By Jeremy McDonald
PORTLAND, Ore.– The journey for South Salem’s Julian Ortiz’ fifth-place finish came down to him battling through what is known as the ‘Blood’-Rounds following his 6A 285 pound quarterfinal loss to Oregon City’s Zach Zumwalt Friday night.
The loss put the Senior two wins from his goal of placing in one of the toughest brackets in the Tournament. His two wins so far, the most he’s gotten in his trips to Veterans Coliseum in the last two trips combined.
Ortiz got the two wins to reach the Consolation Semi-final round, pin victories over Nick Severson (Sherwood) and Josef Betty (West Linn) to get Ortiz to the Semi-Final round. A surging Connor O’Brien from Newberg had knock the Saxon grappler off the trek Ortiz was on, forcing Ortiz to the fifth-sixth match to end his High School Career.
In front of him, was Tigard’s Johnny Normani. Normani came into the bracket as the second-seed, opposite from the first-seed in Jacob Barnes from McMinnville.
Size wise, it was like Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant in Wrestlemania III with Normani the vastly taller and bigger wrestler. But Ortiz, who was giving up roughly six-inches and about 20 pounds to Normani, worked his strengths around the ‘Giant’ in front of him.
“Just get him to move,” said Ortiz. “And the times he exploded, I was able to counter that pretty well. Sprawl and everything.”
Ortiz was neck-and-neck with Normani, it was 5-5 when the clock went out on the station timekeeper during the second period. It was something that Ortiz say he didn’t really noticed as he got back to work against his opposition into the third period as Ortiz finished by winning the match by a 7-5 decision. Putting a cherry on-top of a successful season on the heels of winning his second District Title a few weeks ago in Bend.
“It feels great. Sophomore and Junior Year I came here and went two-and-out, to come here my Senior Year and to be able to push all the way to fifth it was great,” said Ortiz. “My goal this year was to place and I did just what I wanted too. I’ll have it no other way.”