Newberg wins big, but local contingent represents at Pacific Conference Wrestling Championships
It's been this way all year, and it was no different this past weekend.
The Newberg Tigers have been running roughshod over Pacific Conference foes for years, and after what was another dominant regular season, the Tigers picked up where they left off, winning handily at last weekend's Pacific Conference District Wrestling Tournament Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-15, at Liberty High School.
In all, Newberg won eight of the 14 individual championships, qualified 18 kids for state and will represent in every weight class except for 220 pounds at the OSAA State Wrestling Championships, Feb. 28-29, at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The Tigers finished with 530 points and were 259 points clear of second place Sherwood (271). Century was third (203.5), McMinnville fourth (176.5), Glencoe fifth (127), Liberty sixth (122.5) and Forest Grove seventh (102).
The local contingent was well represented, with Century winning one individual title and qualifying three kids for state, Glencoe winning an individual title and qualifying four for state, Forest Grove claiming a title and qualifying two for state and Liberty qualifying three for state.
Century's Ernesto Alvarez got the party started with a 7-3 decision over Newberg's Price Pothier in the 145 pound weight division. In a relatively slow match, Alvarez took a 4-2 lead after two rounds, then tacked on a few more points late en route to a relatively easy district title — the third of his high school career.
Despite the win, Alvarez wasn't overly impressed with is performance overall.
"It was OK, but I definitely could've done better," he said. "I wrestled him earlier in the year and had a pretty good idea of what he was going to do, so I just defended his hand fighting, the double and reshot after that, and that was that."
The senior expressed his appreciation for his current coaches, along with ex-Century and current Forest Grove head coach Guy Takahashi, saying he's ready and looking forward to state in a couple weeks.
"If I continue to work hard in the practice room and keep that winning mentality, I think I've got a good shot."
Century's other qualifiers included Uriel Rodriguez, who finished second after falling in the 138 pound final, Va`atausili Tofaeono, who lost to Sherwood's Bryan Cuthbertson in the 220 pound final and Brody Reese, who dropped a 4-2 decision to McMinnville's Jacob Barnes in the 285 pound final.
Glencoe's Ben Sorenson, like Alvarez, walked away victorious, defeating Newberg's Braden Baxter 9-4 in the 170 pound final. The senior beat Baxter in last year's districts as well, and didn't hesitate to express his extra delight in taking down a Newberg grappler in the final.
"I'm tired, but I'm feeling really good right now," Sorenson said. "It's always hard beating Newberg, but I've been doing pretty good this year ... I'm looking forward to state and hoping to compete."
The Tide's Sutton Yazzolino wasn't quite as fortunate in his final, losing by fall to Newberg's Gavin Korkeakoski midway through the third round — something he's sadly familiar with.
"He beat me last time by two points," a frustrated Yazzolino said. "I could've done much better, but I made a bunch of stupid mistakes."
The senior said he was out of shape because of having to sit out the past week due to injury, but despite the disappointment of the loss he's looking forward to state and is optimistic about his chances.
"Heck yeah, I'll be ready," he said. "I'll be training hard these next two weeks and I'll be ready to go."
Sorenson and Yazzolino will be joined at state by Hunter Nakamato, who finished second to Newberg's Tanner Nicol in the 113 pound final, and Bryce Archer, who placed third in the 160 pound weight class.
Forest Grove's Jeffrey Falla finished third and will be going to state in the 195 pound weight division, but the Vikings' flagship wrestler was senior Gavin Rice, who cruised to a 13-2 major decision win over Hayden Hampton of Newberg in the 182 pound final. Rice was seemingly unimpressed with his performance afterward, using just a few words to describe his effort.
"I feel great, but it's just another wrestling day," he said. "I've never wrestled that guy before, but it's always good to win a championship, especially against Newberg."
Narrowly missing out for the Vikings was Owen Rice, who finished fourth at 170 pounds, and Mynor Oppenlander, who placed fifth at 138.
Liberty may not have had any individual champions, but will be sending three wrestlers to state, including Lance Peterson, who placed third at 113 pounds; Tanner Santesson, who placed third at 126 pounds; and Adrian Hinojosa, who was third at 220 pounds.
Individual champions were as follows: 106 Ethan Ritchie, Sherwood; 113 Tanner Nicol, Newberg; 120 Nicky Olmstead, Newberg; 126 Ayden Garver, Newberg; 132 Charlie Evans, Newberg; 138 Micah Worthington, Newberg; 145 Ernesto Alvarez, Century; 152 Gavin Korkeakoski, Newberg; 160 Hudson Davis, Newberg; 170 Ben Sorenson, Glencoe; 182 Gavin Rice, Forest Grove; 195 Hunter James, Newberg; 220 Bryan Cuthbertson, Sherwood; and 285 Jacob Barnes, McMinnville.
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