Clackamas' Danny Pacheco and Andrew Talavera made their way to the top of the winners' podium during Saturday's finals of the Mt. Hood Conference wrestling championships at Sandy High School
Pacheco scored a second-round fall over teammate Tyler Sims to win the 170-pound weight class for the second season in a row, while Pacheco pinned David Douglas' Ramazan Tyuranov in the second round of the 138-pound final.
Clackamas added second-place finishes with Jackson Wilcoxen at 113, Alejandro Wilson-Manjivar at 120, Jaxon Palmer at 126, and Casey McCall at 132, as well as third-place finishes with Trent Ewry at 113, Brody Ross at 120, and Chris Lynch at 160, giving the Cavaliers a 10-man team that could make some noise at the Feb. 28-29 OSAA 6A wrestling championship at Portland's Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
"You like to go into this tournament and feel as if you've got 10 guys that can go to state," Clackamas coach Jayson Wullbrandt said. "We lost some close matches with some kids we thought might be able to get on the podium, so you're kind of disappointed for those kids. But, overall, I thought the kids wrestled really well."
Talavera, seeded first at 138, won each of his first two matches with second-round falls and then he scored a 15-5 major decision over Gresham's Gage McDaniel in the semifinals.
In the final, Talavera used four takedowns to open an 8-3 lead over Tyuranov before sinking a half-nelson that put the David Douglas freshman on his back with 1:17 remaining in the second round.
"Ultimately, my shots are what really score my points, so I decided it was OK to take him down, let him up, and take him down, let him up," Talavera said. "The last takedown, my mentality was like, 'This is my time,' and I went after a blast double leg takedown.
"Usually, when I get someone laid out on his stomach, his arm goes up, and once that happens, I know to throw in the half and put him on his back.
"Throughout this week, my teammates kept me motivated and there wasn't a doubt in my mind that I was going to out there and do my thing and show the district what I'm all about."
Wullbrandt expects Talavera (27-6) to continue his run at state.
"He's a kid who has those intangibles to be a placer at state," Wullbrandt said. "You've got to be able to score against good kids and you've got to be tough. A lot depends on the draw he gets and the match-ups he's going to see, but he's got those things that you want for a kid to get on the podium."
At 170 pounds, Pacheco and Sims were seeded 1-2, respectively, and followed similar paths to the final.
Pacheco scored first-round pins against David Douglas' Melvin Villanueva in the quarterfinals and against Centennial's Edwin Miranda in the semifinals, while Sims won by first-round fall over Gresham's Grayson Russell in the quarterfinals and then scored an 11-6 decision over Centennial's Conner Tolvstad in the semis.
In the final, Pacheco scored a takedown and a pair of three-point near falls to open an 8-0 lead in the first round. He then added a reversal that turned into a pinning combination with 1:13 left in the second round.
"It went as expected," Pacheco said. "I was working hard for this. It was no surprise that it came. It just shows what hard work does."
This will be Pacheco's third trip to the state tournament after qualifying at 182 as a freshman three years ago and at 170 as a junior last season when he finished fifth.
"It's nearing the end, so it's time to get serious, get focused, and get into a state-meet mentality," Pacheco said. "It's the last tournament. You've got to go out with a bang. You've got to. That's just how it goes.
"The experience helps a lot, because I've been there before. I know what to do and what not to do. And, hopefully, it should go my way this time where I finish high on the podium."
Wullbrandt counts Pacheco among the top five or six wrestlers who are likely to contend for the 170-pound state title.
"For Danny, so much of it is about wrestling his style and being dynamic," Wullbrandt said. "When he's dynamic and offensive, that's when he's tough. If he tries to be too strategic, sometimes he shuts down his offense. So, we've got to be dynamic to score points."
THREE RIVERS LEAGUE: Top-seeded Sage Brown of Oregon City etched his name in Pioneers' wrestling history when he scored a 10-2 major decision over Tigard's Chase Dennis to clinch the 132-pound title and become a four-time district champion at Saturday night's Three River League championships at Canby High School.
Oregon City 145-pounder Austin Nekvapil, 170-pounder Mannix Perry, and 220-pounder Harley Richter also placed first for the Pioneers in qualifying for the Feb. 28-29 OSAA 6A wrestling championships at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.
Brown won each of his first three matches with a first-round fall, including his semifinal match when he stopped West Linn's Logan Owens with 10 seconds remaining in the first round.
In the final, Brown scored two takedowns and a three-point near fall to open a 7-1 lead before the end of the first round, and then put the match out of reach with an escape and another takedown in the second round.
"I wanted to get that fourth one," Brown said. "The key was getting the first shot, definitely. I felt myself starting off slow, so I know going into the match when it's going to be tough like that to get the first shot off."
Brown's previous district titles came at 106 pounds as a freshman and 120 pounds as a sophomore when Oregon City competed in the Mt. Hood Conference. He then won at 120 pounds as a junior a year ago and went helped lead the Pioneers to the Three Rivers League district championship.
He has twice landed on the awards podium at the state tournament, placing sixth as a sophomore and third last season.
"Everybody's going for first and I'm definitely going for first also," said Brown, who will carry a 32-5 record into state. "I just want to do better than I did last year."
Nekvapil, seeded first at 145, pinned each of his first three opponents, setting up a showdown with No. 2-seeded Zack Vorvick of Tigard in the final.
Vorvick scored the initial takedown in the final, but Nekvapil answered with a takedown and a two-point near fall in the second round to take a 4-3 lead, then scored another takedown in the third round to seal a 6-3 decision.
"I wrestled a little slow at the beginning, but I came through and pulled it out at the end," Nekvapil said. "I think I'm going to place at state because I'm going to be seeded this year. Top three, that's my goal. I just have to keep training hard, keep wrestling tough."
Perry, the No. 1 seed at 170, won by a 4-1 decision of Canby's Kaden Boyd in the semifinals, and then won by a 6-1 decision over second-seeded Cole Peters of West Linn in the finals.
At 220 pounds, Richter went in as the No. 4 seed and trailed top-seeded Curtis Strahm of Tualatin 8-4 in the semifinals when he scored a reversal that led to a pin with 13 seconds remaining in the second round.
In the final, Richter needed only eight seconds to take West Linn's Eric Mee off his feet and another eight seconds to put the Lions' sophomore on his back.
Oregon City had three other wrestlers reach the final and finish second. Refugio Morales Ayala dropped a 1-0 decision to West Linn's Michael Kearney at 126, Spencer Townsend lost 10-2 to West Linn's Cael Brunson at 152, and Zach Zumwalt lost by third-round fall to Tigard's Johnny Nomani at 285.
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