By Jeremy McDonald
ALBANY, Ore.– Without Logan Basham in the line-up Wednesday evening for their twin-bill of matches at South Albany High School, the North Salem Wrestling team took an always tough West Albany team to the last match of the dual to decide the winner.
While South Albany and Silverton wrapped up their dual pretty quickly, the Vikings-Bulldogs dual took roughly 90 minutes to complete with West Albany edging out North Salem in the Heavyweight match 30-29, the match itself had pushed the Redhawks Senior Night back a bit before the four squads went back into competition mode.
“It was awesome. We’re a pretty young team, we got four freshman on Varsity and West Albany is a pretty established program, coming that close…it was awesome, I’m pretty proud of all of them. Definitely a good turnout,” said Vikings Head Coach Andy Pickett.
Each team traded matches throughout. Keith Barnett won his first Varsity Dual match 7-4 as he worked the ground game, hand-fighting, etc. for the second-year wrestler that was followed by Julio Ramirez winning his match at 120.
“For my first match today, I think I did pretty good,” said Barnett before taking a forfeit win over South Albany to close out the night.
Jacob Prater (145) and Vance Lund (170) picked up wins to help keep North Salem on par with West Albany in the team-points.
Lund’s match against the ‘Dogs Leonid Prokopovych saw the Viking sophomore leading his West Albany opposition 4-0 early in the match before Prokopovych tied the match up at four midway through the second period of the match. The sophomore would regain his composure to finish off the match strongly.
“I just got really loose on his arms and legs and he just slipped out,” said Lund of the match. “I just got lost, that’s it pretty much. I had a lot of things in my head because I wanted to see what I can do to put him on his back.
“There towards the end, I got his shoulders on the ground and got the two, started counting from there and got the near-fall. Just held him there.”
The takedown and the subsequent near-fall turned a then 6-5 lead into the 11-5 result at the end of the match.
Returning State Champion Antonio Garcia and his pin put North Salem ahead entering Octavio Maldonado’s 285-pound match to decide the match. The Vikings held a two-point lead entering the final match.
Maldonado led 5-1 after the first period over West Albany’s Hunter Hampl. Hampl pulled the match to 5-3 before Maldonado’s escape point pushed his lead to 6-3 with 1:05 left in the match.
But in a weird turn-of-events, Hampl swung the match into his favor by collecting four quick points in the next 35 seconds to take a 7-6 lead, playing a sound defensive ground game in the final 30 seconds to polish off a West Albany win.
Maldonado responded in North Salem’s final dual match of the night against the Redhawks, pinning South Albany’s Cole Miller by the 5:34 mark of the match as the Vikings took the nightcap match 57-12 over their host Wednesday night.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald