ILWACO — The home team placed third out of 22 schools at Ilwaco High School’s Beach Brawl Saturday, Jan. 26. Ilwaco’s Keegan Kemmer, Ghannon Whelden and Serena Kuhn all took first place.

Kemmer, in the 138 weight class, had 24-second pin in quarterfinals to set up a semifinals matchup against Lincoln, Oregon’s Garrett Van Doren, who was the sixth seed at Oregon’s 6A State tournament last year. Kemmer trailed in the final minute before tying the match with an escape. Then, with both wrestlers on their feet, Kemmer managed a double-leg takedown in the final 30 seconds and kept Van Doren down the rest of the match to close out the win. In finals Kemmer beat R.A. Long’s DeMichael Mcgill 11-1.

Whelden had pins in octofinals and quarters, then won close matches his final two rounds, beating Warrenton’s Nicolas Pior 4-2 and Ocosta’s Daniel Quinby 7-5.

Kuhn sang the National Anthem before the tournament and dominated her bracket, going 3-0, including a 38-second pin in finals. Jaymie Patana and Daniela Mendez each finished 2-1 to tie for third.

The tournament had consolation brackets, but did not have third or fifth place matches, instead leaving two wrestlers in each bracket tied for third and two more tied for fifth. Brandon Duke, Chris Wood, and Landin Frank each tied for third in his weight class. Nate Hopkins and Michael Rodda each tied for fifth.

Griffen Cutting had one of the closest matches of the day against Raymond’s Seth Angelovich. Angelovich took him down with 6.2 seconds left to tie it at 13, but Cutting’s escape in the final seconds gave him a 14-13 win. Cutting went 1-2 on the day.

Local businesses and wrestling parents continued their support for the annual all-day event, sponsoring the tournament and providing food, beginning with an 8 a.m. breakfast. There is also a lot of work involved in tracking and organizing matches; four matches were going at a time on different mats most of the day. High school student volunteers were running the scoring table at each mat.

“There’s lots of parental involvement, and without them, it wouldn’t be possible to do it,” coach Larry Kemmer said. “They’re running table help, and having their younger kids help run mat assignments, running the coaches room.”

Ilwaco was one of three schools with multiple first-place boys finishers. Castle Rock had three winners, Asa Hamer, Wayne Baker, and Peyton Watts, to finish first with 207.5 points. Rainier, Oregon took second with 151 points, ahead of Ilwaco at 129. R.A. Long (104) and Raymond (101) rounded out the top five.

Ilwaco wrestlers also attended a mix-and-match at North Beach Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Ilwaco’s post-season begins at the Sub-Regional tournament in Centralia Feb. 2 at 10 a.m.

Aaron Mead is a sports writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact him at 360-642-8181 or

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