Cougar wrestlers fall to West Linn in TRL finale
This one stung.
The Canby wrestling team, competing in its Three Rivers League finale at West Linn on Jan. 25, had beaten the Lions three of the last four times they'd met — but West Linn was determined not to let that happen again.
The Lions did just that, winning the night's first four matches to grab a big early lead and carrying that momentum to a 47-27 victory over Canby at West Linn High School.
"It was a bit hard at first because I let (the slow start) get to my head a little bit, but once I got out there, I made it work," said Canby's Adam Marquez, who notched his team's first win with a pin at 132. "The coaches were telling us to be tough and everything and just get out there and get after them and make sure they know that we're Canby."
"I just went out there and tried to do my best," added Canby senior Harrison Kinney, who won by fall at 145. "It kind of (made me mad) that we started off losing so I just tried to go out there and get that one for myself and get some points on the board, just try to do my best."
With the win, the Lions improved to 6-1 in Three Rivers League action — their only loss a 48-32 defeat to Newberg back on Jan. 4 — while the Cougars fell to 4-3 in the TRL.
"We lost it last year when I was in eighth grade and I couldn't wait to be on the team and get us some team points and win the dual," said West Linn freshman Ricky Bell, who pinned Canby junior Jonathan Zuriaga — the reigning Three Rivers League runner-up at 106 pounds and fifth-place finisher at the 2017 Class 6A state tournament — in the night's opening match. "It was awesome."
"We went out knowing that this was going to be a tough match … (but) Ricky Bell especially showed out and our whole lower weights just got pin after pin and I was really proud of them for that," said West Linn freshman Cael Brunson, a winner by fall at 138.
Bell got the match started with a bang, rallying from an early 3-0 deficit to beat Zuriaga, the second-ranked wrestler in the state at 106. Bell got started with a takedown 54 seconds into the second period, then added two three-point near falls to grab an 8-3 lead. Then, in the third period, Bell took Zuriaga down 11 seconds into the round and pinned him 28 seconds later to give his team a 6-0 lead.
"I always try to start off the team as hard as I can so they have the momentum to keep it going and win the dual," Bell said. "I felt great. I started off a little slow, but I finished strong."
The Lions followed with three more pins in a row, with junior Kaden Goff stopping Canby's Nick Marquez in 15 seconds at 113, sophomore Daniel Wakefield pinning Ty Leder in 1:38 at 120, and sophomore Jack Wall rallying from a big deficit to stop Jordan Peterson 11 seconds into the third period at 126 to give his team a 24-0 lead.
Adam Marquez stopped the bleeding there for Canby, getting a reversal 48 seconds into his match against West Linn's Jake Heinonen, then pinning Heinonen just seven seconds later.
"We just needed to try everything we could not to get pinned and save as many points as we could," Marquez said. "Now, we're all just going to get back into the room and work really hard and try to make things work again, try to get things going."
Brunson answered with a pin of Canby's Josh Rowden at 138, getting an escape 40 seconds into their match, taking Rowden down 11 seconds later and pinning him 28 seconds after that.
"We didn't underestimate them at all," Brunson said. "We know we can beat the top-level people — we came so close to great teams like Newberg and David Douglas multiple times so we know we're going to have multiple people make it through at district."
But the Cougars answered with their best stretch of the night, winning the next three weight classes to cut their deficit to 30-21. Kinney got that run started with his second-round pin of West Linn freshman Cade Miller at 145, Jake Lowry made it two straight when he took a forfeit at 152, and Logan Doman capped it with a 5-2 decision over West Linn's Cole Peters at 160.
"I was hoping it would have sparked the other team members and get them going to get us some more points, maybe come back and win it, but it was a tough night for us," Kinney said.
The Lions made sure the Cougars got no closer, responding with four straight victories to put the match on ice, beginning with a 13-second pin by senior Taran Floyd over Kaden Boyd at 170, senior Steven Shelofsky following with a 15-0 technical fall win over Michael Clark at 182, senior Brett Bell making it three straight by beating Sam Shuey 2-1 at 195, and senior Tyler Good boosting his team's lead to 47-21 when he beat Stephen Rue 3-2 at 220.
Canby's Kyler Boyd ended the night with a second-round pin of junior Brian MacClanathan at 285 for the final 47-21 margin.
"I loved seeing the lower weights step up to how I know they can wrestle," Bell added. "They have a lot of potential and they showed it tonight."
Next up, West Linn and Canby will both participate in the Three Rivers League District Tournament at 2 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday at Tualatin High School.