Century's Nihipali, Hillsboro schools show-out at state wrestling championships
The OSAA State Wrestling Championships have come and gone. But while things rarely work out entirely the way you'd like them, for Century's Mili-Nanea Nihipali, they did — for the most part.
Nihipali defeated Idara Ette of David Douglas 5-2 in Saturday's 220-pound final, winning a state championship and validating the hard work she's put in both on the mat and off, during and beyond the season.
"Words can't express how I feel," said Nihipali. "I worked really hard at this over the years. I took time in the offseason and during the summer and I worked my butt off to get here, and I accomplished it."
The Jaguar junior — the top seed in the bracket — defeated Warrenton's Jade Freniere by fall 3:12 into their semi-final match. But while she was proud of her accomplishment, Nihipali was quick to point out all those who helped her to achieve it.
"None of this would've been possible if I didn't have a great support system from my coaches, my teammates and the man above," Nihipali said.
And how did she feel about her performance in Saturday's final?
"I didn't feel like the match went that well," Nihipali said with a chuckle. "I thought I could've done better, but it's always good to win."
On the boys side, Century placed ninth, Liberty 21st and Glencoe 31st, while Hillsboro finished 15th in the 5A classification.
The Jaguars put two wrestlers through to the finals, including seniors Adrian Rodriguez and Josh Grant, who both placed at last year's event as juniors, Rodriguez second and Grant third. Neither would win their elusive championship, though, with Rodriguez losing the 182-pound final to Roseburg's Brandon Jeffers 8-4, and Grant falling to West Linn's Sean Harman for the second straight year, this time 11-5.
Century point-earners included Tanner Morris, who placed fifth in the 113-pound weight class and earned 15 points, Richard Vasquez (120) 7 pts, sophomore Ernesto Alvarez (138) 4 pts, Grant (160) 22.5 pts, Rodriguez (182) 23.5 pts, junior Anthony Perez (220) 4 pts and freshman Broderick Reese (285) 6 pts.
Liberty was paced by senior 285-pounder Dylan Thygersen, who, after losing a third-round match to eventual champion Tristan Osborn of Newberg, placed third, winning four matches in the consolation bracket and getting a fall against Westview's Angel Omar Blas in the third-place final.
Falcon point-earners included Thygersen with 26 points, James Roy (132) 3 pts, junior Rafael Hinojosa (220) 4 pts and Alejandro Antillon (285) 3 pts.
Glencoe qualified five wrestlers for the meet, and point-earners included junior AJ Lucas (126) 4 pts, sophomore Bryce Archer (145) 4 pts, sophomore Sutton Yazzolino (152) 5 pts and David Stadelman (170) 7 pts.
Roseburg won the team competition, scoring 252 points, with Newberg second with 223.5, Sprague third with 192, David Douglas 161, Aloha 137.5, North Medford 133, West Linn 90, Westview 84, Century 82 and West Albany rounding out the top 10 with 71.5. Liberty scored 36 and Glencoe had 20.
In the 5A classification, Hillsboro was led by juniors Nick Peterson and Cole Siemon, who scored 16 points apiece, with Peterson finishing third in the 138-pound division, while Siemon was fourth amongst the 126-pounders.
On the girls' side, Hilhi sophomore Tyler Rabang placed second in the 117-pound weight division, losing a hard-fought battle in the final to Thurston's Mariah Annis.
Spartan point-earners included sophomore Damon Chavez (113) 4 pts, Siemon (126) 16 pts, Peterson (138) 16 pts and junior Christopher Day (182) 3 pts.
Dallas won the 5A event scoring 188 points, Crater was second with 158, Thurston third with 141, Mt. View 136.5, Crescent Valley 109.5, Redmond 103.5, Sandy 103, Lebanon 97, Milwaukie 88 and Hood River Valley in 10th with 75.5. Hillsboro tallied 38 points.