Central Oregon has become a mecca of great wrestlers.
The High Desert is producing major talent from small schools to large, freshmen to seniors.
At Bend High, the Larwin brothers, part of a wrestling family, are ready for their own legacy.
The older brother, Eric, is a junior looking for his first state title.
“I don’t know how many brother duos there have been in the history of Oregon that have won 5A state titles together,” Eric said. “But I’m ready to be part of that legacy with life, and we’re ready to go out there and compete in both and get our hand raised in the state finals, and that’s going to be awesome to do, and I’m really excited.”
The freshman Leif has already accumulated more wrestling accolades than most athletes dream of.
The phenom already won the prestigious Reser’s Tournament of Champions and is set on joining his brother Eric this year to capture their first Oregon 5A state title.
“It’d be the greatest thing in the world,” Leif said. “To me, it would mean more to me than winning a state title for myself.”
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For Mountain View, a father-son duo ready to make the best out of one last dance together.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” head Mountain View wrestling coach Dan Potts said. “There’s a part of me that’s like, ready like I was saying, for that break, it’s a lot of hours, not just during the season, but our pre-seasons and our postseasons and our, our summers and, you know, fundraising and kids club and everything. I’m tired; I’m getting older.”
A unique scenario where Dan Potts is in his first and last year as the head coach of the Cougars.
From the beginning, he’s coached his son Jackson, a returning state champion, and now the head coach will be there at the end.
“Kind of just happy that I got to end it, you know, in the Mountain View community and then just with my dad right by my side,” said son Jackson Potts.
A returning state championship team with no individual state champion returners, Redmond High School is looking to stay on top of the 5A wrestling world.
“Really, we just had a good group of guys who were on the same team last year who took maybe third, fourth, fifth, who were just bringing each other up and working to get even higher this year,” said senior Joey Downing.
Downing is looking for his first individual state champion and to help lead the Panthers to another 1st place trophy.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I was five,” Downing said. “I’ve been practicing in the same mat room for 13 years, and so just seeing champs on the wall get filled in, seeing their pictures get put up, and just dreaming about me getting up there, My brother did it two years ago, and so it’s my dream to be up there with him. With all those champs solidifying myself in history.”
Four wrestlers. Three programs. A two-day state tournament to prove who’s number one.
The state tournament is this Friday and Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.