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Sophomore Haydn Millard of Dallas locks his opponent’s arm behind him during the semifinals round on Saturday.

PORTLAND — The Dallas Dragons wrestling team finished in third place at the OSAA state wrestling tournament over the weekend, behind Crook County and Crescent Valley.

“It was a solid team performance from start to finish,” said head coach Tony Olliff. “Third place is quite admirable.”

The state title that they won last year evaded them, and that was “kind of a heart breaker, but overall I’m proud of the boys,” Olliff said.

Everything started off solid for the Dragons, starting out in first place, with Crescent Valley and Crook County right on their heels.

In the semifinals round on Saturday, the Dragons pumped out four wins. After their matches were over, sophomore Haydn Millard, in the 120-pound bracket and seniors Joe Foster, 132, Jacob Jones, 152, and Ashton Brecht, 285, had their hands raised and grinned at the big crowd of Dallas supporters in the stands that responded with cheering and clapping.

Spirits were high.

After that was when the team stumbled.

“We started out great, everything was going great,” Olliff said. “Having four wins in the semis was great. We lost 11 of the 12 matches after that, so going from first to third was tough. The boys just hit a wall there, and it was a rough way to finish.”

Overall, nine Dragons placed at  the tournament: Cael Morrison, 113, in fourth place, Millard in second place, Foster in second place, Colson Spencer, 145, in fourth place, Isaiah McIntosh, 145, in sixth place, Jones in second place, Bryce Miller, 160, in sixth place, Jared Coxen, 182, in fifth place and Brecht in second place.

From last year, the biggest difference in the tournament is that Crook County, the 4A state champions of last year, bumped up to the 5A league, and Crescent Valley recruits from all over the wider Corvallis region.

“Our boys are born and raised in Dallas, and we’re proud of that,” Olliff said. “We’re up against a pretty formidable foe from a lot of different places. We’re gonna have to figure out. We can do it, but we just have to work hard.”

Olliff was awarded Coach of the Year at the tournament for the second year in a row.

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