The hardwood floors of Warberg Court at Pendleton High were covered with foam mats Thursday as competitors from 14 schools descended on the gymnasium.
“Grab him and squeeze him and put him on his back!” Pendleton wrestling coach Fred Phillips exclaimed during a consolation round of grappling.
The Pendleton Buckaroos did just that, and better than any program save one at the Free-Berry Classic tournament where the Bucks took second place behind Crook County. Pendleton had three boys win weight-class championships, short of just Crook County’s four.
“I thought we wrestled a lot better this weekend than we did going into Christmas at the Adrian Irwin Tournament,” Phillips said. “A couple weeks ago ... some of our not as experienced guys were thinking too much about a big tournament. We talked to them and told them just to go out and wrestle and they did that pretty well.”