Perry Rodenbeck, Tyson Resko's march to the state finals, beyond
Wilsonville senior Perry Rodenbeck experienced a career altering setback last February. In the 152 pound state finals, Rodenbeck lost an incredibly close 7-5 decision against Redmond senior Mitchell Willett. It was something that motivated the then junior to begin a campaign back to the top spot.
"Last year when I was a junior I lost to someone who was probably quite a bit better than me at the time," Rodenbeck said. "I had a really close match, almost came out on top, and I was ranked fifth in the state tournament so just being in the finals was really good. I was a little upset because I had a chance to be a state champ, but it was like, 'Well I've got another year. I can keep working and make it.'"
After taking a couple months off to recover from a surgery on his thumb, Rodenbeck got right to work. In the summer, he was training with All-Phase Wrestling, a club with a location in West Linn. Rodenbeck spent several days each week training with the wrestlers at All-Phase, steadily honing his craft.
When the school year rolled around, the now-senior Rodenbeck was still actively engaged in club wrestling, and would practice with them even into the wrestling season.
"I was still club wrestling when school started," Rodenbeck said. "I was doing that all the way from when I recovered from my thumb surgery all the way to the state tournament."
Someone with a similar dedication to the sport of wrestling was Wilsonville freshman Tyson Resko. As an eighth grader, Resko also wrestled at All-Phase, and with a national team for Fargo. The club practices led Resko to pick up new techniques, but did not influence the lanky freshman's awkward wrestling style. Rather, it was his build that influenced his in match choices.
"I've always been really tall, and I wasn't really super good until about four years ago when I started picking up on things," Resko said. "That's when I learned the leg ride and all that. That's when I started to develop that style. It's also because I wasn't really fast, really strong, and I was kind of chubby back then, so I had to find something new."
As the season approached, both Rodenbeck and Resko toyed with different weight classes before settling on their respective divisions of 170 and 152 pounds. Rodenbeck wrestled up in weight at 182 for a meet before deciding against giving up size. Resko moved up in weight from 145 to avoid cutting any weight.
As the wrestling season got underway, the team experienced some of its best success to date.
The Wildcats finished second in the Northwest Oregon Conference tournament, 11th in the state tournament, and 19 district placers. Sophomore Isaac Quesada snagged third place in the 120 pound bracket at state. After working their ways through their own tournament brackets, Tyson Resko and Perry Rodenbeck had reached the state title match. For Rodenbeck, a chance at redemption; for Resko, a chance to make a name.
Ultimately, the two Wilsonville standouts lost close decisions in their matches. For Resko, it was simply a matter of giving up strength.
"Usually I'm faster than kids, and I felt faster than him, but he was just a lot stronger than me," Resko said. "Probably going to have to get my strength up. He was just muscling me around the whole match. I couldn't duck, I couldn't shoot, and he was just muscling me."
Rodenbeck however was not giving up any size or strength. To hear him say it, the moment got to him, and he got inside his own head.
"I think I hyped myself up too much for that match, and I got really afraid," Rodenbeck said. "When I went into the match, I wrestled more to not lose than to win. I didn't take enough risks during the match, and I ended up losing by one slim margin in the end."
"In the finals, I wrestled a way I hadn't wrestled all season," Rodenbeck added. "I was really conservative, didn't take any risks, and didn't do the things I'd been coached to do for years, which is why I lost the match."
While the loss was tough for the Wilsonville senior, his coaches had some sage words of wisdom for him post-match. Namely, this is not the end.
"My coaches said that they were still proud of me, and that they loved every moment of coaching me throughout my high school career," Rodenbeck said. "They said to make sure that this match didn't define me. 'You have a chance to wrestle in college, this is just a stepping for you. Don't let this one match hold you down for the rest of your life.'"
Resko was disappointed with his defeat as well, but realizes that there is a future ahead at Wilsonville where he can make another run towards a state title. While he would have like to capture four state titles, Resko will just use the loss as motivation in the title hunt for next year.
While Rodenbeck's time as a wrestler in the Wilsonville singlet is over, he does have his eyes set on more wrestling in the future.
"I'm leaning towards wrestling at Colorado School of Mines," Rodenbeck said. "Oregon State is backup plan at this point. I would be studying engineering, that's what I know for now."
With a group of seniors graduating, Resko, along with Quesada, Wyatt Miller, and Caleb Wilde, will be among the returning athletes to carry on the charge towards a state championship. For Wilsonville's freshman finalist, the grind continues right away.
"I'm right back to club wrestling," Resko said. "State is gone but nationals are right around the corner. Reno is right around the corner. Just got to keep wrestling, right?"