Justin Hamilton leads as Wildcats build momentum entering postseason
Justin Hamilton didnt expect it to be so lopsided.
Indeed, the Wilsonville wrestling teams league finale against Milwaukie was nowhere near a blowout when he took the mat.
But Hamilton won by fall in dominant fashion on senior night, and his teammates followed his lead in a 51-24 rout.
I thought it was going to be pretty close, Hamilton said. This turned out way better than I thought.
The victory provided a powerful dose of momentum for the Wildcats, who wrapped up their Northwest Oregon Conference slate with a 3-4 record. They also defeated Putnam and Parkrose in regular-season duals.
Its now up to Wilsonville to channel that momentum as it prepares for the district tournament, which will be held Feb. 21-22 at WHS.
The top four placers in each weight class will secure berths to the OSAA championships, which are slated for Feb. 28 and March 1 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.
In the previous six seasons under coach Jason Milham, the Wildcats have produced 28 state qualifiers, including five district champions, as well as seven state placers and two finalists.
But the extent to which this years roster can add to those totals is guesswork even for Milham.
Some years you know youve got X-number of guys who you think are going to state, and I think the deal with us this year is that we dont know what that number is, he said. There are two or three who have a great shot to go, but there are another five or six or seven who right day, right tournament, right draw all have a great opportunity. This weekend should be a lot of fun.
For Hamilton, the district meet will likely mean another meeting with Sherwood rival Ryan Jurgens.
Last year, Hamilton defeated Jurgens 13-9 during the regular season before losing to him by fall in 5 minutes 14 seconds in the 195-pound semifinals of the NWOC tournament.
This season, Hamilton has lost both of his bouts against the defending district champion. He was pinned in 1:50 during a Dec. 6 tournament at Hillsboro-Glencoe, and he lost a rematch in 1:16 in the title bout of a Jan. 4 tournament at Portland-Cleveland.
My two run-ins with him this year havent been too good, Hamilton said. But I hope to see him at districts again.
Added Milham: Jurgens is a big, strong, physical kid, and so is Justin. For (Hamilton) to beat him, hes got to circle and move and make Jurgens work. Its a very winnable match. We know he can beat him hes done it. Its all about getting in the right mindset and taking Jurgens out of what he does. But weve got to get there first.
Hamilton demonstrated he was among the leagues best wrestlers in his weight class this season. He went 6-1 in NWOC matches, earning all six victories by fall.
He enters the district meet, which Wilsonville is hosting for the first time since 2009, on the heels of a dual against Milwaukie in which he and his teammates won eight of the 12 contested matches.
Heading into their conference finale, the Wildcats had reason to believe it would be tightly contested.
Their thrilling 35-33 triumph over the Mustangs last year came despite losses in the final seven matches, including a heavyweight bout in which then-freshman Tony Munoz avoided being pinned to secure his teams victory. This season, the teams results against St. Helens were exactly the same: 41-39 setbacks.
Wilsonvilles meeting with Milwaukie came just 24 hours after its tough loss to Sandy in a match that was postponed from Feb. 6 to Feb. 12 due to inclement travel weather.
But neither the modified schedule nor the 61-14 drubbing at the hands of the Pioneers dampened Hamiltons spirits.
I felt like we could definitely win this dual, he said.
Leading just 15-12 through five matches, the Wildcats pulled away with an impressive 36-0 run that included five victories by fall.
Hamilton started the surge by pinning Cody Neuhaus in 1:27. Fellow senior Sam Garrison (220) kept it going by putting Clay Bispham on his back, also in 1:27.
Munoz then defeated Jason Williamson by fall in 4:23, Mickey Cavello (106) beat the first-round buzzer with a pin of Jacob Elizares in 2:00 and Matthew Taylor (120) finished off Jacob Hickey in 1:13.
The streak also included a win by forfeit for Andrew Love (113).
We got a little momentum rolling, guys started getting falls and feeding off of each other and it went in a real positive direction, Milham said. It just came down to momentum. Things just started to roll for us, and its hard to stop momentum sometimes.
Three other Wilsonville wrestlers were victorious against the Mustangs. Josiah Day (145) defeated Justin Edwards by 11-4 decision, Austin Warr (152) pinned Mountain Witzel in 2:13 and Jakob Fulbright (170) ousted Todd Sjullie by fall in 4:47.
AT A GLANCE
Wilsonville 51, Milwaukie 24
Feb. 13 at Wilsonville High School
145: Josiah Day (W) d. Justin Edwards 11-4
152: Austin Warr (W) d. Mountain Witzel fall 2:13
160: River Meyer (M) d. Kevin Kielty fall :30
170: Jakob Fulbright (W) d. Todd Sjullie fall 4:47
182: David Ferguson (M) d. Blake Redmon fall 1:25
195: Justin Hamilton (W) d. Cody Neuhaus fall 1:27
220: Sam Garrison (W) d. Clay Bispham fall 1:27
285: Tony Munoz (W) d. Jason Williamson fall 4:23
106: Mickey Cavello (W) d. Jacob Elizares fall 2:00
113: Andrew Love (W) wins by forfeit
120: Matthew Taylor (W) d. Jacob Hickey fall 1:13
126: Dre Edwards (M) wins by forfeit
132: Jordan Ostrander (M) d. Tristan Greco 4-2
138: Chris Burton (M) d. Colin Cubbage 15-9
A look at Wilsonvilles seven NWOC duals:
Dec. 19: WILSONVILLE 66, Putnam 15
Dec. 19: St. Helens 41, WILSONVILLE 39
Jan. 15: Sherwood 48, WILSONVILLE 30
Jan. 23: LIBERTY 44, Wilsonville 21
Jan. 30: Wilsonville 38, PARKROSE 32
Feb. 12: Sandy 61, WILSONVILLE 14
Feb. 13: WILSONVILLE 51, Milwaukie 24
HEAD OF THE PACK
A look at Justin Hamiltons seven NWOC duals:
d. Putnams Doug Fry fall 1:42
d. St. Helens James Poland fall :33
d. Sherwoods Martin Layna fall 3:13
d. Libertys Jose Alaguna fall 1:21
d. Parkroses Kapree Murray fall 1:43
l. to Sandys Devin White fall 3:35
d. Milwaukies Cody Neuhaus fall 1:27