Lions pin down state: wrestling wins state for the first time in history


Erik Daniels

Destiny Rodriguez, senior, at the state championship.

Wrestling accomplished winning the 6A state championships this winter and this was the first time the team has won a state title. Only 13 out of 40 wrestlers on the team competed at the state championships, and five out of those 13 won state titles. Those five included, Justin Rademacher and Destiny Rodriguez, seniors, Henry Dillingham and Charlie Spinning, juniors, and Oscar Doces, freshman.

The head coach, Kevin Keeny, and the assistant coaching staff received head coach of the year and assistant coaches of the year. 



This winter was Keeny’s first year being the head coach.. He has been coaching wrestling for 24 years beforehand. He wrestled in college at the University of Oregon and coached summer wrestling camps which is where he found his love for coaching sports. 

“I was working summer wrestling camps through the college and I just found a love for coaching sports,.” Keeny said. 

His favorite part about coaching the kids on the wrestling team was getting to know them as a person and not only as an athlete. 

“The character these kids have are just amazing, you know. We just have some amazing kids on this team,” Keeny said. “Their work ethic and their character. We just have some amazing kids on this team. And that this group is super, super special.”

Earl Ingle, senior, placed third along with teammate Spinning, who won a state title in their respective weight classes. 

“I would do anything for my coaches from a physical standpoint and it was a feeling of letting them down if you did lose, at least in my eyes,” Ingle said. “So it just pushed me to be as good as I possibly could be.” 

With 12 assistant coaches working alongside Keeney, the wrestling team is supported. 

“I think all of our coaches are great and they know exactly how to push us, and what each of us individually need to achieve our goals,” Spinning said. 


Ingle is a football player and wrestler. He is currently committed to Colorado School of Mines for football. He and the football team won the 2022 6A State Championship and are 2022 Three Rivers League (TRL)  champions. Ingle also won Co-Defensive Player of the Year along with first team outside linebacker. Ingle placed third in the wrestling championship and those points added to the teams overall effort. 

“[Wrestling has taught you] how to get back up when you lose,” Ingle said. “And it’s taught you that no one, no one cares about your feelings. Because everybody else is going through the exact same thing and nobody cares what you think, in that sense.” 

Throughout the season, Ingle had faced challenges, like making his weight class.  He thinks that helped him become a stronger person and a better wrestler. As a senior on the team, many other younger wrestlers, such as Ryder Sprague, freshman, looked up to him. 

When qualifying for the state championships, twenty-one wrestlers will automatically be put in the Oregon Schools Activities Association (OSAA)’s 24 person bracket in each of the 14 weight classes. Each league determines how they will select their allotted playoff spots.

PIL – 3; Metro – 3; Pacific – 3; Mt. Hood – 3; Three Rivers – 3; Mountain Valley – 3; Southwest – 3

The automatic qualifiers must be determined by Saturday, Feb. 18. Once the qualifiers are determined, the fourthplace finisher from each league will be “pooled” and a defined criterion is used to choose three more qualifiers.

“What was really special about our team is that guys who did not make it to state still show up to practice every single day,” Ingle said. 

Ingle finished in third this year. 

“I didn’t have the results I personally wanted, but just to be a part of the state champion as a team it still made it a lot better,” Ingle said.



The wrestling team only has one female wrestler, Rodriguez, who won the 6A Wrestling State Championship four times consecutively during her high school years. Rodriguez is the first female wrestler to achieve this accomplishment. Not only does she have success in high school wrestling, but she is also a part of the Under 20 (U20) U.S. World Team. 

“[Rodriguez is] unbelievable,” Ingle said. “Not only is she a great wrestler but she’s a tremendous person. She’s able to do one of the toughest sports and be the only girl doing it on our team which has got to be rough for her, I mean, she’s unbelievable.” 

Rodriguez has been in circumstances where she was the only girl on the team numerous times before, but that won’t stop her. Rodriguez has gained much earned respect from individuals being the only woman on the team. 

“A lot of times, people her age that get to her status, they think they know it all,” Keeny said. “[Rodriguez] walks in the room and she is an open book. She acts like it is her first practice every time she’s in the room. And that’s what makes her so great as she’s just always open to any coaching.” 

Rodriguez’s teammates note her humbleness in the face of such accomplishments, and how she continues to help her teammates in the process. 

“She’s an amazing teammate,” Spinning said. “She’s just a role model for all women wrestlers and young girls in the community you know of.”

Not only has Rodriguez made an impact on the sport of wrestling, but she has made an impact on others around her. Destiny will continue to wrestle at McKendree University in hopes to expand her wrestling career.