Colton Sallee’s bid for a second straight state wrestling title fell short in the 160-pound finals on Feb. 28.
Competing valiantly with a dislocated and broken pinky finger, the Lebanon senior was bested by Churchill’s Riley Jaramillo during the finals.
Jaramillo won via a 12-4 major decision over the wounded Sallee, who injured his right pinky during the first round of the semifinals. Sallee fought through the pain to win a brutal, 4-3, four-overtime match over Crater’s Tommy Winningham.
But the finger, and Jaramillo, were too much for Sallee to overcome.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match. He was better on his feet than I expected, and I didn’t get enough movement,” said Sallee, who won the 170 state title last year. “It just wasn’t meant to be, so it didn’t happen.
“I don’t want (the finger) to be my excuse. I went out there and did all I could. But yeah, it definitely didn’t help.”
Lebanon coach Michael Cox said Jaramillo would’ve been a tough out regardless of the circumstances.
He also admired Sallee’s toughness.
“We knew going in that that was the kid,” Cox said of Jarmillo. “The finger was bad, but I don’t think Colton really had any limitations. It’s his pinky. We taped it together. He didn’t have any real limitations, other than it was going to be painful.”
Sallee ends his high school career as a three-time state placer. But Sallee was more than just wrestler.
The multi-talented athlete also started in the midfield for Lebanon’s soccer team. He scored 11 goals and was honorable mention all-Mid-Willamette Conference as a senior.
Sallee began playing soccer as a freshman, and firmly believes it helped him become a better wrestler.
“Soccer is good for footwork and cardio, and stuff like that,” he said. “Wrestling gives you that mental toughness. When it starts getting hard, and you are out there the whole game sprinting and out of breath, it gets you through everything.”
Sallee credits soccer for helping him drop from 170 to 160 this year.
“I didn’t lift at all,” he said. “During soccer season, you don’t get in the weight room much. So I was able to make that cut that I wasn’t able to last year with all that bulk.”
Lebanon senior Jesse Wynn was third at 220, and teammate Arien Craggett took fourth at 195.
Lebanon finished 10th in the team points race with a score of 72. CV was 15th (49) and Corvallis 17th (40).
Hermiston won at 161.