La Pine unsung heroes come up big in state wrestling championship, key in record setting titles
(Update: adding video, comments from La Pine wrestlers and coach)
'You don’t win a state championship with one or two of your studs, it takes an entire team.'
LA PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- For the first time in state history, La Pine is the boys and girls state wrestling champions.
Head Coach Aaron Flack is proud of his team for coming through when it mattered, especially the players who weren’t expected to.
“Wanting it and actually doing it are two different things so it was pretty incredible,” Flack said. “You don’t win a state championship with one or two of your studs, it takes an entire team. We had nine state placers in the boys division, all in the top four.”
One of those top finishers, senior 120-pound wrestler Mason Webb.
“All I had to do was show up and be the best on that day,” Webb said.
Webb has not seen a ton of success in his wrestling career, and only finished third at districts.
This weekend, he finished second in the state.
“It was pretty big for me, because before that, I was never in the finals,” Webb said. “It was a big time of the year to make that happen.”
Flack talked about how proud he is.
“For him to have the tournament he had and get into the state finals, he had to beat some pretty tough kids,” Flack said.
Sophomore 160-pound wrestler Tag Deluca had never been to state before, and was hoping to finish top three.
He took first place.
“I was happy to contribute to the team, a lot more than myself,” Deluca said. “I just really wanted the team to win the state championship back-to-back.”
Junior 170-pound wrestler Cache Montgomery missed out on States last year, and was not even seeded going into this year's tournament.
He made it to the finals, finishing second.
“It felt pretty good, because I pinned my way to the final, so I knew those extra points would help with the team. So being able to help the team along was a good feeling,” Cache said.
Senior 130-pound wrestler Julietta Leal moved to La Pine as a sophomore, and said the program strives for greatness.
“I'd say it's the best -- it's the best choice I’ve made,” Leal said. “I mean, I improved within a few months with these coaches that we have here. It's pretty good.”
She finished second in her weight class, losing by just one point.
However, seeing her girls lift the trophy for the first time made it all worth it.
“It means a lot -- I mean, we made history,” Leal said. “We all knew we had it in us. It was just a matter of who showed up mentally that day, and so far everybody did, and it's great to be a senior and accomplishing that with the team."