The celebratory post-match backflip was the only thing Logan Pine didn’t execute to perfection.
The Olympia High School junior failed to cleanly stick the landing. Outside of that, however, everything else Pine did on the mat was flawless.
In a two-day tournament chalk-full with champions, Pine may have been the most impressive as he pinned two-time Oregon state titlist Connor Noonan of Henley to capture the 138-pound crown at the second annual Gut Check Wrestling Challenge on Saturday at The Evergreen State College.
“I was thinking about this match the moment the semifinals were over. A lot of people came up to me and told me (Noonan) was a two-time state champion,” said Pine, who finished fifth at last year’s 138-pound class in the 4A state tournament. “I thought it was going to be a close match, go right down to the end. Someone was going to win it 3-2 or 4-3. It’d be close.”
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As it turned out, Pine was way off, pinning Noonan in 55 seconds — one of only two finals to end with a pin.
“He seemed to push the pace at the beginning,” Pine said.
Near 35-second mark, Pine caught Noonan, Oregon’s top-ranked 138 pounder who entered the championship match with a record of 21-1, in a quick arm spin, shoulder throwing his opponent to the mat.
Noonan was able to escape from the near-fall, but it only briefly delayed the outcome as Pine quickly took his opponent down again, resulting in the pin.
“When he got the escape I saw he was still on his knees,” Pine said. “I went right after him.”
Upon leaving the mat, Pine was swarmed by several other local wresters and was congratulated by tournament director Marc Kaye.
“Don’t let this go to your head,” Kaye told Pine while the two shook hands.
Of course, a win like this certainly won’t hurt one’s ego.
“This is definitely a confidence boost,” Pine said about winning the invite-only tournament.
Despite its young status, the tournament is already growing in prestige.
“We had 27 wrestlers participate here last year that went on to win a state title,” Kaye said. “We think that number is only going to grow.”
One of those who parlayed his Gut Check Challenge title to a state championship last year was Rochester’s Lucas Eastman, last season’s 1A state champion in the 152-pound division.
Eastman became the tournament’s first two-time winner, defeating Mason McDaniel of Juanita, 8-3, in the 160-pound final.
“I lost to him at the Tri-State Wrestling Tournament (in Coeur d’Alene) last month. So it’s nice to pick up this win,” Eastman said. “It seems all the top-tier tournaments are on the eastside of the mountains. It’s great to have one so close to home. This is probably a tougher tournament to win than state.”
Moments after Eastman won, East Valley of Spokane’s Trey Meyer (21-2) joined him as back-to-back tournament champions by winning the 152 division with a victory over Peninsula senior Zach Goddard.
University of Spokane took home the overall team title, while Oregon schools Hermiston and Henley finished second and third, respectively.
The Titans lone champion was in the 285-pound class from nationally ranked senior Tate Orndorff, an Oregon State signee. He beat Forks’ Miguel Morales, the defending tournament champion in the division who placed third in the 285-pound 1A state championship.
While upperclassmen were adding to their high school rèsumès, Tumwater’s Cy Hicks is just beginning to build up. The freshman finished fourth in the stacked 285 division.
“At first I was pretty intimidated when I saw who was in my bracket,” said Hicks, who also saw significant varsity time at defensive tackle this past season for the Thunderbirds football team. “Once I got out there and stopped thinking about everything and started wrestling I got comfortable pretty quick.”
Hermiston had two champions in Andrew Wagner (126 pounds) and Sammy Shields-Colbray (195), while 145-pound Matt Iwicki of Henley became the third Oregon wrestler to win a championship.
Andrew Ramirez of Lakes improved his record to 26-0 by winning the 132-pound title.
Rounding out the list of champions: Union’s Ethan Rotondo (106), Colville’s T.J. Baum (113), Liberty Bell’s (Oregon) Trent Skelton (120), Anacortes’ Aaron Tisinger (182), British Columbia’s Nolan Badovinac (170) and Evergreen of Vancouver’s Dallas Goodpaster (220).
Tumwater’s Sam Richards (195) finished third, while Yelm had a pair of third-place finishers in Mason Harrison (106) and James Rodeman (160).