Wrestling standouts: Foxes have strong core, tough competition

January 2019 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

James DayThe Silverton High wrestling team features some solid veterans who likely will be major players during district and state competition.

“We have some upperclassman who have been stepping up and consistently winning,” coach Keegan Davis told Our Town. “Matthew Guenther has been having a great deal of success on the mat and in the practice room. Nathan Kuenzi has also been having a lot of success in competitions, demonstrating to the team what hard work can accomplish. Kaden Kuenzi recently won two major tournaments, Rose City and the Gut Check beating a 3-time national champ in the finals.”

Kaden Kuenzi won a state Class 5A title as a freshman and was runner-up a year ago. Guenther made the quarterfinals and Isaac Whitehead also scored at state. The team has room for growth as well. Both Kuenzis, Guenther and Whitehead all are juniors. Sophomore Owen Magill also has been performing well, Davis said.

Senior Gerardo Cruz has been a pleasant surprise at 160, Davis said. Cruz has wrestled in the past but this is his first full season on the varsity. He took second at the Larry Owens Invitational.

A big challenge for Davis’ squad will be the competition in the Mid-Willamette Conference. The league includes defending 5A champion Dallas, as well as Crescent Valley and Lebanon, both of whom were in the top 10. Redistricting has added West Albany and North Salem to the league. The two squads were 10th and 12th, respectively, in Class 6A a year ago.

“We happen to be in one of the toughest conferences in the state,” Davis said, noting that an MWC wrestler was in the finals in every weight class last year at state. “This year we expect our district tournament to be a very tough and hard-fought battle with many of our veterans making it through to state. We are expecting that those who do make it to state will be very successful.”

Hoops update: The Kennedy girls continue to march through the Tri-River Conference. The No. 1 Trojans downed No. 7 Culver 62-45 on Jan. 7 to improve to 5-0 in league and 15-1 overall. The defending state champions were led by Sophia Carley, who scored 25 points, and Kalyssa Kleinschmit, who added 23.

The Trojans also won a Jan. 3-5 tournament at Salem Academy, downing Blanchet Catholic, the No. 5 Class 3A squad, 40-35 in the title game. Kennedy sophomore Hailey Arritola was named MVP of the tournament.

“Our young sophomore core has been playing well past their years in the last few weeks,” said coach Peter Hall, who shares head coaching duties with his wife Kerry. Tenth-graders making key contributions in addition to Arritola, Peter Hall said, were Ellie Cantu and Elise Suing.

“They have been improving every moment of each game and have chipped in some great distance shooting and, most importantly, hustle on defense and rebounding.”

The Kennedy boys, meanwhile, were ranked sixth in Class 2A at Our Town’s presstime with an 11-4 overall record. The Trojans are 5-1 in the Tri-River, tied with Sheridan for second place behind 6-0 Western Christian. Kennedy visits the top-ranked Pioneers on Friday, Jan. 18.

“Overall, I feel like we are playing pretty good basketball,” coach Karl Schmidtman told Our Town. “It is tough for our opponents to match up with us on any given night. Teams may think they can focus on taking away one player and we have others that can step up.”

In a 64-29 win Jan. 7 vs. Culver, Rocco Carley scored 19 points, John Tallon and Carlson both had 7 rebounds and Luke Hall had six steals.

The Silverton boys, meanwhile, are ranked No. 2 in Class 5A and were the lone unbeaten team in the Mid-Willamette with a 5-0 mark at Our Town’s presstime. The Foxes’ lone loss was to a team from California in the Eight Bracket of the Les Schwab Invitational.

“We are finally healthy and are really starting to play well,” coach Jamie McCarty told Our Town. “Defensively
we have really improved the past few weeks, and our guys are getting to defensive spots on a consistent basis and are really starting to play with a little more fight and passion.

“Offensively we are so much more efficient the past two or three games.
The guys are playing super unselfish and are taking the right shot every time down the court.”

The Foxes girls squad, meanwhile, is 10-2 overall, 4-1 in the MWC and ranked No. 3 in the state. The lone league loss was against Lebanon. The Mid-Willamette includes four top 10 teams, with Lebanon 6th, Crescent Valley 7th and Central 9th.

“The league is just incredible,” coach Tal Wold told Our Town. “We have to continue to get great leadership knowing each night is big and we have to keep getting just a bit better. It is fun knowing that each night you will have to battle and play with great focus and urgency.”

Baseball donation: The Silverton baseball program has some new gear to play with, courtesy of a pair of generous local businesses. Ri-Ky Roofing and Wolfers Home Services, with Tara Kramer of Ri-Ky and Jessica Geck of Wolfers on hand for the unloading.

More than $7,000 in equipment was donated, including a pitching machine and associated items such as batting tunnels, balls, tarps and protective screens.

“Wolfers and Ri-Ky really stepped up big for us,” said Foxes athletic director and baseball coach James Rise. “Local businesses stepping up and doing what they can do to help out in the community is huge. We couldn’t do what we do without their support. It’s part of what makes Silverton a special play to live, coach, work and teach and be an athlete.”

Follow me on Twitter.com @jameshday.
Got a news tip? Email me at jamesday590@gmail.com. Follow Our Town on Facebook.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.