ROAR: Lions nip Pioneers
West Linn matmen beat Oregon City, snap six-year win string
Two of the states better high school wrestling teams left it all on the mat on Jan. 15, as rivals Oregon City and West Linn battled tooth and nail in a Three Rivers League dual-meet showdown in Oregon City.
West Linn won the meet 37-34, but except for a gutsy performance by West Linn sophomore Tyler Self at 170, the meet would have ended in a 37-37 tie. Each team won seven matches.
Oregon City senior Tanner Fischer, the top-ranked 170-pounder in the state, stepped to the mat at 170 in the next to the last bout of the night knowing that he needed a fall over Self in order for the Pioneers to have a chance to tie the meet.
Tanner gave it his all and dominated the match. But try as he might, he couldnt get Self to put himself in a compromising position, and Fischer had to settle for an 8-1 decision.
That left the Lions up 37-28 with only the 182-pound bout remaining.
Oregon City senior Michael Griffin worked hard to earn a third-round fall over West Linn senior Roland Lester at 182 to close out the meet. But it proved too little too late, and the Lions celebrated the 37-34 dual win.
It was West Linns first win over Oregon City in a dual meet since 2007.
This means a lot, said West Linn junior leader Tim Harman. Its the first time since Ive been in the program that weve been able to beat them. We wrestled hard. We won the close matches and we got the falls that we needed to win this meet. When we wrestle like we did tonight, we can compete with anybody in the state.
Griffin explained why he worked so hard to get his fall over Lester after the dual meet was out of reach: Its Oregon City pride. Im a Pioneer and a Pioneer never quits on the mat, even if their team cant win the meet.... I love my sport and I love my town, and Ill wrestle my best for them any day.
It was a hard loss, said Oregon City coach Roger Rolen. But there was no one that didnt try their hardest. Well learn from this and well get better. We need to wrestle like Tyler Self did tonight. He knew what he needed to do and he did it. We need to work on trying harder not to give up falls and 4-pointers....
The last few years we lost really, really close meets with Oregon City, said West Linn coach Doug Samarron. This time we took what weve been practicing in the room and put it to use. We knew they wanted it and they were going to come at us, so we were ready from the start. We got bonus points where we needed to and we kept off our backs where we needed to. These guys are one of the most coachable groups Ive had in years, and I couldnt be prouder....
I know these guys want to win the league title. To do that, they cant dwell on this win over Oregon City. Weve got Canby in a week, and we cant overlook Clackamas. Weve got to learn and grow and continue to improve if we are going to be league champs.
It sucks being 0-2 [in league], said Griffin. But were young, and its something we can fix. For our younger guys, its mat time, learning that new move that might have made a difference tonight.
Every team has a down time, and were at the bottom now, so theres nowhere to go but up. I still believe we can contend for that regional title. Its going to depend on our younger guys putting in the time and continuing to improve. Guys getting in those third, fourth and fifth place matches and winning, so that we can score in double digits at regionals and take more kids to state. I believe we have the talent, its just mat time.
Last weeks West Linn/Oregon City dual was a slugfest all the way. The meet started at 195, where Oregon City junior Grant Hicks did himself proud in defeat, battling for all he was worth to keep West Linn senior Cam Schmitz from scoring a technical fall. Schmitz won by 15-1 major decision.
Next Oregon City sophomore Mack Civil picked up a huge win for the Pioneers, pinning West Linn senior Amani Grant in 1:00.
The two teams traded forfeits at 285 and 106, giving Oregon City a 12-10 advantage heading into the 113-pound bout between West Linn sophomore Ian Snapp and Oregon City sophomore Ryan Leonard.
Owning a 9-1 lead, Snapp upped the intensity in the final period, reversed Leonard and pinned him, putting West Linn up 16-12 in the team scoring.
In the next match, at 120, Oregon City senior Devin Poppen, the top-ranked 120-pounder in the state, appeared on a mission, as he dispatched with West Linn senior Joey Donovan in 3:29, making it 18-16 Oregon City.
Oregon City senior Andrew Moore came out the aggressor in his match with West Linn senior Alex Garcia at 126. But Garcia found an opening late in the first round and stunned Moore with a fall.
Oregon City junior Dennis Podloujnyi took charge of West Linn sophomore Cam Broberg as their match wore on at 132. But despite repeatedly springing Broberg in an effort to gain a major decision and bonus points, Broberg battled, and Podloujnyi had to settle for a regular decision.
West Linn sophomore Kane Snapp earned a huge win by fall over Oregon City senior Josh Smith at 138. Snapp was clearly the better wrestler, but it appeared that he was going to settle for a major decision, when he turned Smith with just 16 seconds remaining in their match.
Harman, the top-ranked wrestler in the state at 145, then put the Lions in the drivers seat, taking Oregon City senior Alex Canchola down to his back for a fall early in the third round.
With the win, Harman upped his season record to 22-0. The win upped the Lions lead to 34-21 with just four matches remaining.
Oregon City senior Wyatt Griffith (152) was all business in earning a 15-4 decision over West Linn junior Will Alvarado.
West Linn senior Jacob Taylor followed with a huge win over Oregon City sophomore Ethan Holt at 160. Nursing a 2-0 lead heading into the final round, Taylor took charge, upping his score to 7-0 with a reversal and 3-point nearfall.
Self then held off Fischer, and the Lions celebrated the hard fought team victory.
With the win, West Linn improved to 2-0 on the Three Rivers League season; Oregon City slipped to 0-2 with the loss.
West Linn entertains Canby (2-0) tonight; Oregon City squares off with Clackamas (2-0) on Thursday, at Clackamas.
Clackamas last week had an easy time of it in a dual meet with Lakeridge. The Pacers forfeited at eight weights, and Clackamas cruised to a 66-15 victory. Clackamas forfeited at two weights and lost only one match on the mat.
Oregon City and Clackamas both had their hands full last weekend, when they traveled to the Deschutes County Fairgrounds for the Oregon Wrestling Classic state dual-meet championship.
After defeating Tualatin 39-24 and Centennial 42-35, Oregon City met a buzzsaw in Roseburg, losing 67-7. The Pioneers then won only three matches in a dual loss to Hillsboro, before finishing the tournament with a win over McNary.
Roseburg went on to beat Hillsboro 52-12 for first place and the state dual-meet championship.
Forfeiting at three to four weights, Clackamas had a tough time at the Classic, defeating Tualatin 40-36 in a bonus match, after losing its other matches to David Douglas 59-7, Crater 43-30, McMinnville 50-22 and Barlow 39-36.
West Linn lost to Roseburg 59-9 in the tournament championship semifinals, after bouncing David Douglas 38-29 in the quarterfinals.
Oregon City had two wrestlers go undefeated in Classic matches. Wrestling three matches at 170, Fischer earned wins over Alvarado Pheland of Tualatin, Isaac Hartwick of Roseburg and Dylan Frasier of Hillsboro.
Poppen (120) defeated Vatche Naccachian of Tualatin, Seth Sherell of Centennial, Tommy Dill of Roseburg, Joey Rodriguez of Hillsboro and Jonathon Phelps of McNary. He wrestled up a weight at 126 in his match with Phelps.
Johnny Nguyen (120) wrestled three times for Clackamas and won his three matches, defeating Andrew Gamza of David Douglas, Alvaro Flores of McMinnville and Naccachian of Tualatin.
Gabe Llewellyn (126/132) also wrestled tough for the Cavaliers, going 4-0, with wins over Lionel Cruz of David Douglas, Ben Baldridge of Crater, Bailey Young of McMinnville, and Ben Jacobson of Tualatin.