PREP WRESTLING: Panthers shine at home

Noah Worthington finished second at the Central Invitational on Friday.

Photo by Lukas Eggen
Noah Worthington finished second at the Central Invitational on Friday.

INDEPENDENCE — With a rare chance to compete at home, Central’s wrestling team looked forward to entertaining fans on Friday.

“You get to wrestle in front of family and friends. You get to rest a little more and you don’t have to get up quite as early to travel,” Caleb Sedlacek said. “It's an amazing experience.”

The Panthers put on a show, placing first at the Panther Invitational.

Ty Pearson (132 pounds), Alan Vargas (145), Brock Pierce (152), and Caleb Sedlacek (285) finished first.

“All our wrestlers battle well,” coach Van Holstad said. “It is pretty apparent that we are learning a lot from week to week, especially the younger, less experienced wrestlers. It was good to see Ty, Brock and Alan win after a couple of tough losses for each in the last few tournaments.”

Gabriel Padilla (220), Corbin Sedlacek (195), Xander Hall (182), Manuel Martinez (126), Luis Martinez (120) and Noah Worthington (113) placed second.

“What I took away is to not wrestle nervous and just to wrestle my matches and good things will happen,” Worthington said. “If I wrestle scared, I will only mess up.”

Angel Perez placed third (132) and Damian Negrete (120), Nicholas Kunkle (138), and Nathan Bliss (170) finished fourth.

It was the third-straight strong result for Central, which took second at both the Springfield and Tillamook invitationals.

“Yeah, we’re happy but we can always do better,” Sedlacek said. “Like with me, I can get off my knees, take a better shot, and be a better teammate. You have to keep working. That’s what it is all about. You’re never perfect and you’re never the best.”

Sedlacek is driven to end his high school career on a high note.

As a junior, he placed second at the Mid-Willamette Conference district championships and advanced to the state semifinals, but a loss in the semifinals, followed by more losses in the next two rounds, sent him to a sixth-place finish.

“Making it to the semifinals at state and got beat, and I didn’t wrestle like I should have,” Sedlacek said. “… I beat myself up at state and ended up getting my butt kicked when I felt like I was the better wrestler. It motivated me. It taught me that the focus always has to be on the next match. I’m not saying I’ll win or lose, but whomever I face will know they’ve been in a battle.”

Sedlacek has yet to drop a match this season.

“I have more confidence than I’ve had in wrestling,” he said. “I have the confidence that I can go out there and be in a battle.”

Central will compete at the Northwest Duals Dec. 28-29 with another chance for the Panthers to show they are ready to battle.

“The focus is only on the next match,” Sedlacek said. “When I’m out there, nothing else in life matters. Whether it’s for 30 seconds or 10 minutes, my mind is clear.”


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