PORTLAND – Three is the magic number for Crescent Valley's Alex Rich and the Lebanon High wrestling team.
In Saturday night’s finals, the Crescent Valley High junior 132-pounder won his third state championship. Meanwhile, the Warriors finished third in the team points race while claiming three individual titles of their own at the OSAA 5A state wrestling championships.
Lebanon, which had finished sixth in each of the last three seasons, ended the two-day tournament at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum with 134 team points. Hermiston won with 174 points and league rival Dallas was second at 145.5.
“We wrestled awesome,” said Lebanon coach Michael Cox, who was named the 5A coach of the year on Saturday. “Our kids really worked hard. We preach hard work, discipline, and integrity. You get those three things and great things are going to happen. All those guys out there lived it this year.”
West Albany was 10th with 64 and South Albany finished 23rd with 22.5.
Top-seeded Rich, who won back-to-back 126 titles in 2012-13, recorded an easy 5-3 win over second-seeded Jasiah Williams of Jefferson in the 132 finals.
Rich took Williams down 3 seconds into the match and decided to play it safe the rest of the way.
“Just not getting caught with anything, that was the biggest thing,” Rich said. “I didn’t want to do anything too risky. I know I could’ve pushed the pace harder, but you just have to win by one point to win the match.”
Rich, the only multiple state champion in CV history, is already focusing on title No. 4.
“One more, that’s it. That’s all I’ve got to say,” Rich said. “That’s the main goal.”
Rich said he has improved dramatically as a wrestler since his freshman season.
He gives most of the credit to his coaches, including his dad John Rich, and his teammates for pushing him in practice.
“I’ve had great workout partners. I cannot thank my coaches and workout partners enough. They have helped me so much.”
All three Lebanon champions – Andrew Nelson (113), KiAnté Davis (152) and Colton Sallee (170) – are first-time gold-medal winners. All three are also senior leaders.
Top-seeded Nelson scored a late escape point to defeat Halen Jolley in the 113 final, 4-3.
Nelson took an early 2-0 lead with a first-round takedown but needed an escape with about 30 seconds remaining to clinch his first state title. Jolley was the No. 2 seed.
“I knew how to escape from there,” said Nelson, who finished fourth at state a season ago at 113. “I just had to control his wrist. From there I didn’t stall, but I just had to defend against him really well.”
Davis also grabbed the early lead with a first-round takedown and comfortably won 5-2 in the 152 final over Liberty’s Hunter Dehlin, the No. 1 seed.
Despite trailing nearly the entire match, Dehlin remained conservative and rarely challenged Davis.
“That’s just his style of wrestling,” said Davis, the No. 3 seed. “I’ve seen him and all three of his matches (at state) went overtime. One was double overtime, two of them were regular overtime. I just really wore him out. He’s a really good wrestler; he’s good enough to make it to the state final. But apparently he wasn’t working as hard as I was.”
Davis, who won his first Special District 3 championship this season, said the state title blows away the district crown.
“A district title is like winning a mat club tournament compared to winning the state title,” he said.
Top-seeded Sallee led 3-0 after two rounds and scored a late takedown to seal the win over Sandy’s Devin White in the 170 finals. Sallee won 5-1.
In 2013, Sallee finished sixth at state at 195.
Teammates Charlie Vandetta (132) and Austin Kleint (145) took fourth. James Lutz was sixth at 160.
“Vandetta, hurt back, comes in and gets fourth. Kleint, he has a torn labrum in his shoulder, and he is out there winning matches. It’s just awesome,” Cox said.
West’s Jackson Soto, the No. 2 seed at 195, fell to top-seeded Samuel Shields-Colbray of Hermiston in the finals, 7-3.
Soto ends his prolific high school wrestling career a two-time state runner-up (2012, 2014). He also finished third at 195 in 2013.
Teammate Steely Smith, the top seed at 220, lost in the finals for the third straight year.
No. 2 seed Mason Montgomery of Ashland defeated Smith, 3-1.
South Albany’s Adrian Lyons-Lopez placed third at 138. West’s Brice Hogan (182) was fourth.
Team scores: 1. Hermiston 174, 2. Dallas 145.5, 3. Lebanon 134, 4. Eagle Point 111.5, 5. Sandy 97, 10. West Albany 64, 20. Crescent Valley 35, 23. South Albany 22.5, 31. Corvallis 3
113: (1) Andrew Nelson, Lebanon, dec. (2) Halen Jolley, Sherwood, 4-3
132: (1) Alex Rich, Crescent Valley dec. (2) Jasiah Williams, Jefferson, 5-3
152: (3) KiAnte Davis, Lebanon dec. (1) Hunter Dehlin, Liberty, 5-2
170: (1) Colton Sallee, Lebanon dec. (3) Devin White, Sandy, 5-1
195: (1) Samuel Shields-Colbray, Hermiston dec. (2) Jackson Soto, West Albany, 7-3
220: (2) Mason Montgomery, Ashland dec. (1) Steely Smith, West Albany, 3-1
113: (1) Andrew Nelson, Lebanon dec. Kyle Grahn, Sandy, 5-3
132: (1) Alex Rich, Crescent Valley p. (4) Alek Callahan, Eagle Point, :55
138: (1) Joshua Reyes, Parkrose maj. dec. (4) Adrian Lyons-Lopez, South Albany, 11-3
145: (1) Tracy Pitcher, Mountain View maj. dec. Austin Kleint, Lebanon, 12-3
152: (3) KiAnté Davis, Lebanon dec. (2) James McCoy, Eagle Point, 7-6
160: (2) Hunter Hoeptner, Eagle Point p. James Lutz, Lebanon, 5:42
170: (1) Colton Sallee, Lebanon dec. David Rebischke, Dallas, 8-4
195: (2) Jackson Soto, West Albany maj. dec. (3) Ryan Jurgens, Sherwood, 14-4
220: (1) Steely Smith, West Albany p. (4) Juan Hernandez Jr., Putnam, 1:02
132: (4) Alek Callahan, Eagle Point, dec. Charlie Vandetta, Lebanon, 8-6
138: (4) Adrian Lyons-Lopez, South Albany dec. Mitch Willett, Redmond, 3-2
145: (4) Terrell West, Jefferson dec. Austin Kleint, Lebanon, 9-7
182: John-Henry Line, Hermiston, dec. Brice Hogan, West Albany, 3-1
160: Gavin Carroll, Churchill p. James Lutz, Lebanon, 5:14