By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– Following his upset win over the number-seed and 5A State Runner-Up in Lebanon’s Keith Brown, Antonio Garcia was up against McKay’s Gio Perez-Alejandre where he built a nice comfortable 12-5 lead on the Scots Grappler before calling for time to take off the bandages that surrounded his right hand.
He suffered just a bruised hand after being stepped on, but the Vikings Junior wanted to find some way to gain traction and grip with that hand even if it meant going through the pain of the injury.
There was strategy behind his madness: Go for the Take down, get the points instead of holding him down on the mat.
“I just feel my hand starting to hurt a little bit more because of my last match. So during that match, my hand started hurting more and more. Well, I know I couldn’t hold him down, but I could still get the take downs,” said Garcia. “So I decided that getting another takedown will be a better option, a more healthier option than holding him down more and more
The North Salem State Qualifier from last season saw his strategy work as Garcia avoided a late run on his lead from Perez-Aleandre with Garcia advancing with a 16-8 Major Decision to the Semi-final round.
Garcia would fall in the Championship Semi-final round 6-1 to Owen McGill of Silverton before having to forfeit the placement match to heal up for the Coast Classic next weekend at Marshfield.
As painful as it was to forfeit that match, and bow out of the tournament with a chance of finishing fifth, he knows the long haul is bright for him as that first win of the day serves as a bright spot for the season to come for Garcia.
“It shows that how hard I’ve been working over the summer and it shows that I’m just here this year to just make it to State again or place at State. I’ve been working the whole summer and I’m really planning on winning it this year,” said Garcia.“Having beating (Brown), knowing that he’s a State Runner-Up , gives me so much confidence in my ability.
“It makes me realize that I can hang with the best that there is and I’m really looking forward to State this year.”
Logan Basham found himself in the third-place battle with Tigard’s Cameron O’Connor that saw Basham build a 6-2 lead on O’Connor through the slew of scrappyness by both wrestlers during the match.
Basham would need to take some injury time after him and O’Connor went into the padded wall at Cascade High School involving Basham’s head.
After Head Coach Andy Pickett made sure Basham was ok to continue, Basham went back to battle as he pushed a 7-5 lead before both wrestlers went to the mat. O’Connor slipped what looked like an accidental headbutt in during a scramble on the mat that saw Pickett running to assist an visibly hurt Basham on the mat. The Vikings Head Coach would called off the match for the safety of his wrestler fearing a serious injury that could have occurred moments earlier.
Basham would finish fourth in the tournament despite pulling out late in the match against O’Connor. Julio Ramirez finished sixth at the 106 pound class.