Baker’s wrestling team played host to Burns in a ‘friendly” match Wednesday, May 26, as the Hilanders didn’t have enough wrestlers for a regular dual.

Despite the small numbers, Baker coach Brandon Young knew the Hilanders, the reigning Class 3A state champions, would pose a big challenge for the Bulldogs.

“They don’t have many kids that came back, (but) the kids that are back are pretty hardcore wrestlers, so we tried to get it down to as many matches as we can match up against our kids, whether they were inexperienced or not,” Young said.

First to the mat for Baker was freshman Marcus Chamberlain. Facing off against an opponent he had lost to in the Ontario meet last week, Chamberlain was able to pin his foe late in his match. at 106 pounds.

Young said he’s excited to see how Chamberlain progresses.

“That’s a big turnaround, and the biggest thing is starting to get in a little better shape,” Young said. “I know we still have a little ways to go, and he is getting better.”

Junior Gavin Stone competed in two matches at 145 pounds, winning the first 5-1, wrestling against a Burns opponent at a higher weight class.

“It’s good for him to push himself and wrestle those kids who are at a high level,” Young said of Stone.

Junior Casey Vaughan at 170 pounds also went 1-1 on the day, with an exhilarating win in his first match. In the closing seconds, and down by a couple of points, Vaughan was able to retake the lead and win the match, 4-3. Young was proud of the heart that Vaughan showed on the mat.

“He’s a tough kid,” Young said.

Although Baker ended up with three match wins against the Hilanders, Young said he was proud of his wrestlers,

“They did great, and nobody really gave up, they fought and gave it everything that they had, so I was pretty proud of them,” Young said.

Results of Baker’s matches against La Grande on Friday, May 28 will be published in the June 1 issue of the Baker City Herald.

Young expected another battle against the Tigers.

“La Grande is going to be tough this year, they are loaded.”

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