KNAPPA — “Our experienced wrestlers performed exactly how we expected them to perform and our inexperienced kids did the same. Our experienced wrestlers took care of business. As can be expected in our first match of the season, there were a lot of bouts decided by pins. Some of our athletes have a lot of work to do to make sure we stay off our backs, and others did very well in pinning their opponents,” coach Kevin McNulty said after 26 boys and three girls competed in a jamboree in Knappa Nov. 27.

A highlight of the jamboree was when Tom Odneal faced a wrestler from Oregon that was third at state last year and he beat him 8-4 in an exciting match for early in the season. Winning both of their matches for Ilwaco were Hunter Stockfleth, Corbin Sutherland, Keishi Thompson, Odneal, Adam Hernandez and Marcus Cox. Raven Rogers pinned her opponent in her only match of the evening. Freshmen newcomers Riki Thompson and Jack Kaino won both matches by pinning their opponents and also “looked very good” according to McNulty.

The jamboree featured teams from Warrenton, Corbett, Clatskanie, Nestucca, host Knappa and Ilwaco, the only school from Washington.

Splitting their pair of matches for the Fishermen were Harrison Corsi, Garret Petit, John Pampalos, Ben Lopez, Jordan Baker, Matt MacDonald, Evan Sutherland, Joe Lurf and Fernando Martinez. Pampalos, Lopez, MacDonald, Evan Sutherland and Lurf were all defeated by wrestlers who qualified for state in Oregon during their opponent’s careers, and yet the Fishermen each competed well against the top-notch opponents.

Ilwaco was only able to get three of their girls matched up. Hilda Mondragon and Nicole Kellin were able to get their first high school wrestling experience. “They were facing veteran gals and suffered defeat. With more experience they will become very competitive,” McNulty stated.

“With several wrestlers getting their first experience on the mat, we had some good situations turn bad. Some of our wrestlers were doing well and then at times we got rolled through and other times we were the recipients of our kids rolling through on our opponents,” McNulty explained.

“I was impressed with all of our athletes’ scrappiness. We showed a lot of heart and when you have kids that are willing to battle, you can make wrestlers out of them. Our kids from top to bottom just need to keep focusing on technique and get as much mat time and competition as they can,” McNulty concluded.

Others competing for Ilwaco include Arber Demeri, Eli DeSimone, Tom Kunkel, Cody Schmidt, Jacob Malmstadt, Zach Curtis, Aaron Terry, Zach Berteaux and DeAnttay Kellogg.

This week will be a busy one for the Ilwaco wrestling team as they hit the mats with Seaside at home Dec. 4, visit Astoria Dec. 5 and then the boys and girls teams go to separate tournaments Dec. 8. Those who did not wrestle at Knappa included Joe Lopez, Cody Jahraus, Keegan Benenati, Tyler Long, Scott Anderson and Hialmar Lifedahl. Lady Fishermen unable to compete were Brittany King, Marilyn Thompson, Maria Mondragon, Emma Schmidt and Tishina Gray.

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