Woodburn wrestlers Wesley Vasquez and Giovanni Bravo stage dramatic wins at state tournament
Wesley Vasquez (113) was down by a single point in the final period of a grinding battle against Junction City in the state championship finals. The clock was running out. Wesley hit and scored a 2-point reversal with 1 second left on the clock. He won a state title with pure grit. It was an emotional moment for him and the entire team. Wesley had dominated his bracket throughout the tournament, pinning all his previous opponents in the 1st period. But it was this hard-fought final victory that meant the most.
Gio Bravo (138) stepped on the mat a few matches later in an attempt to be the second Woodburn state champ of the tournament, but his Cascade opponent was incredibly tough and ran up the score. He turned Gio to his back and nearly pinned him. But no team trains harder than Woodburn and no one can keep up with us in the 3rd period when they are exhausted and gassed. Gio was still down by 2 points when he hit a suicide cradle for a 3-point near fall with 5 seconds left on the clock. It was another exciting win and well-deserved state title.
These matches were an electrifying conclusion to an already exciting state tournament. Freddy Hernandez (126) placed 3rd after pinning 3 opponents and winning by major decision in the consolation finals. His only loss was a close 11-7 decision to la Grande. Marcos Hernandez (120) placed 5th. He picked up 4 pins but got caught on his back and pinned by both La Grande and Baker. Hector Paniagua (126), Angel Acevedo (145), and Israel Paniagua (152) each went 1-2. They fought hard but had some really tough opponents.
Woodburn placed 7th overall in the state as a team, which is awesome considering we finished the season with 5 empty weight classes. Very tough group of kids. To put it in perspective, Woodburn scored more points per wrestler in the tournament than any of the top 6 teams, including state champ Tillamook and runner-up Sweet Home, both absolute powerhouses. These Bulldogs showed up to compete. Their hard work paid off; they were never out-worked or out-conditioned on the mat. No one can keep up with Woodburn in the 3rd period because no one else has worked hard enough.
What we are most proud of though as a team is something that happened day in and day out in our wrestling room. Those who never miss a single practice or competition make Guts Club. It is an honor that is earned
and never given. The 12 wrestlers in Guts Club this season showed incredible commitment through every kind of adversity. Of the 7 state qualifiers, they have made Guts Club 21 times between them. Wesley, Marcos, Freddy, and Angel have never missed a day in HS. Hector only missed a day in 3 years (mom took him out of school sick). Gio made Guts Club 3 times and Israel 2 times. When the world is full of flakes and fakes who quit when things get hard, this level of commitment to the hardest sport in high school with the most punishing practices is truly something remarkable. Something we hope that transfers to every area of their lives. We want these Woodburn wrestlers to have character, integrity, and teamwork through hard work, grit, and determination. That is more than a poster on our wall, it is what we are trying to instill in young men and women as a Woodburn wrestling program.
“Overall the team did great at the state tournament. It was really amazing and nail-biting seeing Woodburn wrestle. Everyone gave it their all and never backed down. I’m glad that the 19 years of drought of having a state champion is finally over. The feeling of becoming a state champion is priceless all the sacrifices were worth it. I don’t think that I would have made it without the support of my coaches, family, and teammates. It was a phenomenal state tournament.” -Wesley Vasquez
“The state tournament was the one that we had trained hard for. It was a test of mental strength and courage. 4 of the 7 wrestlers who placed at this tournament really wrestled with these things. After 19 years we finally had state champions. 2 to be exact. And it was awesome. This group of wrestlers was the toughest Woodburn had ever taken to state in a long time. And we are so proud of every wrestler. It was a great tournament both for Woodburn Wrestling and the Woodburn community.” -Coach Jose Hernandez
Read more about 2019 Wrestling State Championships at Woodburn Independent
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