Portland High School’s Owen Guilford set a Portland record last Saturday afternoon. He became the first Portland wrestler in the history of the school to be a repeat state champion in wrestling.
Prior to 2018-2019, Portland has only had three wrestlers compete in the state finals twice. Ken Buckland won a title in 1990 and was a runner-up in 1991. Chad Guilford won a title in 1996 and was a runner-up in 1997. Jonah Lyon won a title in 2000 and was a runner-up in 2001.
Owen Guilford is the first wrestler to win two state titles, one as a Junior and one as a Senior.
Raider Wrestling Coach Mark Holdren said, “In addition, only Ken Buckland (4th, 1st and 2nd), and Adam Johnson (7th, 5th and 3rd), were three-time state medalists before Owen. Owen place fourth in his sophomore year, first in his junior year and first in his senior year.”
Holdren said, “Owen exemplifies the Raider Wrestling Pride culture of "Mental, Moral, and Physical." Owen had exception strengths in all three areas. Owen has shown his mental toughness by overcoming a variety of road bumps throughout his high school wrestling career. Last year and this year he came into season with injuries from the fall. He adjusted his mindset and move on. He also had the unintended stress caused by his family who also wrestled at Portland and were very successful as well as having the stress associated with being an undefeated state champion. Wrestlers seek out challenges and any one of his competitors would have loved to hand Owen his first loss. He was able to work through those hurdles and more not letting it change his goals or who he is. Owen's best stress reliever is to go out fishing and relax. He and his dad were planning to leave for a fishing trip the night of the state finals.”
Holdren went on to say, “What I like most about Owen is his character. He is well liked and appreciative and thankful for the things people do for him. His teammates and competitors respected his abilities and his friendship. He was the best wrestler in the room and he when he worked with the younger wrestlers, he was a great practice partner. After winning the state title this season a number of coaches talked with me about how great it was to have such a quality person win it all.”
Guilford’s off season focus and preparation were second to none. Holdren said, “Owen understood the physical expectations of being a state caliber wrestler. He worked hard in the weight room and running. He chose to attend technique camps and even went to JROB twice, which is the most intense wrestling camp in the country. He won the "Black Cap" award which is given to the very top wrestler at the camp. I have enjoyed coaching Owen during his high school career. He will be missed on the team next season. Winning one state title takes an incredible effort for an athlete. Winning two is just that much harder.”
Guilford’s hard work and dedication are not limited to the wrestling mat. He currently maintains a 3.7 GPA, is a member of Portland’s National Honor Society chapter and the school’s Captain’s Club.
He plans to continue wrestling at the collegiate level while he studies business. He has not made a final decision on which school he will attend just yet, but hopes to have a decision made by the end of the month.
Thank you to Pete Hoffmeyer for sharing this video of the end of Guilford's championship match.