PENDLETON - Five Baker wrestlers placed in their weight class, and the Bulldogs finished 12th in the team standings Dec. 29 at the annual Free Berry tournament at Pendleton High School.
Sam Pearson (182 pounds) and Tyson Walton (285) each placed third in the varsity division. Brandon Zunino (170) placed fifth.
Heith Browne (145) placed second in the JV division, and Thomas Larsen (12) third.
"We had about three-quarters of the team practicing regularly over the break, which is pretty good," said Baker coach Brandon Young.
"You could really see the improvement in the kids that had been there."
Young said the big surprise was Walton.
"Walton is a rare type of kid. He's tough, works hard, and he listens to his coaches," Young said.
Walton is 6-foot-3 and 1230 pounds, wrestling in the heavyweight division.
"He can move a lot quicker than most heavyweights which can weigh up to 285 pounds," Young said. "I knew Tyson had improved since Muilenburg, which was our last match, but I didn't know how much.
"He's only been wrestling now for a month and a half, so we are bound to make a few mistakes. But he already has established his game plan and is going to make a serious run for the podium this year."
Baker travels to Joseph Friday and Saturday for the Jo-Hi Invitational.
Free Berry Tournament
Team scores - Crook County 234.5, Pendleton 181, Willamina 125, Culver 116.5, Burns 116.5, Riverside 93.5, Madras 92.5, Crook County JV 87, Mac-Hi 82.5, McMinnville 74.5, Walla Walla 61, Baker 54.5, Nestucca 48.5, Heppner 36, The Dalles 31.
120 - 3. Larsen, 1-2. 145 - 2. Browne, 2-1; Poe, 0-2. 152 - Lowry, 1-2. 170 - 5. Zunino, 4-1. 182 - 3. Pearson, 3-1; Zacharias, 2-2. 195 - Shaw, 0-2. 285 - 3. Walton, 2-1.