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La Pine and Culver win state wrestling championships; 12 C.O. wrestlers take individual titles

Both La Pine and Culver hosted their championship matches

LA PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- This past weekend, La Pine and Culver were full of hometown fans watching several wrestlers and their teams win state titles -- right on their home mats. 

Senior Dylan Mann was one of three La Pine wrestlers who took home an individual state championship, and helped his Hawks earn a 3A state title.

“Being here in front of our home crowd, under our own lights -- it was just a completely unique feeling, and I loved being here,” Mann said Monday. 

The 3A championship was held at La Pine High, while Culver High hosted the 2A/1A championships, and Ridgeview High the 5A championship.

La Pine Head Wrestling Coach and Athletic Director Aaron Flack said having the championship in La Pine was rewarding, after a long year. 

“And to do it right in our home gym -- I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Flack said. 

Devon Kerr and Landyn Philpott, won at 132 and 120 respectively, becoming the first freshmen in La Pine’s history to win state titles.

“Off the mat, it was indescribable,” Kerr said. ”I achieved a goal that I’ve had since sixth grade.”

Philpott started down in his championship match, but ended strong. 

“Came back, and when I won, I was like, 'I just won in my home gym as a freshman' -- it’s pretty unbelievable,” Philpott said. 

Kira Kerr of La Pine was the only Central Oregon girl to win a state championship at the 135 weight class.

Culver High easily won the 2A/1A title in its home gym, with Noel Navarro, Kelin Abbas, Isaiah Toomey, and Wylie Johnson all winning their weight classes.

In the 5A finals, Crook County High senior Tucker Bonner won at 120, and Redmond's Junior Downing and Dylan Lee took home individual wins at 145 and 160, respectively.

Mountain View's Drew Jones won a 6A title at 138.

For La Pine, an 18-0 season ending with its third state title in four years, is something they’ve been building toward for a long time.

“And see that all that hard work -- it’s not just one season and four months, it's 10 years of hard work paying off,” Flack said.

Freshmen Kerr and Philpott are eying three more personal and team state titles in their future.

Even with some seniors leaving and the past two years of COVID taking its toll, Flack believes that's very possible.

“I know COVID has hit, and our mat club has dropped over the last couple of years. But we’re trying to build that back up, so we can keep that dynasty going,” Flack said. 

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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.

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