The host Pirates welcomed all the Special District 1 teams to their gym Feb. 8 and ran the event rather swimmingly.
“Every team in our district was there and we were able to finish all the four-man brackets in just over four hours,” Neah-Kah-Nie head coach Chris Bennett said of the tournament.
For the Pirates, Bennett had solid performances from many of his wrestlers, with four guys going undefeated on the night.
“I was very happy with our overall effort,” Bennett said. “The team wrestled very well and we were able to get all the head-to-head matchups we needed to seed this weekend’s district tournament.”
NKN’s Ecca Fry was a perfect 5-0 for the Pirates and Bennett has been very impressed with his effort over the past few weeks. Jett Johnston also had a solid day, winning a tough match against Nestucca’s Conner Cook, earning a two point decision.
“Jett and Conner each have a win against one another this year,” Bennett said. “I expect them to have another good match battling for first place this weekend.”
Other big winners on the night for NKN were state qualifiers Travis and Tristan Bennett and Travis Jonsson, as each won all of their matches. Bennett feels his squad is in a very good position going into districts this week in Toledo.
“Our boys have set themselves up well to have a good district tournament,” Bennett said. “They are wrestling very tough at the right time of the season.”
The Bobcats also had a solid showing and were led by reigning district champ Sammie Osias, who went 3-0 on the night to secure the No. 1 seed at districts this weekend. Other Cats going perfect on the night were Leif Marsh and Marshall Raymond with a 3-0 record.
After dropping a close first match, Nestucca’s Jack Remington won his final two matches in impressive fashion. Isaac Barnes won one match and was leading in his second match before hurting his elbow, forcing an injury default loss.
“Isaac is very much in the running to go to state this year and has earned a No. 3 seed at districts,” Nestucca head coach Aaron Pearn said. “However, it’s unclear at this point if he will be cleared by the doctor by Friday. My fingers are crossed cause it would be a shame for his season to end with an injury.
“Isaac is 1-1 against the No. 2 seed so that 2 vs. 3 match should be exciting to see.”
Cook lost the very close match to a returning state placer Johnston and will be looking for forward to the revenge match at districts according to Pearn.
“Overall as a team we did pretty well,” Pearn said. “We have a few guys that set themselves up really well for districts this year but I remind my guys all the time that we had three guys set up really well last year and only ended up taking one to state. We need to remain focused this week and take care of business this weekend.”
The Pirates and Bobcats will be in action this week at the district tournament Feb. 15-16 at Toledo High School and will be looking to qualify for the state tournament the following weekend.