Regional champions Noel Hygelund and Gus Warren lead the Cougars into the Class 6A championships, which will be held Feb. 28 and March 1 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

TROUTDALE — Asked if he was still recovering from the knee injury that sidelined him for much of the season, Noel Hygelund shook his head.

“I’m back,” he said.

It would’ve been hard to argue the point.

The Canby wrestler admitted that the injury took a toll on his physical stamina and that that his cumbersome brace slows him down on the mat, but those factors didn't keep him from winning a regional title at the Special District 2 championships Feb. 21-22 at Reynolds High School.

Hygelund and fellow regional champion Gus Warren led the Cougars to third place in the tournament, where they tallied 212.5 points to finish behind David Douglas (268.5) and West Linn (240.5).

Hygelund and Warren are part of a state-meet contingent that also includes Alejandro Sandoval, Keltin Boykin, Drew Boyer, Alek Purtzer and Justin Cardinale. The seven athletes will compete in the Class 6A state championships Feb. 28 and March 1 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland after qualifying with top-four finishes at the regional meet.

Hygelund (152) received a No. 4 in his state bracket after defeating West Linn’s Jacob Taylor for the regional title.

The senior started the two-day event with three pins in a row against Gresham’s Carlos Lua-Pineda, Clackamas’ Luis Zarate and Gresham-Centennial’s Elijah Kue.

Hygelund then dominated Reynolds’ Bahr Trayhorn with a victory by 17-0 technical fall in the semifinals to seal an OSAA bid.

In the championship bout, Hygelund outscored Taylor 6-0 in the final round to secure a 10-2 major decision.

“I thought everybody forgot about me,” he said. “Earlier this season, I felt like nothing could stop me, and then I got that knee injury. I wasn’t sure what it was (at first), but I heard a big pop. ... I lost a lot of conditioning, but I’m getting it back up at just the right time.”

Warren (106), meanwhile, heads into the 6A meet with a No. 2 seed after storming through the regional bracket.

The talented freshman capped his performance with a thrilling 5-4 win over David Douglas’ Andrew Curry in the finals.

“I’m surprised,” Warren said. “I knew I would do pretty decent this year, but I didn’t think this good. At the beginning of the year I was kind of nervous, but I got into my groove halfway into the season and started doing a lot better.”

Warren won three matches in a row — all by fall — to reach the regional finals. He pinned Gresham-Barlow’s Zack Meza in 44 seconds in the first round, put Lake Oswego’s Hayden Hanson on his back in 3:10 in the quarterfinals and dispatched David Douglas’ Brandon Thai in 3:16 in the semifinals.

That victory vaulted Warren into the title match, where he earned two points by near fall in the third period to seal a victory as Curry worked for a late reversal.

Sandoval (285) nearly gave the Cougars a title trio but came up short in the finals, finishing in second place after a 7-4 loss to Centennial’s Michael McGuire.

Boykin (195) punched his ticket to the state competition with a third-place finish at the regional tournament. He also qualified for the OSAA meet as a North Marion junior last season.

Boyer (106), Purtzer (120) and Cardinale (132) earned state bids with fourth-place finishes.

Canby has earned 77 state berths since coach Jeremy Ensrud took the helm in 2007 but has not had a state finalist since 2011 and hasn’t had a state champion since 2010.

Those facts could help to explain why Hygelund, a third-place state finisher last season, tried to diminish the meaning of his regional title.

“It’s a good start for the rest of the season,” he said. “I feel like it’s my turn.”



6A Special District 2 championships

Feb. 21-22 at Reynolds High School (Troutdale)

Team scores: 1. David Douglas, 268.5; 2. West Linn, 240.5; 3. Canby, 212.5; 4. Clackamas, 198; 5. Centennial, 191; 6. Oregon City, 186; 7. Gresham, 148; 8. Barlow, 107; 9. Lake Oswego, 92; 10. Reynolds, 85; 11. Lakeridge, 25.5.



A look at the Canby wrestling team's OSAA qualifiers:

  • Gus Warren (106), No. 2 seed
  • Drew Boyer (106)
  • Alek Purtzer (120)
  • Justin Cardinale (132)
  • Noel Hygelund (152), No. 4 seed
  • Keltin Boykin (195)
  • Alejandro Sandoval (285)
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