Parents proud of their sons as Wrestling defeats Cal Poly 21-10


Lily Middleton

Oregon State redshirt-senior 133-pound wrestler Devan Turner posing with family, friends, and teammates on his senior night in Gill Coliseum on Feb 4, 2022. Turner won his last match inside Gill by a score of 9-3, and the Beavers defeated the Cal Poly mustangs by a score of 21-10.

Hannah Mitchell, Sports Contributor

5 seniors wrestlers were recognized Friday night as the Oregon State Beavers defeated the California Polytechnic University Mustangs by a score of 21-10 inside Gill Coliseum.

Those 5 wrestlers included redshirt-senior 133-pound wrestler Devan Turner, redshirt-junior 157-pound wrestler Hunter Willits, redshirt-junior 141-pound wrestler Grant Willits, graduate heavyweight Gary Traub, and graduate 149-pound wrestler Cory Crooks.

Turner, who defeated his opponent Abe Hinrichsen by a score of 9-3, described the night as “bitter sweet,.”  Both of Turner’s parents were in attendance to watch their son’s final time competing in Gill Coliseum.

“We started a journey together when he was 5 years old,” said Fred Turner, father of Devan Turner. “I took him to a wrestling match, It feels really good to see him have his own journey, take something, fall in love with it, stick with it, and accomplishing things with it.”

From his six years at Oregon State, Turner’s biggest take away is through adversity to “control what you can control.”  This is something that Darnisha Kittling-Theard, Devan Turner’s mother noticed as well. She said, “He is such a leader, an overachiever and such a great role model to so many.”

Although they are seniors, the Willits brothers are unsure of whether or not they’re time is up at Oregon State. “With the whole [COVID-19]  year ,I could come back for one more year, so I have those emotions playing with me. So theoretically, it could not be my last home dual.” Grant Willits said. Willits won his match against Lawrence Saenz by a score of 5-3.

His brother, Hunter Willits, who won his match against Brawley Lamer by a score of 6-0, echoed the same sentiment, “I’m glad that my parents came down because if it is my last one they wanted to be here. So I’m glad that they were able to come down.”

Grant and Hunter Willits’ parents were also grateful to be in Gill and very proud of their sons being seniors.

“I would love for them to come back and wrestle another year, but getting that engineering degree is huge for us.” said father Rick Willits.

Their mother Bonnie Willits said that it’s a different, and sometimes a “nerve racking” experience with two of her sons on the team, as the Willits also have an older son who wrestled for a different college.

“It’s exciting because you get one done and then you’re like: okay let’s go!” she said.

Both the Willits brothers are receiving degrees in mechanical engineering with minors in aerospace engineering. When asked about what they learned most from his time at Oregon State, Hunter Willits said “definitely the grind, the grind in academics, the grind in wrestling.”

Grant Willits agreed that along with the culture of his team, “Something I won’t ever forget is staying up the majority of nights working on homework because academics always had to get done.”

“I love the crowd here. The fans are amazing. They show up everytime we compete. There is no environment like here in Corvallis. I’m sad to be leaving.” said Grant when reflecting on his potential last match in Gill.

Senior night included parents seeing their children come into their own on and off the mat. Fred Turner admitted that his son Devan, “became his own person; he has taught me some stuff.”

Bonnie Wilits said, “When you send them off to school, they seem grown up but when you come back and you see them, they are just adults. They’re so polite and so appreciative of everything we do for them it’s just nice.”

Hunter Willits also felt like he grew up during his time at Oregon State, saying, “You’re technically an adult at 18. But I came in feeling like a kid and definitely [left] like I know who I am and I know what I want to do.” Hunter stated that after his time at Oregon State, he plans on moving back to Colorado and using his mechanical engineering degree.

Grant’s plans are more up in the air when it comes to location, but with the same goal of using his engineering degree. Rick Willits said that “Grant absolutely loves it to the tens and he loves it here (in Corvallis).”

When asked about his future plans Turner is looking to the Olympic Games 2024, however it was clear that, “the season’s not done, that was just the last dual, still got PAC-12 [championships], still got [the national championships]…got to finish out the season strong.”

Oregon State will be on the road for their next two duel meets, taking on the California State University  Bakersfield Roadrunners on Feb. 19, and the Stanford University Cardinal on Feb. 20. After that, the Beavers will travel to Tempe, Arizona for the PAC-12 wrestling championships on March 6.

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