Taft High qualified a school-record eight team members Saturday into next week’s Class 3A OSAA State Wrestling Championships at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.
Taft placed third behind team winner and defending Class 3A State champion Willamina, and just seven points behind second-place Dayton. The Tigers finished ahead of Rainier for the first time.
“Hard work pays off,” Taft coach Robb Ellis said.
Senior Cody Knott won the Class 3A Special District 1 160-pound title to lead the way for Taft, which wrestled approximately 65 matches over two days of competition at Warrenton High School.
Senior Gio Salazar (126), freshman Riley Ellis (138) and senior David Jin (170) advanced to State with second-place showings.
Sophomore William Calderon (138), senior DeVon Lindquist (145), senior Eric Aquino (195 and junior Jace Phippen (220) moved on with third-place finishes.
Taft’s previous most wrestlers to advance to State was five.
Photos by Lon French