The Pioneers won nine of 13 matches and scored a 45-27 Three Rivers League win Thursday over the Tigers at Tigard High School

PAMPLIN MEDIA: JIM BESEDA - Oregon City's Chris Tyler presses his forehead to the mat as he pins Tigard's Cruz Hernandez at 2:46 in the 120-pound match at Thursday's Three Rivers League wrestling dual at Tigard High.Oregon City High School's wrestling team went into the holiday break on a high note.

The Pioneers used pins by Chris Tyler at 120 pounds, Sage Brown at 126, Austin Nekvapil at 145, Austin Canchola at 160, Barrett Bicha at 170 and K.C. Walton at 195 as they rolled to a 45-27 Three Rivers league dual win Thursday over the Tigard Tigers at Tigard High School.

Oregon City also picked up wins with Henry Villarreal at 152, Dawson Drews at 182, and Lane Marshall at 285, coming out on top of nine of the 13 contested weight classes overall.

The Tigers won four of the first six weight classes, including a forfeit at 113, but the Pioneers countered with wins in seven of the final eight bouts to win the dual going away.

"It went the way that I hoped it would," Pioneers coach Bobby Bates said. "I knew Tigard had some tough guys, but I also knew that we matched up a little bit better in some spots."

Oregon City trailed 21-12 when Nekvapil, the Pioneers' freshman, took the mat against Tigard's Nehemiah Demisse at 145. Demisse scored the initial takedown, but Nekvapil came back with an escape, a takedown, and a two-point near fall to close out the first round, and then Nekvapil got a reversal before putting Demisse on his back 32 seconds into the second round.

At 152, Villarreal rode a takedown in the first round and an escape and a takedown in the second round to a 5-1 decision over Tigard's Jordy Mendez that tied the dual score at 21-21.

Next up, Canchola had a 4-0 lead over Tigard's Cody Coppinger heading into the second round at 160 when he scored a reversal off the opening whistle and then rolled Coppinger onto his shoulders to end it at 2:19.

"I didn't really know what to expect, because I'd never seen him before," Canchola said. "I just kind of cleared my head before the match and then just went out and wrestled.

"After I reversed him, I was leg riding him and then I put him on his hip. His arm popped open and I threw the half in and I stacked him."

That gave Oregon City a 27-21 lead in the match and the Pioneers piled it on after that.

"I kind of thought that was going to happen," Canchola said. "Our lighter weights are just young, but once we hit 152, I just knew from there on our guys were going to do good. And then once we got the lead, I was like, 'Alright, we're going to win this.'"

Of all the matches, which ones stood out?

"I thought everybody wrestled very well, but I'll call out a couple of our freshmen," Bates said. "Chris Tyler at 120 I thought wrestled phenomenal. He does excellent things on the bottom, he got a huge pin for us there, and helped set the tone for the rest of the dual.

"And then another freshman at 145, Austin Nekvapil, getting another huge pin. He wrestles so well out of that front headlock or that chin-and-lat position and just wears his opponents down. He does some good things from there and that was good to see."

Oregon City was at less than full strength Thursday, missing first-liners Emma Baertlein at 106, Spencer Townsend at 138, and Mannix Perry at 170, so the holiday break seems to have come at an opportune time for the Pioneers.

"Our guys need to rest up and heal," Bates said. "We're missing about 10 kids right now who are dealing with everything from concussion-like symptoms to flu-like symptoms to being out of town for the holidays.

"We're fortunate that we're deep at some weights and we've got a lot of guys that are stepping up and getting valuable varsity and JV experience that they maybe wouldn't have gotten under other circumstances."

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