Joey Duncan

Baker’s Joey Duncan, top, finished third at the regional wrestling tournament last weekend in La Grande to qualify to compete at the state meet June 25-26.

Two Baker wrestlers were regional champions, and eight others also qualified to compete in the state meet with their performances in La Grande June 11 and 12.

“We had a good weekend, I would say we performed really well,” Baker coach Brandon Young said.

With 10 state qualifiers, Baker had the second-most, behind La Grande’s 16.

Baker’s two regional champions are juniors Gauge Bloomer, at 195 pounds, and Jaden Martin at 285 pounds.

“They just hammered everybody,” Young said.

Baker’s other wrestlers who qualified for state by finishing in the top four at regionals:

Second place

• Cole Hester, freshman, 126 pounds

• Jacob Mills, sophomore, 182 pounds

• Adrian Allen, junior, 195 pounds

Third place

• Joey Duncan, freshman, 106 pounds

• River Clark, sophomore, 113 pounds

Fourth place

• Marcus Chamberlain, freshman, 106 pounds

• Sage Darlington, freshman, 120 pounds

• Gavin Stone, junior, 145 pounds

Young said he was proud to have so many underclassmen get a chance to gain state tournament experience.

“Now all that they are going to do is motivate them to do even more and do even better, they get to go to the state tournament which is really going to help going into next season,” Young said.

Among the regional matches that stood out for Young was freshman Cole Hester taking on La Grande’s Landon Perry in the semifinals. Hester won by points in a match that went to overtime.

“He had to work for everything that he got in that match, he had some calls that kind of didn’t go his way, so just to stay focused and still be able to get it done was pretty impressive,” Young said of Hester.

Sophomore Jacob Mills defeated La Grande’s Jared Isaacson, the second seed at 182 pounds, to take second place.

“He started off actually up 5-0 in the first round, then the kid came back and it was a battle all the way till the end, it was pure heart all the way till the end,” Young said of Mills, who prevailed 10-7.

Baker wrestlers will have nearly two weeks to prepare for the state tournament, set for June 25-26 at Cascade High School in Turner, near Salem.

Young said he thinks Baker will have an advantage over some other Class 4A schools, which don’t have their regional tournaments until this weekend.

“I think it’s just going to be harder for them to hold onto their kids that long going into summer and school being out,” Young said. “I’m glad we did ours early.”

Fans won’t be allowed on the first day of the state tournament, but they might be permitted the second day.

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