West Linn's Sean Harman savors second wrestling title - briefly
From the outside looking in, you might think that West Linn's Sean Harman has nothing left to accomplish.
Harman made his recently completed junior season one for the record books, going unbeaten in the regular season, winning four straight matches to secure a third straight Three Rivers League district championship, then winning another five times in a row to claim a second straight Class 6A state championship and close his year with a perfect 44-0 record. Along the way, he became the first wrestler in West Linn history with more than one state championship.
But if you think that means Harman is done, if you think that means Harman is satisfied, if you think there's nothing more Harman can accomplish, then you've got another think coming.
And if you're on the mat opposite Harman and believe any of that garbage, he'll prove it to you in a hurry.
Here's just a bit of what Harman had to say, less than half an hour after winning the 2018 Class 6A state championship at 160 pounds and getting his first-place medal on Feb. 17 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
"Every year is a new year, so if you get complacent, you're going to get caught," Harman said. "I guess I start prepping for next year now. I'll take this week and I probably won't wrestle. I'll probably just lift and get a run in, nothing too crazy, but I'll make sure I'm mentally rested and ready to rock and roll for this offseason."
To be fair, Harman did say that he would take some time off to celebrate his second straight state crown. He said he might even have some pizza. But in typical fashion, he wasn't going to go wild in his post-championship meal.
"I'm going to go eat some pizza," he said. "I might even have a soda if coach isn't around, but I'll probably just have pizza."
None of this comes as a surprise to longtime West Linn wrestling coach Doug Samarron.
"Sean Harman is a special person," Samarron said. "Sean has a healthy self-image. He believes in himself (and) deservedly so. He's self-made."
While he still has a year left in his high school career, Harman has already cut a wide swath through Oregon wrestling.
As a freshman, Harman won the Three Rivers League championship at 145 pounds (pinning Canby's Jake Lowry in the third round of the finale), then wrestled all the way into the Class 6A state championship match before falling to Jefferson's Jasiah Williams.
He also finished second in the Rose City Championship, first in the Pacific Coast Wrestling Championship and second in the Reser's Tournament of Champions.
As a sophomore, he was even better, rolling to a second straight win in the Three Rivers League district tournament (he beat Newberg's Patrick Boulanger 5-3 in the 152-pound championship) and later, winning the 6A state crown at 152 (he pinned Century's Ty Simko in the title match).
Other sophomore year accomplishments included Harman's wins in the Rose City Championship and Pacific Coast Wrestling Championship, and his second-place finish in the Reser's Tournament of Champions (his loss there came to Roseburg senior Layne Van Anrooy, a wrestler won his fourth straight state title later that year).
Then came Harman's blitzkrieg of a junior year, a year that saw him beat every opponent who stepped on the mat opposite him for the 79 days of the season, beginning with West Linn's participation in the David Douglas Invitational on Dec. 1 (Harman both his matches by fall) and continuing to the final day of the Class 6A state tournament on Feb. 17.
Along the way, Harman won 44 times without a loss. He took first at the Rose City Championship, he took first again at the Pacific Coast Wrestling Championship and he took first in the Reser's Tournament of Champions.
At district, Harman was unstoppable, winning his first three matches by fall, then posting a 22-10 major decision victory over Newberg's second-seeded Oliver Myers in the finale, a win that secured his third straight TRL title.
He kept the accelerator mashed down at state, too, opening with a bye, pinning Reynolds' Joseph Mercado in round two, pinning Mitchell Sorte of West Albany in the quarterfinals, then posting a 16-6 major decision over Roseburg's Logan Folsom in his semifinal.
Those victories sent the top-seeded Harman into the state championship against second-seeded Century senior Josh Grant, a wrestler Harman had beaten 5-2 in the 2017 state semifinals. Harman proved he was ready for his third straight title shot, opening with a pair of first-round takedowns that gave him a 4-1 lead, adding two more takedowns in the second to expand his lead to 8-4, then adding an escape and a fifth takedown in the third period to win 11-5.
The key to Harman's unprecedented success at West Linn, Samarron said, is his combination of confidence, work ethic and unbridled talent.
"His self-belief is cemented with important traits," Samarron said. "Sean is very self-disciplined, has a positive attitude and is full enthusiasm about self-improvement. Sean embraces the adage, 'You get out of it what you put into it.'"
After all he put into it, after all his hard work and sacrifice, and finally, after his second state championship, Harman took a moment — a brief one, to be sure — like anyone would, to celebrate with a bit of pizza.
But unlike the rest of the world, that brief celebration was followed the next day by a trip to the weight room, a run, a return to the mat and new additions to his long list of goals.
While he clearly wants to finish on top of the state again as a senior, Harman has also set his sights on the future.
"I don't want to just wrestle in college, I want to win a national title," he said.