PORTLAND — Sweet Home High was aiming for a state tournament trophy all season, particularly a blue one.
The Huskies got that blue trophy and they’re back on top of Oregon 4A wrestling for the first time in eight years.
Sweet Home had four athletes in the finals and nine overall placers as it claimed its eighth state title in school history by a slim margin Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
“I’m very excited, I’m very humbled and I’m very proud of what these kids did,” said Huskies coach Steve Thorpe, who won his fifth state championship as the program’s leader.
Sweet Home entered the finals with a half-point lead over Crook County, which had two alive Saturday night. The Cowboys’ loss in the 106 final wrapped it up for the Huskies, who had 12 of its 14 wrestlers entered win matches.
Sweet Home finished with 181 points and Crook County 180.5.
Sweet Home’s victory ended a four-year run by Crook County, of Prineville.
“We wrestled a solid 4A division. And Crook County, that’s one of the greatest programs in the state of Oregon. So to be in this tournament with them, I’m very proud of that,” Thorpe said. “Through a lot of prayer, through a lot of mistakes and grace and hard work, you know, it happened.”
Thorpe was named the 4A coach of the year by a vote of his peers.
The Huskies have been runner-up six times, including 2010 and 2011.
Sweet Home had two athletes wrestle each other when senior Kobe Olson defeated freshman Travis Thorpe, 4-0 at 126.
It was a rematch of the regional final, won 2-0 by Olson, who said Saturday’s match was just like the first a week earlier.
“It’s constant movement on your feet. You know exactly what shots he takes. He knows exactly what shots I take,” said Olson, who won his second title after taking the 120-pound crown in 2016. “We know everything about each other. It’s the hardest match of your life.”
The two wrestled to a stalemate for nearly four minutes until Olson managed a takedown in the closing seconds of the second round.
Olson chose the down position to start the third and got his second takedown about 20 seconds into the period.
Travis Thorpe, the coach’s son, got high praise from Olson, a three-time state placer.
“For him to be in the finals as a freshman is unbelievable,” Olson said.
Thorpe became the fourth Sweet Home freshman to reach a state final.
Olson reached the finals with three pins totaling less than six minutes of mat time. Thorpe had two pins and a 6-5 semifinal decision versus second seed Colton Morgan of Crook County.
In the 138 final, Sweet Home’s Ricky Yunke failed to find his offense in a 5-2 loss to Marshfield’s Garrett Lefebvre.
Yunke scored both his points on escapes. He closed within 2-1 on an escape late in the first round, but Lefebvre countered with a second-round escape and takedown late in the third to lead 5-1.
Yunke got an escape in the opening 30 seconds on the final round.
At 145, Sweet Home’s Jake Porter led 5-0 in the first minute of the match but trailed Clay Keller of Baker/Powder Valley 6-5 midway through the second round.
Porter eventually regained the advantage and led 8-6 with a third-round takedown. But Keller got a sudden takedown and pin to end the match midway through the period.
At 182, Bryce Coulter couldn’t gain any traction in a 12-1 loss to Mazama’s Josh Hammers, who repeated as the state champion at that weight.
Sweet Home’s other placers were Jackson Royer (106), who was third, Robert Watkins (113) and Robbie Yunke (120) fifth and Justin Kurtz (138) sixth.