Trying out for wrestling for the first time this season proved to be a good move for Canby junior Tyler Konold, who claimed second in his weight class and was the Cougs’ top performer in the OSAA wrestling state championships at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland Sunday.
An unseeded rookie going into Sunday’s match on the sport’s biggest high school stage, Konold was defeated by top-ranked Vaun Halstead, from Thurston — narrowly missing his chance to bring Canby its first individual wrestling title since 2010.
Konold’s road to the finals was certainly no cakewalk, taking down seventh-seeded Brian Cortez, of Eagle Point, in the opening round and upsetting second-ranked Emiliano Rocha, of Dallas, by a 6-5 decision in the quarterfinals.
His semifinals opponent, Jose Lugo, was another Cinderella story from the 195-pound bracket, toppling the No. 3 seed, Chad Spitz, and sixth-seeded Uriel Valdez en route to the semis, where he was defeated by Konold in a 9-7 decision.
The event also faced major external challenges, primarily weather, which canceled the tournament’s opening day Thursday and forced officials to rejigger match schedules and brackets across six classifications and 14 weight classes.
Konold is well-known to Canby fans on the gridiron, where he has been the Cougs’ starting running back and go-to offensive superstar, leading the Northwest Oregon Conference in rushing yards for two straight years — despite missing four of nine games due to injury in 2022.
But wrestling has come naturally to the multitalented athlete, who won his first tournament after only three weeks of practice. He went 27-6 in his rookie season this year, including his eyebrow-raising performance in the state championships.
In other performances, senior Ethan Ensrud capped his outstanding high school wrestling career with a bronze-medal finish in the 160-pound division, defeating Silverton’s Oscar Marks with a pin in 1:58 in the consolation finals.
Ensrud, the top seed in his bracket, went 4-1 in the tournament, defeating Churchill’s Caden Schmidt by fall in 1:47 and Dallas’ Eli Hess in an 11-0 major decision before a loss to Ridgeview’s Dylan Lee kicked him into the consolation bracket.
Ensrud went on to pin Putnam’s Kaison Clay in 4:57 to qualify for the third-place match.
Jackson Doman at 182 and Gideon Noss at 220 both claimed sixth-place finishes for the Cougs, adding 12 and 13 points, respectively, to the team’s score. The Cougs finished in eighth place with 96 points, ahead of Hillsboro (88) and just behind Silverton at 101.5.
A total of 18 Cougar grapplers qualified for the state brackets. They included Cody Stevenson (106), Dean Williams (113), Craig Williams and Nico Yazzolino at 120, Matthew Young (126), Benjamin Young (138), Landon Sprague (145), Thomas Marquez and Peter Sansone at 152, and James Keinonen (160).
Rounding out the Cougar’s state qualifiers were Isaiah Parsons and Wyatt Samarin at 170, Gabe Baker (182) and heavyweight Paul Masingla at 285.
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