinned two opponents before losing to Mike Miller in the final, running his record to 11-6.
Up next is Micah Martinho at 120 pounds. Micah pinned his first two opponents to get to the final, but reinjured his right knee and had to forfeit the final. Micah is a two time state champ as a junior and will bring a record of 32-2 at state and will be one of the favorites at 120 pounds. This is all hoping the two week layoff before state will be ample time for his knee to heal.
Talen Shaffer was next at 126 pounds and he responded with two pins in his first two matches. Talen and Trevin Truesdell of Monroe got into a very exciting barnyard brawl in the championship with Truesdell winning (“this time” says Talen) with a final score of 15-12. Talen has put together a very good season (29-9) and should be in the mix to win at 126.
Fans took a short break with no one in the 132 championship but Ethan Green was chomping at the bit to wrestle at 138.
Ethan has placed at several events but captured his first championship last week at the Panther Coastal Clash. Ethan pinned his first two opponents and then decisioned #1 seed David Ode of Camas Valley 10-8, to claim his second straight championship. After a slow start Ethan has improved his record to 26-13 and will look to make it three in a row with a state championship.
Ryan Griffin was our next wrestler to win a district championship. Ryan also pinned his first two opponents before beating Seth Lamell of Camas Valley, 8-5. Ryan is also a defending state champ and has put together one of the finest seasons in Cougar history. Ryan lost a very frustrating match at Reser’s 1-0 and took third at the TOC. Ryan brings a 37-1 record to the state tournament and should be considered to be the favorite at 150 pounds.
Jozia Williams was next at 157 and won his first two matches to reach the final. He ran into #1 seed, Oakridge’s Kayden Tiller (26-2) and was pinned in the third period. Jozia is a senior and has put together a fine season with a record of 35-10. He has placed at state the last two years and looking to be at the top of the podium this year.
The last of our representatives at state is senior 215 pounder Kaiden Green. (Ethan’s big brother). Kaiden has put together a very strong 31-12 season and won all three of his matches (two pins) to claim first place honors.
That completes the nine wrestlers that are going to state. IV has two wrestlers that finished in fourth place and will go to state if they are selected via an unknown process by unknown members of the OSAA. Justin Foster (6-9) finished fourth at 106 and Jaxson Heckard (15-11) won three matches to finish fourth at 215.
Not to be forgotten is a supporting group of young wrestlers who all won at least one match to help the Cougars to victory. Kaiden Holbrook (8-13) at 120, Grit Charitram (17-9) at 126, Brody Riolo (12-13) at 132 and Dylan Hall (21-18) at 175 all got on the podium (top six places).
The season is over for all those that didn’t qualify for state. These are the defending state champions and they are one of the favorites to repeat. If they do, that will be the second state championship in school history. Success requires ALL members of this team to work every day. Congratulations to all wrestlers that didn’t make it to state for working hard every day to help this team succeed.
There will be no article next week. The boys will wrestle at the state tournament on Thursday and Friday, February 22 and 23. The last wrestling article of the 2023-2024 seasons will be in the I.V. News Feb. 28.