Pioneers make a strong showing; Gladiators make some noise

There was both good news and disappointment for local athletes at the 2014 OSAA High School Wrestling Championships, held Friday and Saturday at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum.

A large Saturday night championship-session crowd watched the West Linn Lions take a step towards putting their wrestling program back on the map, as the Lions finished second to state powerhouse Roseburg in the Class 6A team scoring, with six wrestlers placing.

It’s the first time since the Lions finished runner-up to Roseburg at state in 2007 that a West Linn wrestling team has brought home a trophy.

Roseburg, which qualified 22 wrestlers to compete at state, outclassed the field in the team scoring, tallying 272-1/2 points. The Indians advanced six wrestlers to the championship finals and five of the six won individual titles. West Linn scored 107-1/2 points, finishing 12-1/2 points in front of third-place Hillsboro (95).by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Oregon City senior Tanner Fischer (top) is frustrated after falling behind in his match with Roseburg freshman Haydn Maley in the 170-pound final of the 2014 Oregon 6A High School Wrestling Championships.

The biggest disappointment came in the finals matches of Oregon City seniors Devin Poppen (120) and Tanner Fischer (170). Both wrestlers had been ranked No. 1 in the state all season and they both fell just short of reaching their lifetime goals of winning state championships, losing close matches in the championship finals.

But it wasn’t all bad news for the Pioneers. Four of their six state-meet participants placed and their 69 team points earned them sixth place in the team scoring.

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Oregon City senior Devin Poppen (right) battles Westview senior Joel Timmons in the 120-pound final of the Class 6A High School Wrestling Championships.It’s the eighth straight year that Oregon City wrestling teams have placed in the top seven in the state. The Pioneers had their baest team finish ever a year ago, when they finished second to David Douglas. Oregon City teams tied for fourth place in 2010, placed fifth in 2012, tied for fifth place in 2011, and placed seventh in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

There was also good news for Gladstone, which like West Linn, has visions of returning its wrestling program to the glory days of the 1970s and 1980s, when the Gladiators were always in the thick of things in the race for the state team title.

This year’s Gladstone wrestling program had eight wrestlers qualify for state and three of them placed.

A first for a

wrestling family

West Linn had the only champion from Three Rivers League schools in junior 145-pounder Tim Harman.

“This means the world to me,” Harman said, following his 6-3 decision over Barlow junior Chandler Michael in the 145-pound final. “I wrote this as my goal in my little gold book and I looked at it every morning before I went to bed and every morning when I got up. It was constantly on my mind....

by: MATT SHERMAN - Tim Harman“It means so much to me, because I come from a wrestling family, and I’m the first state [high school] champion. My dad Todd Harman wrestled for the Naval Academy. He wrestled for Lake Oswego and he was third in 1988, but he never won a state title.

“My grandpa [Mike Harman] was a two-time All-America. He wrestled for the Naval Academy and was an Olympic alternate. He wrestled high school in Iowa and placed second, but he never won a state title.

“His dad [Spade Harman] was an Olympic alternate, but he never won a state title [in high school wrestling].

“My older brother Ryan placed second and third in 2011 and 2012, but he never won a title.

“I’m starting a new family tradition. I’ve got a younger brother Sean coming up and hopefully he’ll keep the tradition going. He’s a seventh grader, and he’s pretty good now.”

Harman’s win in this year’s state final was no fluke. The talented West Linn junior finished the 2013-14 season with a perfect 38-0 record in collegiate wrestling.

Other West Linn placers included: senior Cameron Schmitz (195), second; junior Ryan Anderson (160), third; senior Ellis Eaton (285), fourth; senior Noah Bagley (220), fifth; and sophomore Jacob Taylor (152), sixth.

“We should be a strong tournament team again next year,” said West Linn coach Doug Samarron. “I think we’ll have more than one state champion next year, and I expect to have as many placers, if not more.”

A wheelbarrow

full of hurt

Poppen’s and Fischer’s losses in their finals matches were painful for Oregon City coaches, as well as for the wrestlers.

“It’s not the way any of us thought they would go out,” said Oregon City coach Roger Rolen. “They’ve both worked hard for this since age 6, wrestling two practices a day between club and high school. They’re great kids and they come from great families. They’ve worked hard and it’s been their dream forever to be state champions. Not to have their dreams come true is truly painful for them and for us. But it was not for lack of effort....

“It was a combination of many things that worked against them. Being ranked No. 1 all season, they had a target on their backs; the coaches of opposing wrestlers did a great job of scouting them. Their opponents knew what to defend and Devin and Tanner could never get their game-plans going....

“Tanner lost to a Roseburg kid. You build up a lot of steam when you’re wrestling for a team that is going for the state title. When you’re part of a team that’s going to win a state title, you have that extra motivation to get a [individual] title too.

“It was a bitter-sweet ending to their high school careers. Devin and Tanner will go down as two of the better wrestlers ever to come through Oregon City High School. It’s just such a shame that their high school careers had to end with a loss.”

Poppen lost his finals match by 8-5 decision to Westview senior Joel Timmons; Fischer lost his finals match by 7-5 decision to Roseburg freshman Haydn Maley.

The loss was especially painful for Poppen, because this is the third straight year that he has lost in the state final.

“It’s not very often that you have a kid that makes the finals three years,” said Rolen. “The last Oregon City kid to do it, to the best of my memory, was Ryan Snigirev [first in 1999, second in 2000, third in 2001, and first in 2002] in 2002.”

