By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– While Ian Carlos went on to win another District Title, this time at 152 instead of 145, at 182 senior Jorge Ochoa had an unique situation entering the District Final match at the weight Saturday evening.
The guy in which he’s been training to take his spot, Antonio Garcia, worked his way through the middle-of-the-pack to get to the District Title bout against his senior mentor as both qualify for the State Tournament after their semi-final wins to start Saturday’s festivites.
“I did my job,” smiled Ochoa. “That’s how I feel, I feel great because I did my job, he told me thank you because ‘you were there every step of the way’ and I was like…well out of everything. All four-years of wrestling. All my four-years of wrestling, winning Districts last year, placing second my sophomore year, my greatest achievement was teaching him and making him into a better leader than I was for next year for when I leave.
“He’s my greatest accomplishment out of everything. It’s amazing.”
Ochoa, who was battling through injuries last season in his District Title winning season as a junior and found himself a stalling call and injuries catching up with him that ended a promising junior campaign all-to-soon.
And, taking it relatively easier this season in order to stay healthy when it counts in now, the lesson he’s going to take into this year’s tournament is do what knows works in being himself.
“My first lesson is just do me and not focused on how the other guy wrestles, it’s how I wrestle that is more important,” said Ochoa. “Just because I’m a defensive-person doesn’t mean I’m going offensive because the other guy is defensive. It’s going to be how I wrestle, not even caring how the other guys wrestles.”
And with Head Coach Andy Pickett deciding not to wrestle his two 182-pounders in trying to prevent injury for State, Garcia forfeited to his elder wrestler and handing Ochoa his second District Title of his High School Career.
But for Garcia, it’s awesome to know both of them are going to State here in two weeks in Portland.
“It’s amazing, I’ve been dreaming of this since I was sixth-grade/ You know chubby, fat been wanting to go wrestling for State my whole life,” “And to be able to finally accomplish that the goal with Jorge Ochoa, the defending District Champion. It’s great amazing coaching style from North Salem coaching.
“It’s amazing and it’s finally a dream come true and I hope to see him in the State Finals.”
Joining Ochoa and Garcia is also Denis Yanis. After missing out last season, the third-year grappler is off to State after losing a tough match to Sprague’s Joshua Johnson after there was some talks about the score should be 8-8 and go to overtime or should be a regulation winner.
After a few minutes, it was deemed Johnson the winner 9-8 for the District Championship.
Though Yanis finished second, along with Logan Basham at 106 to finish second in the tournament, Yanis knew he was ready for overtime but will take away from this match a few things to work upon for State.
“It showed that I have to work on more bottom-game, getting up. Defending the leg-kick,” said Yanis on his match. “But it was a really close match, I don’t hate the guys. It’s a fun match, that’s all I got to say.”
State will be Friday and Saturday Febrauary 16 and 17, at Veterans Coliseum in Portland.
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