By Jeremy McDonald
SCIO, Ore.– It is crazy to think this time last year Amity’s Blake Runion had never reached a tournament final let-lone win one.
The 2018 Scio Holiday Tournament broke that trend as the then Warrior sophomore, now Junior, won the 113 pound bracket in Scio. That sparked a season in which Runion reached the 3A State Wrestling tournament, finishing third in the 106-pound field.
Fast forward to Saturday.
Runion, a little bit more bulkier muscle-wise, wrestling at 120 pounds working his way to 113 pounds, lined up to possibly duplicate last years Championship win once more.
Runion opened the tournament with a 17-1 tech-fall over Riddle’s Daykotae McAvoy before pinning Jesus Espinoza in 54 seconds to set up the final against Yamhill-Carlton’s Asher Tindall.
Now, it was a 22-6 tech-fall on the scoresheet at home for the 120-pound championship yes, but it was all but pretty.
Runion started the match by setting a fast-pace and led 10-2 entering the second round.
“Just setting the pace…if you set the pace as the aggressor, you’re going to win every match. You just got to set your mind to it, you can’t let the other person be the aggressor, you’re going to lose,” said Runion of setting the pace.
But the Amity wrestler got a little sloppy in his approach the first round and into the second as the score approached football numbers. There was one moment in the second round where Runion went for a move, it backfired and it nearly cost him near-fall points against him and risking him for a pin.
Maybe it was a little too hard out of the gate and setting an unrealistic pace this early in the season had tested the gas tank a little too much for the Junior.
“I just went a little too hard, I should have set the pace just a little bit slower. I lost my breathe and it almost resulted in a loss. But more practices so I won’t get tired, I was kind of tired towards the end there,” smiled the quiet Runion.
Hey, it’s a win in a weight class he won’t be at for much longer as part of the descent plan is something he can chalk up as a win in itself here early in the season.
“It felt great. I’ve been slacking off a little bit, so I won’t count that as one of my better wins, but it definitely felt great,” said Runion.
Runion was the lone placer for the Warriors in the tournament.