Clackamas' Noah Wachsmuth wraps up 6A wrestling 145-pound crown
Clackamas junior Noah Wachsmuth had dreamed of winning a high school wrestling state championship since he first started wrestling in the third grade.
On Saturday, that dream became a reality.
Wachsmuth overwhelmed Newberg's Taylen Reid 11-6 to cap an impressive run to the 145-pound title at Saturday night's OSAA Class 6A wrestling championships at Portland's Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
"I wrestled great today," Wachsmuth said. "I thought the final was going to be a little bit closer. The kid was pretty strong, but I'm happy it worked out the way I wanted it to."
Wachsmuth, seeded No. 2 at 145, had never been on the mat with Reid before Saturday, but he knew the Newberg senior had taken out top-seeded Michael Abeyta of McMinnville with a head-and-arm throw in the semifinals and wanted to make sure he didn't suffer the same fate.
"I was watching for that," Wachsmuth said. "That's like the worst move to get pinned with. I knew I had to wrestle smart and not give up any good positions. I mean, it's the finals and I just had to stay in good position the whole time."
Wachsmuth scored the initial takedown about 40 seconds into the first round, then turned Reid loose and took him down again to jump out to a quick 4-1 lead.
"As soon as I got two takedowns on him, I was like, 'Oh, I've got this,'" Wachsmuth said. "I could just keep shooting on him if I needed to, and I could choose both up instead of down if I really wanted to."
Leading 4-2, Wachsmuth scored a second-round reversal, then added a three-point near fall and a two-point near fall in the third round that extended the lead to 11-2 and all but put the match out of reach with less than a minute remaining.
Reid scored a reversal with 47 seconds left and then was awarded two penalty points after Wachsmuth was called for stalling twice in the final 22 seconds.
"After I was up 11-2, I was comfortable giving up a reversal because I knew I could stall out when there were only 40 seconds left," he said. "It feels great. I've been dreaming of this since I was 8.
Wachsmuth went 4-0 with two pins and didn't surrender a point in any of his matches until the final. He also became the first Clackamas wrestler to win an individual state title since Cody Mansur won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.
After a bye in the opening round, Wachsmuth faced Canby's Jake Lowry in the round of 16 and had a 2-0 lead in the third round when he took the Cougars' senior off his feet and onto his back with six seconds remaining.
In the quarterfinals, Wachsmuth edged No. 7-seeded Michael Murphy of Sprague 2-0 after scoring a reversal in the final 20 seconds of the second round.
Then in the semifinals, Wachsmuth had a 2-0 lead against Sprague's Nathan Quist and was in the bottom position to start the second round when he got a reversal that also took Quist to his back at 2:13.
"When the brackets came out, we thought Noah's first two matches might be the toughest matches he was going to see in the tournament," Clackamas coach Jayson Wullbrandt said. "That was the key for him. He had to be able to come out in the first two matches and perform, and I think that then set the tone for the rest of it.
"It was a testament to Noah of just being able to say, 'Listen, if I'm the best guy in the weight class, then I just need to wrestle like it and not be concerned with who I'm wrestling first or who got a better draw than me. I'm just going to wrestle the guy in front of me and then go to the next match and whoever is there, I'm going to be ready for.'"
Of Clackamas' seven other wrestlers to qualify for state, 120-pounder Ben Harvey and 220-pounder Cory Ewry were the only ones to reach the championship quarterfinals before getting bounced from the tournament.
As a team, the Cavaliers went a combined 13-14 and finished in 15th overall in the team race with 57 points, and third among Mt. Hood Conference teams behind David Douglas (fourth, 161 points) and Oregon City (11th, 66 points).
"I think all our kids were ready," Wullbrandt said. "As far as prep, it was as good of a two weeks as I've had to prepare kids to be ready to go. A lot of it now is going back over what they did and seeing the areas where we can improve for next year.
"That's one thing I like about the way we run stuff and the kids we have because I always feel like we come back that next year and make improvements. And as long as you're healthy and you're doing the right things, you feel pretty good that you're going to go back to state next year and make improvements on where you finished the previous year."