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Although the Taft 7-12 wrestling team was scheduled to compete in the Oregon Wrestling Classic, the biggest tournament in the state, this coming weekend, Mother Nature had different plans.

And perhaps the schedule change could be a blessing in disguise.

Last weekend (Jan. 11), the Tiger boys and girls teams competed in the Toledo/Siletz Invitational at Toledo High School. Missing a few key wrestlers, the Taft boys were still able to turn in a respectable finish when it was all set and done.

“Not our greatest showing at the Toledo tournament… but we managed to get 5th out of 12 teams while being down quite a few team members with the flu and injuries,” head coach Robb Ellis wrote after the tournament.

Taft accumulated 79 team points while 6A Grants Pass dominated the field, placing first with 197 points. Individually, the Tigers had a two third place finishers and another pair of fourth place finishers.

In the 160-weight bracket Riley Ellis had a third place finish after winning three out of four matches during the day, including a 4-2 major decision in the third place bout over Soren Thorsen of Grants Pass. Jace Phippen was also third in the 220-weight bracket, claiming three victories by fall and dropping just one match.

Arnoldo Ortiz was fourth in the 132-weight class after going 2-2 on the day and narrowly dropping the third place match by a 9-7 decision. Teammate Elin Fitch was also fourth at 195, winning one match before losing in the third place bout.

In a limited girls tournament that featured just 15 wrestlers from five schools, the Taft girls accumulated 27 points to finish second overall. Grants Pass also was the champion of the girls tournament.

“Our girls had some tough matches against Grants Pass girls and a few other schools and most of them got a win,” Coach Ellis said.

Three out of the five Taft girls earned a victory on the day, including Ryan Sou in the 120-bracket, Kadence James in the 130-bracket and Lucy Reyes in the 190-bracket.

Instead of traveling to Redmond to compete in the Oregon Wrestling Classic this weekend (Taft dropped out due to weather concerns), the Tigers will prepare for a rare home tournament this coming Tuesday.

The Jan. 21 Taft Invitational is the only home event on the Tigers’ schedule and will feature Nestucca, Siletz Valley/Eddyville Charter, Tillamook, Toledo and Waldport. Matches are set to begin at 5 p.m.

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