By Jeremy McDonald
SWEET HOME, Ore.– Cascade saw five of their wrestlers in the District Final matches in five different matches Saturday night.
To start the Finals festivities, Kane Nixon was strategically waiting for his opportunity to shoot his shot knowing that Sweet Home’s Jackson Royer knew his moves well as Nixon studied Royer’s moves in match.
“I was trying to hit my usual stuff. My ankle-picks, side-by’s but he knew it was coming so he defended me well,” said Nixon. “But then I was watching his step and he was leading with his foot back, so every time he stepped I took advantage of it and got it.”
All Nixon needed was a few moves, but the sophomore did just enough to get the title 6-0 over the Huskies Royer.
Noah Thompson lost a tough match to a talented Russel Stigall from North Marion 9-3 to finish runner-up at 132, but it was 145 that was noteworthy.
Kade Van De Hey, in his last District Meet, has been the bridesmaid twice and not the bride to the party in terms of finishing District Runner-Up as a freshman and junior to go with a elbow injury that knocked the then-sophomore from competing in the District Meet that year.
In his final District Tournament, Van De Hey was back in the final at 145 and led 2-0 on Ricky Yunke of Sweet Home before Yunke made it interesting in the last period and half of the match.
Yunke cut the match to 2-1 and challenged Van De Hey to beat him from the ground-up in which Yunke controlled the match and nearly gained the lead through a few different outlets but Van De Hey battled and some how squeaked out an escape point to make it 3-1 as the ref told the boys to go to the neutral position instead of referee position like they have been.
Standing up now, Van De Hey continued to battle as the senior kept Yunke from tying and/or taking the lead and when that final buzzer rang, Van De Hey won 3-1 and finally got his long awaited District Championship.
Afterwards, he thought of everyone he drilled with. Louie Sanchez, Kane Nixon, Noah Thompson to drill with. The coaches that have coached him that helped him get to this point of finally getting that title.
“When it came down to it, I’ve been in the finals two-times before and lost,” said Van Dey Hey on the win. “I was starting to think about that sting and that hurt, and so I started to amp it up and try not to have that sting again.”
James Van Agtmael lost a tough 10-6 Finals decision to North Marion’s Matt Carrillo at 182, but Louie Sanchez set the record straight with another District Title to his ever-growing wrestling resume.
“Unbelievable,” described Sanchez. “I’m just really happy on how much I’ve grown, gotten better and improved and I’m just happy for my team.”
Sanchez, like Van De Hey, credits his coaches in helping him get to this point once more as he enters the State Tournament for the last time.
And as he looks to repeat, the Outstanding Wrestler at the heavier weights (152-upwards), knows he has a few things to work on for the last ride.
“Work on my shot, be a little bit quicker on my feet and just don’t wait for me to take my shots. Work on my offense and work on my defense,” said Sanchez.
Other notables: Macoy Christman finished third at 220, David Villegas was fourth at 113 as was Joesph Baxter (120) and Matthew Clark (182) with Cascade finishing second in Team Scores behind District Winner Sweet Home.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald