By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– January 24, 2018 marked the last time that the five seniors and the two senior statskeepers were going to be recongized in front of the home crowd.
Their names: One-time regional placer in Dakota Elliott, two-year letterman Izzy Martinez, James VanAgtamal who finished fifth at State last year. Kade Van De Hey, who’s capping off a 15-year wrestling career and was a three time regional placer, two time regional finalists, 5th in state last year and a Team Captain.
“Oh it’s amazing, I love it here, I love wrestling,” said Van Agtamal.
“I don’t know it’s been pretty fun,” adds Elliott. “I don’t know, I’m not glad that it’s over but at the same time Cascade is a good school to wrestle at.”
And then Louie Sanchez, who saw himself starting wrestling as a freshman and went from not being in the Varsity line-up to third in State as a sophomore and a State Champion last season as a junior at 220 pounds as he saw the improvement in the team through the last four years.
“In general I believe that the team got so much better,” said Sanchez. “So many guys are just doing unbelievable things, they’re having so much success but especially not have just seniors doing good but freshman coming in. Noah Thompson being a straight amazing athlete, he’s just a beast. Same thing with Kane Nixon who got third last year, did amazing.
“It’s pretty good to have it at different weights that way, all the new guys that come in, not exactly know what they’re doing, it’s just giving them a different feel on how a State Champion is suppose to feel.”
And then the stat girls, Bailey Schaefer and Hope Priestess were honored and recognized the same as the guys were for their hard-work with the team keeping stats as they traveled and dealt with the team’s shenanigans during their time with the team.
Before their dual match with rival-Stayton, the Cougars were mat-side with their Mat Club and supporting the youngsters that one day will be Cascade wrestlers at the High School level.
While the referee was running late and wanting to get the mat-club dual meet going with Central Linn, Van De Hey threw on the referee overshirt over his warm-up gear and reffed a few matches.
Even using his phone to use as a coin to flip in between rounds in groans by his father and assistant coach Dan Van De Hey. Nonetheless, the future medical field professional succeeded as he did later in the evening against Stayton’s Johnny Slyva through Tech-Fall 18-3 to improve to 34-3 on the season.
“It’s pretty awesome to see what’s to come in the future,” said Van De Hey after he came off the mats. “I get to look at them grow up, it’s kind of like how I did. It’s kind of cool to see that..”
Teammate Sanchez however, as he continues to roll to 34-0 after a pin against the Eagles Elliott Anundi, had other thoughts on the issue to disagreement by Van De Hey to the trash-talking shortly after Sanchez held one of the mat-club wrestlers on his shoulders a few minutes prior.
“Eh terrible ref,” smiled and laughed Sanchez jokefully.
After the Mat Club, it was eventually time to suit up for the seniors and their teammates as the lights dimmed once more after the ceremony for the face-off lines that was followed by Cydney Gulledge doing a fantastic job playing the National Anthem on a saxophone that led into the match.
Daniel Moore got the pin at 106 before Stayton’s Daniel Williams tied the team scores up with a forfeit win.
The Cougs then wheeled off three-straight match wins from David Villegas (120, pin), Joesph Baxter (126, forfeit) and Nixon (132) to put Cascade up 24-6 in the team scores en route to the 56-15 team victory Wednesday night.
The Cascade’s seniors went 4-1 on the night as they now prepare for the Twilight of their High School careers. Some may choose to continue their wrestling careers, others will trade it for education and do well for their community as they have on the mat the past few years.
Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter at @J_McDonald81 or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook!
Photos By Jeremy McDonald