Photo by Lukas Eggen
Dallas senior Matt Hofenbredl won his third state championship in four years. Hofenbredl earned a 7-1 decision on Saturday night to win the title.
As of Wednesday, March 4, 2015
PORTLAND — It was déjà vu for Dallas senior Matt Hofenbredl and Hood River Valley senior Christian Marquez at the OSAA Class 5A state wrestling championships.
The top two seeds in the 132-pound bracket faced off in the Class 5A state final for the second year in a row.
Marquez won in overtime in 2014.
This time, things were different.
Hofenbredl largely controlled the match from the start, earning a 7-1 decision to claim his third state title in four years, making him the second wrestler in school history to achieve that feat.
Hofenbredl was Dallas’ lone state champion and lone state finals participant.
Freshman Noah Sickles (113) rebounded from a loss in the championship semifinals to take third, earning an 11-4 decision over Churchill’s Cade Ezell.
“It’s been a great experience,” Sickles said. “It’s amazing here being at the state tournament.”
Sophomore Tanner Earhart (138) finished fourth, while senior Nolan Miller (120), junior Sammy Chung (126) and senior Tyson Janssen (170) placed fifth. Freshman Treve Earhart (152) and junior Jeff Dunagan (160) took sixth.
For Miller and Janssen, both seniors, the fifth-place matches represented their final match as a Dragon.
Miller pinned Hood River Valley’s Jason Shaner to place fifth.
“I knew it was my last match,” Miller said. “It was a thank you to the coaches for making me better.”
Janssen’s state tournament began with a bang, upsetting top seeded Gabe Brauchler of Redmond.
“I just wanted to place at state,” Janssen said. “That’s how you make a name for yourself. I didn’t want to leave unnamed. I knew I could beat him going into it. I just did my thing that I worked on in practice and it just worked out.”
Dallas finished fifth in the team standings with 141 1/2 points. Hermiston won the team title with 161 points.
“The boys did great,” Dragons coach Tony Olliff said. “We had some first time state participants place, which is a very tricky thing to do. We had some returners get back on the podium and we had a number of wrestlers contribute to our total team effort.”
Junior Angie Sletten finished third in the girls 113-pound bracket. Sletten pinned Saylor Neher of Cleveland in the third place match.
“As soon as I saw the ref’s arm go up, I started crying I was so excited,” Sletten said.
Sletten may be the team’s only girl, but she’s hoping her story can inspire others to join the male-dominated sport.
“Girls will come over to me and hug me and talk to me,” Sletten said. “That’s just inspiring to me.”
Dallas’ trip to the state wrestling championships may have featured unexpected twists and turns.
But wrestling does more than provide students a chance to play a sport, Janssen said. It provides something else entirely.
“Wrestling will knock you down,” Janssen said. “You just have to get back up.”