It has been almost a decade since Neah-Kah-Nie had an individual state wrestling champion.
By Brad Mosher
That changed Saturday in Portland when senior Anthony Ramirez finished his final season with a narrow 4-3 decision over Thomas Talamantes-Ward of Lowell.
Another came close when sophomore Tristan Bennett narrowly placed second, losing a close 5-3 decision to MacKyle Little of Culver in the state wrestling tournament at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.
“Anthony took first and became Neah-Kah-Nie’s first state champion since 2008. We ended up placing fourth as a team and brought home a team trophy,” coach Greg Kelly said after the competition. “I was incredibly proud and excited for Ramirez as he captured the state championship at 285 pounds. It is always awesome for a senior to end his career with a state championship.
“We had a great state tournament,” the coach said, adding they brought a team trophy home.
“I thought everyone on the team battled and fought the entire tournament. They represented Neah-Kah-Nie very well,” the coach added.
“Travis Jonsson had a great tournament, placing fourth. He became a state placer for the first time in his career,” Kelly said.
“Tristan Bennett also had a great tournament, making it to the state finals. Even though it didn’t go the way that we wanted he still had a heck of a year – going 38-2 and placing second in state,” Kelly added.
According to Kelly, it was the first time since 2003 that the Pirates brought a team trophy back from the state tournament.
Neah-Kah-Nie is currently in fourth place in the 2A/1A competition.
Travis Jonsson of Neah-Kah-Nie placed fourth in the 285 competition after losing a 5-0 decision to Samuel Williams of Crane in the battle for third place. The sophomore finished the season with a 24-16 record.
Going into the final matches, Neah-Kah-Nie was fourth with 46 points, while Culver had the team score lead with 202.5. Lowell was second (150.5), while Central Linn was third with 60 points.
The Pirates were ahead of Crane (fifth, 38 points), Gold Beach (sixth, 37), Enterprise (seventh, 35.5), Monroe (eighth, 30), Joseph/Wallowa (ninth, 33) and Grant Union/Prairie City (10th, 32 points).
Nestucca placed 23rd with six points.