News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Santiam hosts countywide wrestling tourney

Bragging rights for all of Linn County will be on the line Jan. 4, when Santiam High hosts the annual Linn County Wrestling Championship.

Wrestling begins at 9:30 a.m., with Wolverines coach Kerry Crowston estimating that the finals will take place at 4 p.m., “just ballpark there, if things go real smooth, it could be earlier,” Crowston said.

Eight teams will be participating, the host Wolverines, Central Linn, Harrisburg, Scio, Sweet Home, West Albany, South Albany and Lebanon. The teams range from Class 2A to Class 5A.

“Every year there are several state champs and placers wrestling in this tourney, so it’s always a helluva challenge,” Crowston said.

Each team can enter two wrestlers in each of the 14 weight classes for both boys and girls, resulting in a 16-athlete bracket at each weight. Medals will be awarded to those finishing sixth or higher, with traveling team trophies for both the boys and girls team winners.

Santiam has a number of wrestlers capable of making noise in the tournament, Crowston said.

“Our seniors Wyatt Dayton 144 pounds, Dallon Mount 285 pounds, Randy Fox 157 pounds and junior Lukus Lebahn 157 to 165 have the best chance for a strong showing in the tourney,” Crowston said.  “Junior Evan Breen has shown steady improvement, as well as freshman Dakota Derrick, so they could surprise some folks.”

BASKETBALL: The new year means the start of league play for area basketball teams. The Santiam boys were 5-2 overall at The Canyon Weekly’s press time and held the No. 14 ranking in Class 2A. The Wolverines, regular season champs a year ago and state tournament participants, open Tri-River Conference play at 7 p.m. at Willamina on Wednesday, Jan. 3. 

The Tri-River, which sent five teams to Pendleton a year ago, including champion Salem Academy and runner-up Western Christian, currently holds five of the top seven spots in the OSAA’s 2A rankings.

Western Christian is No. 1, with Regis No. 3, Kennedy at No. 5, Willamina 6th and Colton 7th.

J.D. Hill
J.D. Hill

Santiam coach J.D. Hill, who lost four starters from last season’s 20-8 squad, described “the gauntlet that is the Tri-River Conference. This year we have two games against Western Christian, Regis, Salem Academy, Willamina, and Kennedy. Those five teams are some of the best teams in the state and it will be a challenge to just get one win out of all those games.”

The Santiam girls, in their second year under coach Hannah Thompson, were 5-4 heading into the holiday break and ranked 14th in Class 2A. The Wolverines open league play at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 3 at Willamina. 

The girls bracket of the Tri-River is not quite as stacked as the boys. Tri-River teams occupy four of the top 11 spots, with Western Christian first, Regis fifth, Colton 10th and Willamina 11th. 

Hannah Thompson
Hannah Thompson

The TRC sent four teams to Pendleton a year ago, with Gervais capturing the state title. 

“It’s no secret that the Tri-River is typically the most competitive conference in the state,” Thompson said.  “It has been that way for many years. Western Christian is doing what was expected and I anticipate them being within the top teams in our conference and state.  

“Regis is also having a great start and winning games. Willamina is proving to be very competitive and has had some good wins. Colton I expect to be competitive. (They are) returning the majority of their team from last year.  

“It will be an interesting year because I think the majority of our teams in the Tri-River are going to be very competitive with each other. I really believe there will be a lot of teams beating each other and it will just depend on who plays better on any given day. I see my team being right there in the mix. It is going to come down to being consistent and being able to execute for the full four quarters along with having a great game plan in place.”  

Scio hoops starts league play next week. The Loggers’  boys squad is 5-4, ranked 20th in Class 3A. They open PacWest play at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 2 at Jefferson. The Scio girls were 3-6 at presstime and will visit Jefferson at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the PacWest opener.

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