Photo by Jolene Guzman
Central's Caleb Sedlacek, here at a dual meet with Lebanon earlier this season, won a state championship in the 285 weight class at the OSAA 5A State Wrestling Tournament this weekend.
As of Wednesday, February 7, 2018
INDEPENDENCE — Central wrestler Gabriel Padilla took down his opponent Gatelyn Anderson to the delight of the Central contingent at Thursday’s dual meet between the Panthers and Lebanon.
When the referee blew the whistle at the end of match, Central’s team and fans erupted in cheers.
Padilla earned a pin — and a critical six points — in a meet where Central needed every point it could muster to defeat Lebanon, 40-37.
“That was a big win for us,” said coach Van Holstad. “That was a match that, on paper, we shouldn’t have won, but the boys really pulled together. It was a real team effort. Lebanon is a tough team. That was one of things that we’ve been talking about, working as a team pulling altogether at the same time. Today they did that, which is good because we need some momentum going into the district tournament.”
Holstad said Padilla moved up in weight class to wrestle at 220. Padilla said, even in the middle of the match, he wasn’t expecting to win because Anderson is bigger and stronger.
“I was paying attention to what coach was telling me to do and that’s what I did,” Padilla said, through a translator, after the meet.
He said he was excited to help his team get the win Thursday and thanked his coaches for the opportunity to compete.
Padilla’s pin was one of six Central won on the mat Thursday. Caleb Sedlacek (285), Cesar Rodriguez (106), Noah Worthington (113), and Manuel Martinez (120) also took down their opponents. Josiah Jones won by forfeit. Alan Vargas won a 17-6 decision, earning four points for his team.
“Gabe’s win was big, Manny Martinez’ win was big, Cesar Rodriguez, those guys coming through, that’s huge for our team,” Holstad said.
Going into district this weekend, Holstad expects Sedlacek and Worthington to earn state berths like they did last year. They both took sixth in the 2017 state tournament.
Sedlacek, a senior, is ranked in the top two in the state, according to wrestling polls, going into his final district tournament.
“It really counts now,” Holstad said.
He said Vargas, who just missed going to state last year, and freshman Brock Pierce have a good chance to qualify for state.
“Our goal is to always get more guys to state than the last year,” Holstad said.
Central took five to state last year, so to meet their goal, the Panthers will need more of what happened Thursday.
“It’s kind of fun,” Holstad said. “When it gets down to the wire, and it’s that close of a dual and anything can happen, that’s where you see the highs and lows. That’s what makes wrestling the world’s greatest sport. It’s every kind of emotion in six minutes.”