By Jeremy McDonald
ADAIR VILLAGE, Ore.– In the first time a while the Gervais Wrestling team has finally gotten an opportunity to toss on the headgear and get to the mats in some live matches as they traveled to Santiam Christian for a four-team dual meet with Harrisburg, the Eagles of SC and Creswell Thursday afternoon.
While at the higher classifications, like 6A, you got three-team duals; down at 3A, you get four-, sometimes higher, team duals. But the mindset doesn’t change, you just battle your guts out in every match you do.
“I mean that’s what we’re used to, we’ve always been 3A wrestlers, but we got some tough competition today so we’re just going to go out and compete our hearts out and try to win,” said 195 pound wrestler Peter McKinley.
The season to this point for the Cougars have been interesting, low turnout but they’re battling hard nonetheless as McKinley, Alex Giron, Zamir Cortes and Jonathan Cruz made the trip down to get matches in as they prepare for Districts thanks in part to some great coaches helping out throughout the season.
“There’s a lot of times when me and him (Cruz) are driving to people’s houses, banging on doors,” said McKinley on trying to get people to practice. “If we don’t get people out there, we’re just going to wrestle our coaches, luckily we’re blessed to have Jeff Hamor who’s my weight, 200 pounds. Abel who’s (Cruz’s) weight, 140 and Nikita who’s 160 right in the middle so we can get a lot of great competition when guys who are very successful in the sport.
“But it sucks because you get tired getting beat up by coaches all the time, so it’s nice to have actual high schooler kids who are at the same level as us and compete with them at practice. So it kind of sucks not having them come out.”
For the Cougar four, Cruz finished 1-2 on the day as he opened with a pin, Giron went 1-1 and Cortes, who normally wrestles at 132 was moved up to 138, went 0-3 on the day as McKinley, went 3-0 with two first-round pins and a forfeit victory Thursday as the boys look to finish the regular season strong with districts to come soon.
“Go all out in practice, helping the team making the most of it too,” said Cruz on how they can finish the regular season strong with districts coming up. “That’s all you got to worry about, play harder and you win more.”
Gervais won’t have to wait long for their next dual though as they travel to Pleasant Hill next Thursday.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald