nestucca - Ghannon Whelden’s first-place performance led Ilwaco to a third-place team finish at the 14-team tournament in Nestucca, Oregon on Saturday, Dec. 15. The same day, Serena Kuhn took first at the Down River Challenge in Wahkiakum, where Jaymie Patana placed second and Landin Frank was Ilwaco’s top boys’ finisher in second place.

Whelden, who ran into his teammate, Keegan Kemmer, in the 138 weight class finals the previous week, dropped down to 132 at Nestucca. He and Kemmer each got a weight class to himself, and each got to have a finals match.

Whelden won his finals match 8-0 over Newport’s Cole Wiles, who wrestled at Oregon 4A State last year. Whelden had a 10-2 win in semifinals and a first-match pin.

Kemmer, at 138, lost a 5-0 decision to Scio’s Lance Vanhoose. He had a 47-second pin in quarterfinals and beat Vernonia’s Byron Cook in semifinals.

Chris Wood went 3-1 to take second in the 170-pound competition.

Nate Hopkins took third at 120-pound, pinning Taft’s Kaden White in the third-place match to finish 2-1. Dylan Simonson went 4-1 at 145 to take third. Aiden Auttelet was 4-1 at 160. In 285, Michael Rodda went 3-2, including a first-round pin of teammate Dakota Shepard and a 30-second pin of Seaside’s Gunnar Knox, the fifth-place finisher.

Down River Challenge

In Wahkiakum, Serena Kuhn placed first, Jaymie Patana took second and Gianna Krake brought home a third-place finish. Landin Frank took home a second for the boys’ team, which saw Griffin Cutting, Trevor Hutson, Aidyn Cohen-Tjaden and Bryan Sparks all place.

Mark Morris Dual Meet

Bryan Sparks’s 8-7 win finished off the Fishermen boys’ close win over Castle Rock at Wednesday’s dual meet at Mark Morris High School in Kelso on Dec. 12. Ilwaco’s boys won 43-36. Castle Rock’s girls beat Ilwaco 12-0, with pins in both matches.

Ilwaco used its depth to beat Mark Morris, 49-18, as the host school had to forfeit in seven weight classes compared to just three forfeits by Ilwaco.

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

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