Devin Poppen

the ‘Pinmaster’

Poppen leaves Oregon City high school with school records for career pins (107) and most pins for his freshmen, sophomore and junior seasons.

He finished the 2013-14 season with 22 falls, and an overall record of 32-4.

Fischer’s loss to Maley was no less painful. It was Fischer’s first loss to an opponent from Oregon this season. Fischer, who placed third at state as a junior, finished his senior collegiate season with 25 falls and an overall record of 34-2, his only losses to an opponent from Idaho, and to Maley.

Maley’s record as a freshman was 34-5.

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Michael GriffinOregon City nearly had another finalist in senior Michael Griffin, who wrestled up a weight at 182 all season, because the Pioneers had Fischer and senior Gabe Ellicott at 170.

Griffin placed third at 182, his only loss at the hands of Roseburg senior Max Hane by 10-6 decision in the 182-pound semifinals. Hane went on to defeat McNary senior Zach Hammerschmith by 12-6 decision in the 182-pound championship final.

Griffin bounced back from the loss to Hane with a 4-1 decision over David Douglas senior Thomas Ayala-Wooden and a 5-1 decision over Hillsboro junior Ty Cavender, to claim the third-place spoils.

Griffin, who was seeded fourth for this year’s tournament, also placed third at state in 2013.

“Michael wrestles Tanner in the practice room and the last two years he’s had to wrestle up, against kids who’ve outweighed him by 10 to 12 pounds.... He’s fun to watch, because of his non-stop motor. He never gives up. He’s always working to get that last takedown.”

Oregon City’s fourth placer was Ellicott. He finished sixth at 170, dropping a tough 6-5 decision to Aloha senior Maurice McSwain in the championship quarterfinals, losing to Crater sophomore Cavin Gillispie 9-8 in the third-place semifinals, and losing by 3-1 decision to Thurston senior Brandon Morgan in the fifth-place final.

“Gabe battled Tanner in the practice room but could never get that number one spot, so he wrestled second man all season,” said Rolen. “We looked at him as a darkhorse. If he’d wrestled on the other side of the bracket, I think it would have been him and Tanner in the final....

“Gabe nearly made the third place final. He lost his match with the kid from Crater in the last five seconds.”

Proud to be

a Gladiator

In Class 4A, Gladstone had a state finalist at 120 in senior Jacheal McMillon. It was the first time placing at a state tournament for the senior transfer from Washington’s Hudson’s Bay High School, who lost by major decision in his final.

“I wasn’t expecting this outcome at all,” said McMillon. “I had the number one seed in my second match, so I didn’t think that I’d make it to the final.”

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Gladstone senior Jacheal McMillon (top) did himself proud at last weekends state wrestling championships, knocking off the top seed and advancing to the state final. McMillon is pictured wrestling Crook Countys Kurt Mode in the championship final.McMillon won his first match by 6-2 decision over Stayton senior Jordan Taylor. He upset top-seeded Quinton Hook 2-1 in the quarterfinals, and followed that up with a 7-5 win over Cascade junior Logan Humphrey in the championship semifinals.

“I failed a lot of classes at Hudson’s Bay and I can’t thank the Gladstone community enough for supporting me and giving me a second chance,” said McMillon. “I needed to get my whole act together and Gladstone athletic director Ted Yates fought for me to get me eligible. I’m grateful to Mr. Yates and to [head coach] Michael Hess, who pushed me to work as hard as I can, so that I could be the best that I can be....

“I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and I hope I’ve made Gladstone proud of me....

“I’ll be a super senior next year, and I’m going to come back and give back to help the team get better. I’ll be in the room helping next year’s kids....”

“I’m very happy for Jacheal,” said Hess. “He’s got a tremendous work ethic. He was really dedicated to be the best that he could be. He had a great season! A great finish!”

McMillon is the first Gladstone wrestler to make a state final since Devon Renard earned state runner-up honors in 2010.

Gladstone had two other wrestlers place at this year’s state tournament. Gladiator junior Kyle Kintz earned fifth place at 132, and Gladstone senior Logan Good placed sixth at 182.

“I feel like I did pretty good,” said Kintz. “I wrestled a kid that I lost to at regionals and wrestled him a lot better. And I came back and beat a kid that I lost to in my first match and beat him in the fifth-place final....

“I’ve improved a lot over last year, when I lost my first two matches [at state]. Next year my goal’s to come back and win it.... I’m wrestling Greco and freestyle this year to get better.”

“Our program’s getting stronger,” said Kintz. “Last year we got four people to state and two placed; this year we got eight people here and three placed....

“If we can get more heavier weight wrestlers out, I think we could probably make a run at a team trophy [next year].”

Anderegg is

third at 220

Clackamas had three wrestlers place at this year’s Class 6A state meet. Junior Kyle Anderegg placed third at 220; junior Austin Brittle placed sixth at 126; and junior Zach Jett placed sixth at heavyweight.

Anderegg’s only loss was by 3-2 decision to Roseburg senior Tyler Kailiuli in the championship quarterfinals. He battled his way back through consolation and avenged the loss, beating Kailiuli 1-0 in the third-place finals.

Putnam junior Juan Hernandez was the only area wrestler to place in the Class 5A State Tournament.

Hernandez earned sixth place at 220, winning two of his four matches.

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