Grant Union Prospector wrestlers sophomore Drew Lusco (285) and senior Elijah Humbird (220) earned individual championship titles to lead their team in defending their OSAA 2A/1A Special District 4 title at Friday’s tournament in Joseph.
The two champions and four second-place wrestlers, freshman Ethan Moore (106), sophomore Eli Sheedy (113), sophomore Russell Hodge (182) and senior Toby Boatwright (285), will advance to the OSAA Wrestling State Championships on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16, at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.
This is the second consecutive year the Grant Union team has brought home the title, this year earning 214 points ahead of Joseph/Wallowa, which had 131.5. Crane followed with 131 for third, Enterprise had 130 for fourth and Pine Eagle had 88 for fifth.
“It was a very exciting tournament from start to finish,” said Grant Union head coach Andy Lusco.
“We faced some adversity with injury and illness this year, and we were a little concerned,” he said. “However, our wrestlers did a fantastic job and placed very well in the tournament individually, which leads to a team victory.”
Coach Lusco said he and his assistant coaches have a positive outlook for their wrestlers at state.
“We are very proud of the efforts these wrestlers have put in all season, and it is pretty neat to see it result in a team championship, and six individuals go on to state,” he said. “We think our heavyweights have good chances. For our first-year qualifiers, state is tough. Our goal (for them) is to place in the top four, and I think they have the potential to be placers.”
This is the first time since 2010 that Grant Union has had six wrestlers qualify for state.
Drew Lusco and Toby Boatwright wrestled each other Friday in the final round with Lusco pinning Boatwright in an arm bar for the championship.
Boatwright placed second by rule over Klint Norton of Enterprise, having beat Norton in the semifinals by a 6-1 decision.
“Toby had actually lost a close match against Norton early in the season,” coach Lusco said. “The semifinal match was a convincing win by Toby.”
Both Drew Lusco and Boatwright competed at state last year, Drew Lusco finishing fourth.
“We’ve both worked hard this year, and that hard work paid off, and we achieved our goals,” Drew Lusco said.
When asked what it was like to wrestle Norton at the district tournament, Boatwright said he was a little nervous at first.
“I just wrestled and did what I learned in practice,” he added.
Humbird said he was also nervous at the start, facing Cole Kiesecker (13-13) of Joseph/Wallowa in the final round. Humbird won by an 11-5 decision.
“Two years ago, he beat me at districts,” Humbird said.
Commenting on this year’s experience, he said, “It was surreal — it was how you dream it.”
Grant Union results
Name/season record/place at district
Drew Lusco, 30-3 record, first place
Elijah Humbird, 15-7, first
Toby Boatwright, 6-9, second
Russell Hodge, 18-16, second
Eli Sheedy, 14-3, second
Ethan Moore, 22-16, second
Cameron Hallgarth,17-20, third
Tanner Way, 3-6, fourth
Quinten Hallgarth, 12-21, fourth
Josh Carpenter, 9-11, fourth
Logan McCluskey, 16-22, fourth
Braden Spencer, 22-20, fourth
Ben Henry, 12-9, fourth
Damion Young, 17-23, fifth
Other Grant Union team members this year are: Ben Henry, Collin Harvey, Hadley Boethin, Frank Douglass, Dillon Maley, Ely Carniglia, Nate Moore and Savannah Wyllie.