It hasn't all been first-round pins and technical falls for the Oregon City wrestling team this year.
The Pioneers, the reigning Three Rivers League district champs, have hit a few speed bumps early in the 2019-20 season.
But Oregon City shook off those missteps and stepped up to roll past Lakeridge 51-18 in TRL action on Thursday, Jan. 9, at Lakeridge High School.
"The mindset, especially on a night like tonight when we're having kind of a rougher night, is to just go out and do our best," said Lakeridge junior Tuli Freeman, a winner by fall at 182. "We really have to put it all on the mat and leave nothing left to be said."
"Whatever it is, I'm going to go and wrestle to my full potential and not worry about anything else," said Pacer sophomore Ian Healy, who won by fall at 120. "My (opponent) could be a national champion or he could be the biggest wimp of the school — it's all for the team."
With the win, the Pioneers improved to 1-2 in Three Rivers League action after opening with tough league losses to both West Linn (49-24) and Tigard (42-37). Lakeridge, meanwhile, fell to 1-1 in TRL action.
"Just finishing all our matches and trying our hardest is what we were working on," said Oregon City 170-pounder Mannix Perry, a winner by fall against Lakeridge. "That, and just trying to get the win."
"I was feeling like, just go out there and get the win and keep putting points on the board," added Pioneer Austin Nekvapil, who posted a major-decision victory at 152 pounds.
The Pioneers opened with a forfeit win at 106, then saw Mason Perry come through with a first-round pin over Lakeridge senior Ayah Said-Al-Naief to lead 12-0.
Healy got his team back within 12-6 after his win at 120, though. He notched a takedown and two nearfalls in the first period, then scored a reverse 16 seconds into the second period and followed with another nearfall and a pin of OC's Fernando Gonzalez Ramirez in the next 40 seconds.
"I just wrestled," Healy said. "I don't really think about it. I did what I had to do. I had to do it so I went out and wrestled."
But the Pioneers took off from there, winning the next six matches to expand their advantage to 45-6. Refugio Morales Ayala started that stretch with a 21-3 technical fall victory over Pacer junior Ronan Chapman at 126. Oregon City's Sage Brown followed with a 22-second pin of sophomore Matthew Crockett at 132, and Pioneer Christopher Tyler made it three in a row with a third-round pin of senior Zach Nyman at 138, with Tyler rallying from an 8-0 deficit to win in the third round.
Nekvapil kept his team's roll going with a 14-4 major decision victory over Lakeridge junior Cole Brink, OC's Spencer Townsend took a forfeit at 160, and Perry came through with a second-round pin over sophomore Reece Olund at 170.
Brink led Nekvapil 2-1 after the first round, but Nekvapil notched a reversal and a pair of nearfalls in the second round to lead 9-3, then added another nearfall and a takedown in the third to pull away.
"I wrestled a little bad the first round, but I brought it up the second and third rounds," Nekvapil said.
In his match, Mannix Perry started fast to lead 8-0 after one period, reversed Olund 10 seconds into the second round and pinned him 11 seconds later.
"I think I did good," Perry said. "I did not know what to expect going into the match so I just went out there and wrestled and I had fun."
Freeman stopped OC's run with his first-round pin against Oregon City's Josiah Wold at 182, scoring a takedown 16 seconds into the match and a pin 47 seconds later.
"Generally, I think it was pretty good," Freeman said. "I saw the opportunity and I took it. I just tried to do my best to go by my coach's teaching and do what he's always telling us, which is set it up and when you see an opportunity, go for it and go for it hard."
The Pacers added a forfeit win by Spencer Lenius at 220 to cut Oregon City's lead to 45-18, but OC's Zachary Zumwalt won by forfeit at 285 for the final margin.
Next up, the Pioneers wrestle at Lake Oswego at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, while Lakeridge returns to action at Canby at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23.
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