Beavers Sign Three State Champs

June 11, 2003

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State signed a trio of state champions to wrestling letters of intent during the spring recruiting period, OSU head coach Joe Wells announced Wednesday. Joining the Beavers in the fall will be 141/149-pounder Clint Leonard (Post Falls, Ida./Lakeland HS), heavyweight Travis Gardner (Portland, Ore./Parkrose HS) and 157/165-pounder Neal Beaudry (Newberg, Ore./Newberg HS).

The three join 141/149-pounder Kyle Larson (Hermiston, Ore./Hermiston HS), who signed last fall, in OSU's 2002-03 recruiting class.

'It's a group that's pretty well spread over the lineup in terms of weight classes,' Wells said. 'They're going to help us immediately in terms of raising the quality of our workouts, and they've all got the capability to challenge the guys that we have starting. These guys will raise the overall level of ability on our team.'

Leonard won a pair of titles at national high school meets, and he placed fourth at the United States Senior Nationals this season. He was a three-time state champion in Idaho's Class 3A ranks, winning at 145 pounds as a senior, 140 pounds as a junior and 125 pounds as a freshman; he placed third at 130 pounds as a sophomore.

'He's a very good competitor,' Wells said of Leonard. 'He's strong, aggressive, and really excited about winning the close matches. He wrestled some really good competitors (at the Senior Nationals) in Cleveland and had some tough matches, wrestled some real tough kids across the country and went right down to the wire. Sometimes he won and sometimes he didn't, but he was real excited when he got it done.'

Leonard went 33-0 with 30 pins this past season, running his career record to 131-8. He was a four-time league champion for Lakeland before deciding to continue his career at Oregon State.

'It was the people, mainly - the coaches and the area,' Leonard said of his choice. 'It's really similar to home - really green.'

Gardner won the Oregon Class 4A state title at 215 pounds this winter, going 38-0 with 33 pins and also winning a league title. As a junior, he placed fifth in the state and second in the league; as a sophomore, he placed seventh in the state and second in the league. At this season's Las Vegas Invitational, he placed first in Greco-Roman and fifth in Freestyle.

'He's a big kid and a tremendous athlete,' Wells said of Gardner. 'He didn't have a lot of workout partners in high school, so he's kind of a diamond in the rough. He's going to grow; he's real tough and a real good competitor. He likes wrestling, he's a good student, he's a hard worker and he's determined that he wants to come here and make a difference.'

Beaudry won the Oregon Class 4A state championship at 160 pounds this season, going 34-1. He was a two-time league champion and also placed third in the league as a sophomore.

'He's kind of a journeyman,' Wells said of Beaudry. 'He's been in a tough room in a tough program, he's wrestled quite a few years, and he's worked his way into being pretty dang salty. He had a real close match in the (state) semifinals, he got way behind and he had the courage to come fighting from behind and tie it up, then went into overtime and won it in overtime. It shows he's got some character, some grit, some mental toughness - he wanted to be a state champ and he about had it taken away from him, then he did a good job and dominated things pretty well.'

Beaudry, who is considering studying Business at OSU, placed second in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman at the state level. In regional competition, he placed second in Greco-Roman and fourth in freestyle.

OREGON STATE WRESTLING - 2002-03 RECRUITSFall, 2002Kyle Larson (Hermiston, Ore./Hermiston HS) - 152-pound class as high school senior3-time state champion, 3-time league championSpring, 2003Neal Beaudry (Newberg, Ore./Newberg HS) - 160-pound class as high school senior1-time state champion, 2-time league championTravis Gardner (Portland, Ore./Parkrose HS) - 215-pound class as high school senior1-time state champion, 1-time league championClint Leonard (Post Falls, Ida./Lakeland HS) - 145-pound class as high school senior3-time state champion, 4-time league champion
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