Portland’s snowstorm is impacting the pursuit of a state title by Central Oregon athletes. The harsh conditions delayed the start of the state wrestling tournament.
“There was a lot of uncertainty throughout the course of the day since we got the news late last night, and it’s been a difficult grind on these kids in their families,” said head Culver wrestling coach J.D. Alley.
One of the worst storms in Portland’s history was causing delays in traffic.
“It took us about over six hours to drive the 15 minutes to the Coliseum,” Alley said after arriving in Portland.
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La Pine head wrestling coach Aaron Flack says it took them seven hours to get to Portland. They had athletes push cars out of the way in the snow so the bus could get through.
“Earlier in the day yesterday, we made a couple of changes to shift it back by two hours, hoping that that would give people enough time here this morning to get in and get around the roads and stuff. But as the day went on and the snow kept coming, that wasn’t going to be an option,” said Oregon Schools Activities Association Director Peter Weber.
The Rose Quarter closed the Veterans Memorial Coliseum and its facilities all day Thursday, the day wrestling was supposed to begin.
1A-4A schools now have to wrestle the entire tournament in just one day — on Friday.
“Which is fine for us,” said Crook County head coach Jake Gonzalez. “I mean, our district tournament was one day, and that didn’t bugged me, I think, yeah, again, we can’t control any of that stuff.”
“The one-day grind favors us a little bit,” Alley said. “I think our athletes are in pretty good shape and will manage that day pretty well, but it probably won’t have the championship feel it should have.”
This is the first time the state tournament is back in at the Coliseum since 2020 due to the pandemic.
“We forget how big of a nightmare the last three or four years have been,” Alley said. “Debren here is really the only kid on my team that’s ever wrestled and performed in that Coliseum, and anybody that’s, guys that are senior this year is they qualified for state when they’re a freshman. That’s the last time we were in here. So I just wanted them to experience that and I think it’s going to be a little bit different.”
High expectations for High Desert teams
Different it might be, but this is a special year for Central Oregon wrestling.
Culver, La Pine, Crook County and Mountain View all won their district tournament and all four are expected to make a run at that first-place state trophy.
“You got some programs that, you know, Culver has got a tradition, Redmond’s got a tradition,” Gonzalez said. “You know, Mountain View is starting that, and I mean, Crook County, we’ve had a tradition. It’s a big deal in Prineville. I think that’s what you’re seeing, why Central Oregon is, you know, been fairly successful in wrestling.”
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Culver has 13 boys and one girl in the tournament this year and is looking to capture its 15th state title in 17 years, aiming for its 24th straight state trophy.
La Pine is trying for its fourth title in five years for the boys’ program and says the girls’ program also has its eyes set on gold this year. The Hawks brought 12 boys and five girls to state.
Crook County is back in 4A and consistently claimed silver and bronze in the last five years, and this year they hope for first place.
Prineville has 19 Cowboys and three Cowgirls at the tournament this year.
Mountain View is looking to bring home a blue trophy (1st) for the first time in school history.
For all schedule updates and ticket prices visit: https://www.osaa.org/championships?view=wre