The Sandy wrestling team rallied past St. Helens to prevail in the final dual of the regular season.

by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Sandys Blane Hays checks the clock on his way to a first-round pin at 145 pounds. The Sandy wrestling team received an early scare from St. Helens on Thursday, but the Pioneers rallied in the middle weights with a series of dominating victories to capture a 49-25 win in the final Northwest Oregon Conference dual of the season.

“We knew they were tough and expected them to be competitive,” Sandy coach Larry Topliff said. “We like to start ahead if we can, but it doesn’t always work that way.”

Sandy fell in the first two bouts of the meet to slip into a 7-0 hole. At 106 pounds, St. Helens’ Tyler Cooper got by Sandy’s Edin Zepeda to win 3-2. Zepeda led 2-0 entering the final round, but Cooper earned an escape and a takedown to take the lead. Zepeda came close to tying it up with an escape, but ran out of time.

In the next bout, 113-pounder Donavan Morrell was on his back for the majority of the match. St. Helens’ Haidon Allen, who won 12-0, was on the verge of pinning Morrell for a full minute in two different rounds, but Morrell fought through obvious pain to stave off the pin.

Sandy’s Kyle Grahn earned the team’s first win at 120 pounds in overwhelming fashion. He recorded three near-falls in the match before winning by technical fall, 16-0.

Dakota Peterson made it two wins in a row for Sandy with one swift move in the 126-pound match. To start the second round, St. Helens’ Jose Silva elected to start in the down position. Peterson opted to stay standing with his hands on Silva’s back, essentially conceding an escape. When the referee blew his whistle, Silva stayed still, so Peterson spun around the front, flipped Silva on his back and pinned him immediately.

St. Helens’ Cody Jackson gave the Lions the lead back with a win by fall over Jonathan Morrell. Sandy took the lead back for good when Steven Patton (138 pounds) won by major decision (13-5) against Thomas Lavoie and Blane Hays pinned St. Helens’ Logan Carter in the first round of the 145-pound bout.

The Lions pulled to within two points with just six bouts to go with a pin in the 152-pound match, but Sandy won the next five battles to leave them in the dust. C.J. McKinnis , Jeremy Funk and Devin White all pinned their opponents in less than 90 seconds and Spencer Barnett won by major decision, 11-2.

Carlos Deker-Martinez (220 pounds) won by fall four seconds before the end of the second round against St. Helens’ Kip Beebe to cap the five-bout winning streak.

“When it got close, I think it motivated the guys that wrestled after that,” Topliff said. “When they have the mindset that they have to pin their guy instead just winning by decision, it makes them work harder and helps them to stay focused.”

View a photo gallery from the dual at

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