By Jeremy McDonald
TIGARD, Ore.– Thursday did not treat Joseph ‘JoJo’ Jones well against West Salem and McNary as he lost both of his matches to the Titans and the Celtics.
But, as the sophomore has shown before on several times this season, showed off some of his talent as he pinned Scappoose’s Ricardo Gonzales in a 1:53 and pinned Brandt Yamamoto in 27 seconds before falling to Corvallis’ Serrano Patrick in 18 seconds in the Championship Semis.
Jones could fold up tent and call it a day, but he still had third to fight for, first-time the third-year wrestler could place that high as he took on Mountainside’s Aiden Pacino.
Jones used his length and height against the shorter Pacino, nearly pinning him during the match. But Pacino nearly did the same to him but like Pacino did to him, Jones staved off that mat tap as both grapplers were looking for the advantage.
“What went right was, I had one go-to move that worked pretty well but then I think what I can work on is probably be more diverse with what my take-down might be,” Jones said. “I just need to work on my technique a little bit.”
By matches end, Jones held off Pacino for a 15-11 decision to place third in the tournament, you could see the excitement in Jones when he talked about it and realize he placed third, knowing he’s placed fourth a time or two before.
“It was honestly amazing to place, it’s my first-time ever placing ever in a tournament,” said Jones. “I was made after dual meet, I just felt like I didn’t put in all of my effort but this tournament I felt more motivated to give it my all and it paid off.”
Teammate David Rubio found himself in a scramble himself against an familiar foe in Corvallis’ Izaak Worsch, the result was Rubio handing Worsch one of his five losses as the 31-4 McKay junior looked to avoid his fifth-loss of the season.
But Rubio was driven for more. He wanted to leave a mark that he’s here to stay.
“I majored him last week in the finals, this week I wanted to tech him because I wanted to leave an definite answer that I’m the better wrestler and that I’m keep getting better and I’m starting to prove that,” said the 160-pounder Rubio.23
Rubio got a three-point nearfall as Worsch fought his way out, Worsch would slip out of the pin-grip Rubio had several times, but the escape points weren’t adding up as quickly as his six points would normally nearly win someone a match. Next to his six, was Rubio’s 17.
Worsch kept fighting, using a netural position to get after Rubio, but Rubio used Worsch’s momentum to take both out of bounds and back to the center of the circle before Rubio slipped out of the grips of Worsch again.
Both scrambled, but the referee ended the match before time was up: Rubio won 21-8 to bring home the trophy.
Sweat still dripping off his face a few minutes after his intensity match, Rubio knew he improved in this match-up.
“I got to work on top more, last time I set him up and kept bringing him down,” said Rubio on the match. “I’m just trying to get as much mat time as I can before Districts and State because I really want to leave a mark at District and State and help represent my school.
“I can still get better, that’s all I’m thinking about. Just ways to get better, even though it seems like I’m dominate, there’s ways that I can make me a better wrestler.”
In one of the fifth-place matches, Patrick Neevel knew he can improve following his match after seeing a roughly eight-point lead shrink down to a two-point match entering the third period as he dodged being pinned by the clock.
“It was kind of my mistake, I wasn’t seeing his throw so I wasn’t ready for it and that’s why I was moving around trying to get out of that. But thank God for the time, it kind of saved me,” smiled Neevel.
During the third-round, the sophomore worked on wrestling with the lead against Emiliano Cruz from Corvallis and succeeded as Neevel walked away with fifth-place thanks to a 13-10 gutsy match.
“I looked at the scoreboard and I was seeing he was catching up, so I was thinking, ‘should I take a shot?” Neevel said about the third period. “So I saw a shot, so I took it and I got it and I saw 20 seconds left on the clock and I didn’t want to give up anything and coach was telling me to be smart and I was.”
Erick Jimenez finished fourth in the 160 bracket, Gerald Jennings was fifth at 170, Andy Nguyen was sixth at 220 as McKay finished seventh with 110 points. Tigard won their hosted event with 333.5 points.
Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter at @J_McDonald81 or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook!
Photos By Jeremy McDonald