Steketee, Sprague Wrestling Wins Senior Night

By Jeremy McDoanld

SALEM, Ore.–  Cole Steketee is coming off a strong junior campaign where he won the 285-pound State Title and a strong offseason that saw the Sprague senior garner All-American status at the Reno Tournament of Champions just a few weeks ago.

Already roughly halfway through his senior year with the Olympians, his ninth wrestling, Steketee admits this is so far the most fun season he’s been a part of.  Stepping up as a leader with the support of his coaches and teammates around him, all while giving him all the different looks Steketee is looking for as he prepares for his Title defense later this Winter Sports Season.

“It’s been great.  I’ve been putting that work in and I got a lot of supportive coaches and teammates that have been helping me out, keeping me in good shape.  This season has been great so far, it’s by far my favorite season so far. I love being a leader out there for my team and I love my teammates,” Steketee said.

“At heavyweight, you have smaller heavyweights that are a little more athletic than the guys who have to cut to 285.  It’s good to get looks from everybody.  Coach Alex (Antillion), he’s a big dude but not as agile as some of the other dudes, but he threatens me with some other things that the smaller guys can pull off because of the size.  So I get a lot of good different looks.  Devin (Wardell) is a good 220, he just needs to string a few things together.  This team this year has been great in helping out.”

Both Wardell and Steketee pulled off victories on Senior Night for Sprague, who took down South Salem 57-18.  All but one bout ended in a pin-victory with Sprague’s Jacob Bate, Elijah Ezpeleta, Adrian Truelove, Shane Parker and Shawn Parker all picked up pin victories as the Olympians opened up the match leading 30-6 at the point.  South Salem’s Griffin McCormick got a win at 132 to break up the shutout as Javier Hernandez (182) and  Alex Decrozuic (220) picked up pin victories as well.  Decrozuic is a returning State Qualifier who fell in the fifth-place bout as a junior last season.

Seth Carp, a State Qualifier in 2021 got a pin as did Sullivan Puckett  at 152, both in the second round.  Puckett was also a State Qualifier for Sprague last Winter.  JoshCamillo, a State Qualifier for the Olympians last year, won at 160.James Larkins (170) and Carson Hunsaker (182) both won via pin.

But in 195, our lone match that didn’t result in a pin on Wednesday, saw South Salem’s Gabe Osario pushing another one of Sprague’s returning State Qualifiers in Kenya Johnson to the limit with both being tied going into the third period at seven-apiece.  Strong performances by both grapplers that ended with Johnson taking advantage of Osario’s emptying gas tank to edge the Saxons wrestler 11-9 as the match drew to a close.

It was a good learning experience for Osario, who will look to continue to improve with a few more crucial reps and matches ahead of him.

“I just got really exhausted, that’s how it got away from me.  I couldn’t last that long and (Johnson) was really good too,” Osario said.  “I just need to think on what I need to improve upon, especially my conditioning.  (This season) is going a lot better than last year.”

Photos By Jeremy McDonald

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