Lakeridge wrestlers battle through 51-26 loss to Tualatin
The Pacers knew the deck was stacked against them.
The Lakeridge wrestling team, hosting Tualatin in Three Rivers League action on Thursday, Jan. 30, gave up four forfeits and 24 points to the Timberwolves, but got outscored by just seven points in the night's contested matches, with Tualatin eventually posting a 51-26 victory at Lakeridge High School.
"At the beginning of this year, we were not very good, but we've been working hard," said Lakeridge junior Ryan Boucher, a winner by fall at 160 pounds. "Lots of wrestling in the room. We are getting there."
"Lakeridge has had a tough history … (but) these past couple of weeks, the team has really come into its own," said Lakeridge senior Zach Nyman, who posted a 5-1 decision at 138 pounds. "We had a great team last season — we lost some seniors we miss … dearly — but I see the team going into our last dual next week against West Linn and going into district and making some serious noise."
With the loss, the Pacers fell to 1-4 in Three Rivers League action, while Tualatin lifted its TRL mark to 3-2.
On their side of the ledger, the Timberwolves said they just wanted to take care of business.
"Coming in, we wanted to make sure we didn't look (past) them, no matter how many forfeits there were and how many points they were giving up," said Tualatin senior Jake Reser, who notched a first-round pin at 170. "They still have a lot of tough kids on the team, that's for sure, so we wanted to make sure we fought every match."
"We were expecting to go out there and compete our hardest and just basically go out there with full force," said Tualatin junior Josiah Ingham, a winner by fall at 132.
The Wolves opened with a forfeit at 106, then saw junior Chad Kailuli come through a 28-second pin against Lakeridge senior Ayah Said-Al-Naief at 113 to lead 12-0.
The Pacers answered with a technical fall victory by sophomore Ian Healy over Tualatin sophomore Stowen Buckner at 120 and a forfeit of their own at 126 to cut the deficit to 12-11 before Ingham stepped up in his match at 132.
There, facing Lakeridge's Hashim Sulton, Ingham broke open a 2-2 match with an escape, a takedown and a three-point nearfall to lead 8-3 after one period. Ingham then added an escape, another takedown and a nearfall in the second round before pinning Sulton with 34 seconds to go to push the Tualatin lead to 18-11.
"I felt like I did pretty good," Ingham said. "I just came back from a bit of an injury and I just went out there and did what I was supposed to do."
The Pacers responded with their best stretch of the night, winning three of the next four weight classes to push ahead 26-24. Nyman kicked off that span with a solid 5-1 decision over Gabe Ingham, getting a takedown and a three-point nearfall in the first period, then holding on to win 5-1 with Ingham's lone point coming on a third-round escape.
"Tonight was my first varsity win, my first varsity league win, so to do it on my home turf and on senior night with my parents present, it's honestly just a very emotional moment for me," Nyman said. "He was a tough kid. … He came out and he looked strong, but I didn't let that intimidate me. I have learned to never let that get to my head. I just go out and fight."
Lakeridge junior Cole Brink followed with a 38-second pin of Maximus Rivera-Solorio at 145, and after Tualatin's Noah Brooks pinned Lakeridge junior Alp Dogan at 152, Boucher came out to dominate Bodan Griffith at 160 and give Lakeridge its last lead at 26-24.
Boucher scored five takedowns and a three-point nearfall in the first period, then took Griffith down early in the second round and pinned him after just 34 seconds.
After returning just two weeks ago from a broken elbow, Boucher said he was happy with his performance but determined to keep working.
"I just have to work harder and push everyone else on the team just like they're pushing me," he said, adding that the Pacers' competitive effort "does mean a lot."
The Timberwolves weren't going to let this one go, however. They answered with wins in the night's final five weights (three by forfeit) to pull away for their 51-26 victory.
Reser got things started in that stretch with a first-round pin of Tuli Freeman at 170, notching a takedown 34 seconds into the first period, then pinning him 52 seconds later.
"It was good. It was a good battle," Reser said. "I was just working on some stuff to practice up and get ready for the weekend."
In the final contested match of the night, Tualatin's Brandon Chin won a hard-fought 5-2 decision over Spencer Lenius at 195.
With just Canby left in the regular season —Tualatin hosts the Cougars at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6 — the Wolves are ready for what lies ahead.
"We'll just keep training and look forward and keep it pushing forward," Ingham said. "I think I can make it to the finals (at district) and, hopefully, win it."
"As a team, we are always looking to get first place (at district)," Reser added. "That's everyone's goal, and that's hopefully what we can do. And personally, I want to get to the top of the podium."
The Pacers — who finish the regular season at West Linn at 7 p.m. Thursday — have goals of their own to chase.
"I've never placed at district before so I'd like to see myself place and have a chance at qualifying for state," Nyman added. "I think it's time to throw away the childlike attitude and go in and be a man and beat on someone."
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