Jordan Anderson didn’t mince words when it came to describing Riley Gurr.
“He’s a freak. There is no one like him,” the Kamiakin wrestling coach said of his 113-pounder. “He works his butt off.”
All of Gurr’s hard work paid off. The sophomore won the Class 3A 113-pound state title and finished the season 45-0. He did not get taken down all season, finished with 32 pins and gave up just one point at the state tournament.
“It’s fun, and it’s a job,” said Gurr, who was named the Herald’s All-Area Wrestler of the Year. “The coaches keep me in check. They make sure I have fun, but let me know when to be serious.”
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The first team includes seven state champions. Along with Gurr are Sunnyside’s Jacob Mendoza (120), Hermiston’s Andy Wagner (126), Valen Wyse (152), Bob Coleman (182) and Sam Colbray (195) and Richland’s Nic Workman. Colbray finished his Hermiston wrestling career with four Oregon 5A state titles.
Rounding out the first team are Austin Almaguer (106) of Kamiakin, Noah Reyes (132) of Richland, Jake Covington (138) of Pasco, Alex Ramos (145) of Kennewick, Reese Jones (160) of Othello, Brock McDonough (170) of Hermiston and Levi McBride of Chiawana.
Anderson was named Coach of the Year.
When Gurr found out he’d won the award, he was speechless for a moment. Once he found his words, he was appreciative.
“That is pretty cool,” he said. “I didn’t even know this existed.”
Well, it does. And Gurr certainly earned the honor.
“He never started wrestling until the sixth grade,” Anderson said. “The amount of work he puts in on a daily basis and in the offseason speaks to his work ethic.”
For Gurr, it comes down to one simple thing: “I hate to lose,” he said. “Mentally, I feel there is no way anyone should take me down.”
After breezing through the Mid-Columbia Conference season wrestling from 113 pounds up to 126, Gurr sailed through districts, pinning Hanford’s Glenn Siekawitch in 54 seconds to win his second district title.
At regionals, he pinned his first two opponents in the first round, beat Ryan McGhee of Kelso 7-0 in the semifinals, then topped Kelso’s Bryce Miller 7-1 in the championship match.
When it came time for state, Gurr went into overdrive.
He pinned his first opponent in 46 seconds, beat the next guy 11-0, then faced McGhee again, winning 7-1 in the semifinals.
In the championship match, he needed just 35 seconds to pin Clayton Gilliam of North Central.
Gurr said he owes a lot to Almaguer, the Braves’ freshman 106-pounder, in helping him prepare for matches.
“With Austin there every night, I get challenged,” Gurr said. “I didn’t have that last year. That was a big part of my season. We were there for each other. We’re best friends.”
While a lot of wrestler have moved on to spring sports or sessions in the weight room, Gurr still is on the mat.
“I thought about track, but I’m going to stick with wrestling,” he said. “My goal is to make the world team and win a national title.”
Having a room full of dedicated wrestlers is something Anderson is getting used to.
“We had a problem filling out the lineup until a couple of years ago,” Anderson said. “ We’ve been working with the football team to get some of those players out.”
This season, Gurr and heavyweight Nick Little (second-team All-Area) won state titles, Almaguer was third and the Braves finished fifth in the 3A team race.
“It was a very rewarding year,” Anderson said. “I’m thankful for everything that has happened. We were able to stay healthy, and we have a great support system. It’s more them (the wrestlers) than me. It’s a combination of their work ethic and me leading them down the path. And I have a phenomenal coaching staff; they put in a ton of work.”
Gurr appreciates all that Anderson has brought to the program.
“He’s shown me quite a bit of stuff and is a positive influence in my life,” Gurr said.
Tri-City Herald All-Area wrestlers
106: Austin Almaguer, fr., Kamiakin. 113: Riley Gurr, so., Kamiakin. 120: Jacob Mendoza, sr., Sunnyside. 126: Andy Wagner, sr., Hermiston. 132: Noah Reyes, sr., Richland. 138: Jake Covington, sr., Pasco. 145: Alex Ramos, jr., Kennewick. 152: Valen Wyse, jr., Hermiston. 160: Reese Jones, jr., Othello. 170: Brock McDonough, sr., Hermiston. 182: Bob Coleman, sr., Hermiston. 195: Sam Colbray, sr., Hermiston. 220: Levi McBride, sr., Chiawana. 285: Nic Workman, sr., Richland.
106: Jose Campos, fr., Sunnyside. 113: Liam Tarvin, sr., Hermiston. 120: Mikael Failor, fr., Southridge. 126: Aristotle Rockwell, jr., Riverside. 132: Jonathan Miranda, jr., Chiawana. 138: C.J. Hendon, jr., Hermiston. 145: Sione Halo, fr., Kamiakin. 152: Bryce Buckley, sr., Chiawana. 160: Corey Johnson sr., Chiawana. 170: Zayid Al-Ghani, jr., Southridge. 182: Isaac Lovato, jr., Richland. 195: Anthony Ruiz, sr., Othello. 220: Noel Orozco, jr., Connell. 285: Nick Little, sr., Kamiakin.
Best of the rest
106: Miguel Andrade, jr., Kiona-Benton. 113: Elias Romero, jr., Sunnyside. 126: Alejandro Cardenas, sr., Othello; Abraham Medina, jr., Royal. 138: Emilio Ramos, so., Kennewick. 145: Patrick Workman, fr., Richland. 170: Zach Borisch, jr., Kamiakin. 195: John-Henry Line, jr., Hermiston; Kameron Silvers, sr, Chiawana.