Central Oregon Daily▶️ Victory and heartbreak; the Oregon High School State Wrestling Tournament

▶️ Victory and heartbreak; the Oregon High School State Wrestling Tournament

▶️ Victory and heartbreak; the Oregon High School State Wrestling Tournament

The 2024 Oregon High School State Wrestling Tournament at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland took place over the weekend.

At this years tournament, Redmond’s Joey Downing finally got his hand raised on his final attempt in senior year.

“It feels so good,” Downing said. “I feel incredible, man; this is literally my main dream come true.

After his final match, he hugged his coaches, teammates, and friends in one last moment, one last embrace.

“My friends drove up from Redmond to watch me,” Downing said. “They don’t even watch wrestling. They’ve never watched a wrestling match in their life, but I got my family here, my teammates, and so, it’s just incredible. They all have shown so much support for me my entire life and it just means so much to me to have them here with me.”

The Panthers may not have regained their 5A crown, but when you reach for the top, you usually end up still high up.

Third place is an outstanding achievement and this tournament was one last goodbye for Mountain View senior Jackson Potts and father slash head wrestling coach Dan Potts.

When the Mountain View wrestling program couldn’t find a head coach this season, Dan said he would step up, but this would be his only year.

“I’ll tell you, the people that don’t know this sport very well, it is an amazing amount of hours, even just outside of what you see in the practice room,” Dan said. “There were times through COVID where we were traveling over the mountain for practice, and since he’s been a little guy, I mean thousands of hours in the room, and then at tournaments, and finding tournaments around the country to challenge yourself.”

Dan is stepping away from coaching after spending years coaching his sons through the Mountain View Wrestling program.

“I’m super appreciative of the time I’ve had with this program with the kids that have given their time and their effort to the program, and I just love it,” Dan said. “It’s been a part of my life since I was a little kid, and I’ve had nothing but awesome experiences with it, but like we said, things change, and we are going to move on, and we are excited about those, and I know the program will continue to thrive and it will be in good hands.”

It wasn’t just a goodbye from Dan to coaching but also a goodbye in the form of one last match together as father and son.

“Seeing him first after the match, definitely amazing,” Jackson Potts said. “I mean, him and me, growing up together, in the sport together, so it was good to end our coaching slash wrestling that way.

“I think it will hit me more later once we step away from it, but it was awesome,” Dan said. “Again, he had a great performance, controlling and dominating in the match. So, just special, you know.”

RELATED: Three different journeys, two-day state wrestling championship, one goal

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What better way for the returning state champion senior to cap off his high school career than to win it all over again?

The Larwin brothers both aimed to earn their first state title together and become simultaneous champions this year.

The thing about the state tournament is that most of these kids have the desire and aspirations to become state champions, and there can only be one. 

“When I got the fall in that match, I mean, I can’t really put that feeling into words,” Leif Larwin said. “It was just all the hard work I had put into this season and my entire life built up into one moment, and that one moment was when the ref slapped the mat.

For there to be one champion, there is a lot of heartache and a lot of other dreams shattered.

“His (Eric’s) weight class was one of the best in 5A, and he was able to make his way all the way to the finals, where he fell a little bit short and lost one position but won the rest of the match, and sometimes that just how it comes sometimes I guess,” said Leif.

“He gave 100% effort, and you know that is not always winning, but I still think he found success, “Leif said. “The last two years, he has placed 5th; this year, he was a finalist, which is a huge deal, and he just came up a little bit short, but I think he absolutely deserved to win, and I think that the only reason I was able to win is because of having him there with me every single day as my workout partner and my best friend.”

Eric and Leif will be in their senior and sophomore seasons next year.

They both attend to make another appearance at the state tournament again.

“We are going to train super hard and get Eric his state title because that is what he deserves,” Leif said. “We have freestyle and Greco coming up. We’re going to start training next week. We will take a couple of days off, but that’s it.”

Six Central Oregon wrestlers claimed titles at the Class 5-A state wrestling championships.

The Cougars finished with three champions: Aiden Nelmes, Scout Santos, and Jackson Potts.

They finished 6th overall as a team.

The Panthers had two champions: Joey Downing and Jared Ake.

Redmond took home the Bronze trophy.

Leif Larwin was the solo champion for the Lava Bears wrestling program, which is on the rise. 

Bend Senior High finished 8th at state.

You can find all the team wrestling scores 1A-6A here.
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