Continuing the rivalry was important to Casey Horn and Michael Cox.
The two coaches’ wrestling programs are no longer in the same district, but both wanted to keep their traditional matchup alive.
The end result was Thursday’s season-opening endowment dual meet between West Albany and Lebanon High School.
The visiting Warriors were victorious, defeating their now-nonleague rivals 43-28. The programs have agreed to wrestle again in Lebanon next year.
“(Lebanon) Coach Cox and I are good friends. We talked in the offseason about doing this endowment meet and keeping this strong rivalry between the two of us going,” said Horn, whose Bulldogs now compete in the 6A Greater Valley Conference. “We thought that was an important thing to do, so we said ‘Let’s do it.’”
The Bulldogs led 10-0 early on a Wyatt French major decision at 106-pounds and a forfeit.
Lebanon used pins by Dylan Robb (120), Cody Kleint (138), and two decisions in favor of Cameron Alley (126) and Terry McCord (145) to take the lead for good at 18-16.
Tanner Sallee followed with a win via fall at 152, and Jakob Cripes’ hard-fought 9-8 decision over Ivan Alvarez at 160 gave the Warriors a 27-16 edge.
In the match of the night, Lebanon’s Jesse Wynn pinned West’s Brice Hogan with 10 seconds remaining in the 195 match. Wynn trailed 1-0 entering the third round.
“It was a pretty big win,” said Wynn, who also defeated Hogan at last year’s district meet. “I definitely thought I was in trouble for a little bit there, but you just have to keep wrestling.”
Abe Richmond (132) and James Brunson (170) also had wins via fall for the Bulldogs.
Lebanon’s Arien Craggett pinned Justin Moller at 220, and Brandon Dawson won by major decision at 182.
The Warriors, who finished third at last year’s 5A state championships, will battle with Dallas and Central for the Mid-Willamette district title. Dallas has won four straight district championships.
Lebanon lost a pair of state champions – Andrew Nelson (113) and KiAnte Davis (152) – to graduation, but returns 170-pound gold medalist Colton Sallee.
“If you’re a good program, you have to rebuild,” Cox said. “So these guys have to pick up the slack. We’ve got some serious holes in our lineup right now, but we aren’t rebuilding; we are reloading.”
Colton Sallee and three other Lebanon starters missed Thursday’s match.
The Bulldogs took 10th at the 2014 5A state championships behind the efforts of departed seniors Steely Smith (220) and Jackson Soto (195), who both brought home silver.
Hogan took fourth at state at 182 a season ago, and Richmond and Brunson were both qualifiers.
“I am really excited for what we’ve got,” Horn said. “I love this team. This team wants to work hard and get after it, and they are hungry to work. They love listening and love being coached, and that’s making our jobs as coaches so much easier because they want to be in this room competing.”
Lebanon 43, West Albany 28
106: Wyatt French, WA, maj. dec. Jacob Galster, 11-2
113: Austin Bitz, WA, won by forfeit
120: Dylan Robb, Leb, p. Alejandro Alvarez, 3:28
126: Cameron Alley, Leb, dec. Sawyer Myres, 11-8
132: Abe Richmond, WA, p. Mitchell Alley, 4:29
138: Cody Kleint, Leb, p. Paul Boysen, 1:00
145: Terry McCord, Leb, dec. Mitchell Sorte, 6-1
152: Tanner Sallee, Leb, p. Nate Lattanzio, 1:05
160: Jakeb Cripe, Leb, dec. Ivan Alvarez, 9-8
170: James Brunson, WA, p. Ryan Davenport, 4:57
182: Brandon Dawson, Leb, maj. dec. Noah Smith, 16-2
195: Jesse Wynn, Leb, p. Brice Hogan, 5:50
220: Arien Craggett, Leb, p. Justin Moller, 1:31
285: Ryan Lynch, WA, won by forfeit
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