Scott Michael Germany takes third, Cheyenne McCoy second.

Veterans Memorial Coliseum, in Portland, was packed on Friday and Saturday for the OSAA 2014 Wrestling State Championships. Hundreds of wrestlers from dozens of schools pit themselves against each other on 12 mats. In the stands, hundreds of family members screamed and cheered, and the names of wrestlers from Molalla High School and Colton High School could be heard among the ruckus. Not only were there hundreds and hundreds of fan spectators, but college and military recruiters eyed matches from the sidelines. Needless to say, the pressure for the wrestlers down on the mat was extremely high.

Colton's results

Viking Scott Michael Germany finished third in the 220 pound 3A division. He took a loss in round one, but he went into the consolation bracket fighting.

by: CORY MIMMS - Colton's Scott Michael Germany, who took third in the 3A division at 220 pounds, preps for his first match.On day two of the tournament, “Scott wrestled really, really well,” Colton Wrestling Coach Kerry Benthin said.

Colton was slotted to take five wrestlers to state, but Tony Hayes got sick and the doctors wouldn’t clear him to compete, Benthin said.

Along with Germany, Colton’s Cheyenne McCoy took second in the girls’ tournament. McCoy qualified for both state tournaments, but had to choose which she would wrestle in. She chose to wrestle in the girls-only bracket, Benthin said.

As for Gabe Babcock and Nico Cantelon, neither found the momentum they needed to place at state.

“It’s a huge amount of pressure,” Benthin said, particularly for Colton’s kids as “they don’t have the mat experience as the top-notch boys, who wrestle year round and have since they were little kids.”

But Colton’s mat club and junior high program is helping to improve the kids’ chances of state qualification. “They’re very important programs,” Benthin said. “They give the kids the opportunity to get experience.”

But the biggest thing for wrestlers to remember when they step onto the state championship mats, Benthin said, is to “keep things in perspective.” That means looking at how many years they’ve been wrestling and how far they’ve come in that time.

Reaching the state tournament is impossible without that perspective, and without the dedication to train and practice hard so that as individuals they can look back and know it was their training that got them to the state level.

But the athletes don’t do it alone. “It’s not just the kids, but the whole family is involved,” Benthin said. “Family and community support is a major contributor to their confidence.”

“We got good kids,” Benthin said. “They’ve been great to coach … they’re eager to learn.” That helps because wrestling takes a lot of training to become even mildly competitive.

“We train pretty hard,” Benthin said. “The level of commitment and training scares some kids off.”

The sport itself is also extremely physical. “It’s a flat-out fight for six minutes,” Benthin said. “It’s tough to convince kids to compete because they have to work so hard,” Benthin said. “And freshman kids take their lumps … There’s always a loser walking off the mat.”

But, the community exposure and family support is what drives the younger kids to join the team, Benthin said. And excelling can pay off in major ways.

“There’s college scouts walking around here,” Benthin said, of the state tournament. “[College scouts] don’t come to 3A meets.”

But a spot at state is a chance to show off talents for wrestlers who are good.

“[Many of the wrestlers from Colton] don’t believe that they can go on to compete in college, but they can,” Benthin said. “As a coach, it’s tough to convince kids of that.”

3A team scores

Colton took 20th with 18.5 points.

Top six 3A schools

1. Glide: 182.5 points

2. Vale: 167 points

3. Rainier: 151 points

4. Dayton: 117.5 points

5. Riverside: 112 points

6. Illinois Valley: 108.5 points

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