Tualatin, staying strong, gets 49-21 win over Tigard

by: DAN BROOD - ARMBAR -- Tualatin High School senior Blake Reser (top) looks to turn Tigard's Joey Stefani during their 145-pound match at last week's dual meet. Reser and the Timberwolves got the wins. TUALATIN — A large, enthusiastic crowd.

Your rivals facing you from across the mat.

And the spotlight is overhead.

What could make things better? How about an impressive victory?

Yeah, that will do it.

Just ask the Tualatin High School wrestling team.

The Timberwolves, behind what looked to be an inspired effort, battled their way to a 49-21 win over rival Tigard in a hard-fought Special District 3 dual match held Jan. 15 at Tualatin High School.

“That was absolutely fun,” said Tualatin senior John Whitaker, who won his 152-pound match by fall. “It feels good to be 4-0 against them (both individually, and as a team). We’re always fired up going against Tigard.”

“Tigard is always a good match,” said Tualatin senior Frank Giannone, who won the 182-pound bout by fall. “We worked hard to beat them. We came out strong and aggressive.”

Tigard moved to 1-4 in Special District 3 matches with the loss. Tualatin improved to 4-1 in district matches with the victory.

“They have some really tough kids, but I can’t enough about how our kids competed,” Tualatin coach Matt Hamilton said. “The hard work is paying off.”

“We were coming off a bad week,” Whitaker said. “So we wanted to come out with aggression tonight. We set the pace with our lower weights.”

Tualatin freshman Jaydin Roberts set the tone early for the Wolves, as he pinned Tigard’s Tarin Schneider in a time of 1 minute and 23 seconds in the match-opening 106-pound match, giving Tualatin an early 6-0 lead in the team score.

by: DAN BROOD - PINNING PREDICAMENT -- Tualatin High School senior Frank Giannone (top) looks to get a fall in the 182-pound match during the Wolves contest with rival Tigard.Tigard answered back with a win by fall at 113 pounds, but Tualatin took back the lead, at 12-6, when sophomore Trenton Thompson received a forfeit victory at 120.

The Wolves seemed to take control from there.

At 126 pounds, Tualatin senior Jeff Whitaker pinned Tigard’s Colin O’Connor in 3:07. Whitaker, with two takedowns, a reversal and a three-point nearfall, opened a 9-1 lead before getting the pin, which gave the Wolves an 18-6 advantage in the team score.

After a Tigard decision win at 132, Tualatin picked up another victory, as sophomore Ben Jacobsen posted a 15-9 decision win over Tigard’s Paul Nguyen in the 138-pound match.

“Benny got the job done,” Hamilton said. “I don’t think he won a single match last year, but this year he figured it out. He’s put in a lot of hard work.”

In the 138-pound match Jacobsen and Nguyen were tied at 9-9 going into the third round. But Jacobson finished the match with an escape, a takedown and a three-point nearfall to get the win.

In the 145-pound match, Tualatin senior Blake Reser pinned Joey Stefani in 1:38 to give the Wolves a 27-9 lead in the team score.

John Whitaker then kept the ball rolling for Tualatin, as he pinned Trevor Ellinson in 2:34 in the 152-pound match. Whitaker, with four takedowns and a three-point nearfall, held an 11-3 lead after the first round before getting the pin early in the second round.

“You have to get your six points,” Whitaker said. “I was just trying to help the team all I could.”

Tigard tried to rally, getting a decision win at 160 pounds and then a win by fall at 170, trimming Tualatin’s lead to 33-18 at that point.

But Giannone grabbed momentum back for Tualatin by pinning Tigard junior Bryan Baker in 4:20 in the 182-pound match.

Giannone and Baker battled to a scoreless first round. Giannone scored on an escape 22 seconds into the second round to claim a 1-0 lead going into the third round. He then pinned Baker with 1:40 left in the match to get the win, which upped the Timberwolf lead to 39-18.

“He’s a real good wrestler,” Giannone said of Baker. “I just tried to stay focused and execute. It was a nice win.”

At 195 pounds, Tualatin senior Luke Goessens pinned Alex Anohkin in 5:07 to boost the Tualatin lead to 45-18. Goessens had three takedowns and a pair of three-point nearfalls prior to getting the pin.

At 220, Tualatin senior Bryan Sobranis-Perez posted a 9-0 major decision win over Tigard’s Austin Goodhouse.

Tigard got a decision win at 285 pounds to make the final score 49-21.

And, while the Timberwolves celebrated the win over their rivals, they are hoping its just another step toward what they want to accomplish later on in the season.

“Everything now is practice for regionals and state,” John Whitaker said. “I think our team chemistry is better than ever this year. We’ve got a lot of potential.”

“We’re a close family,” Giannone said. “That really helps. We know we can count on each other.”

On Friday and Saturday, Tualatin competed at the prestigious Oregon Wrestling Classic, held at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond.

In pool matches to start the tournament, Tualatin fell 39-24 to Oregon City, 66-6 to eventual Class 6A tourney winner Roseburg and 39-32 to Centennial.

In fourth-place bracket matches, Tualatin defeated Lake Oswego 45-20 and lost 40-36 to Clackamas.

Reser had a standout tournament for the Wolves, going 5-0 for the event with four wins by fall.

Jeff Whitaker also went 5-0, getting a pair of pins and a technical fall victory. John Whitaker went 4-1 at the tournament.

The Wolves will be back in action tonight (Thursday) when they face Newberg and McMinnville in a Special District 3 double dual match starting at 6 p.m. at Tigard High School.

On Friday and Saturday, Tualatin will compete at the Reser’s Tournament of Champions, which will be held at Liberty High School. Action starts at 11 a.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday.

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