The Class 6A state wrestling tournament.
There's nothing like it, and there's no tougher venue for Oregon's high school wrestlers.
Lakeridge and Lake Oswego's best wrestlers learned that first-hand at the 2020 state tournament, held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28-29, at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Between them, the two teams sent five wrestlers to state, with the Pacers placing 34th in the team standings with 14 points while the Lakers failed to score. Newberg won the team title with 310.5 points, followed by Roseburg (262.5), Mountain View (209.5), Sprague (176.5) and West Linn (161.0) in the top five.
"I think, overall, our kids wrestled well," said Lakeridge coach Brandon McDonald. "Spencer (Lenius) got his first win at state, Cole (Brink) showed a ton of improvement on the technique he was working on, and I really think Ryan (Boucher) wrestled well enough to be in the finals — if a couple small things would have gone differently."
Lake Oswego, meanwhile, sent freshman Riis Hinrichs to the Class 6A tournament and junior Katie Cantrell to the Oregon girls tournament. While neither scored, both got to test themselves against the state's best and learned a lot by doing so.
"Both Katie Cantrell and Riis Hinrichs wrestled pretty (well)," said Lake Oswego coach Jeff Carpenter. "I do think they were overcome by the moment and the 'wow' factor of state, (but) I feel next year, there will be a much better outcome than this year."
For Lakeridge, Boucher — a junior — found the most success at state, wrestling his way into the quarterfinals at 160 pounds and eventually finishing 3-2. The sixth seed, Boucher opened with a second-round pin of Roseburg senior Gage Hill and a 10-2 major decision over Glencoe senior Bryce Archer to earn his spot in the quarterfinals.
But Boucher ran into Three Rivers League rival Justin Rademacher — the third-seeded West Linn freshman who had beaten Boucher in the finals of the TRL district tournament — in the quarterfinals. Rademacher scored two takedowns in the opening period to lead 4-1, added a reversal and — after a reversal by Boucher — an escape in the second to lead 7-3. Boucher added a third-round escape in his eventual 7-4 loss.
He came back to pin Centennial junior Kobe Hein in consolation action, before seeing his tournament end in a 4-1 decision to second-seeded Roseburg senior Colin Reitmann.
"Ryan's movement and pace was a problem for everyone he wrestled," McDonald said.
At 195, junior Spencer Lenius opened with a first-round pin of Southridge junior Elijah Seamster, but got pinned in the second round by third-seeded Mountain View senior Blake Ohlson and then dropped a 5-2 decision in consolation by Canby senior Brent Patterson.
At 138, junior Cole Brink opened with a bye, but then got pinned by fifth-seeded Grants Pass junior Elliot Harris and pinned again by Sunset freshman Jacient Cox.
"Spencer was fearless (and) Cole is finally opening up and trying new things," McDonald said. "I think we have a lot of excitement going into the offseason, maybe more so than we've ever had. We have a solid core of kids that are so close to making a breakthrough. They know now that if they put in the work in the offseason, we can be a force next season."
For Lake Oswego, Hinrichs — a freshman who took second in the TRL district tournament at 120 — got pinned by Mountain View freshman Andrew Worthington in his opener, took a bye in his first-round consolation match, then dropped a 10-7 decision to Canby junior Nick Marquez.
"Riis really wrestled hard and gained some great experience," Carpenter said.
In the girls tournament, Cantrell wrestled twice at 235, getting pinned in the first round by top-seeded Cottage Grove junior Raina Herzog, then again in the first consolation round by Bend senior Melia Cuevas.
"Katie was wrestling up a weight class, so for me, just seeing her compete and not get pushed around by the much bigger girls was a highlight," Carpenter said.
Further, the Lakers believe there are bigger and better things ahead.
"We had several returning young wrestlers go to state with the qualifiers and walk through the process with them," Carpenter said. "This will help them all be mentally prepared for when they all qualify for state next year. Being there and seeing it all will take some of the 'wow' factor away and that will let the kids just wrestle their matches and be far less stressed."
The complete team scoring Included: 1. Newberg 310.5; 2. Roseburg 262.5; 3. Mountain View 209.5; 4. Sprague 176.5; 5. West Linn 161.0; 6. Sherwood 95.0; 7. Century 91.5; 8. Westview 89.0; 9. Grants Pass 85.0; 10. Oregon City 83.0; 11. Aloha 66.5; 12. Centennial 65.0; 13. Tigard 57.0; 14. McMinnville 54.0; 15. Cleveland 53.5; 16. Mountainside 52.5; 17. Clackamas 49.0; 18. David Douglas 47.0; 19. North Medford 46.5; 20. Reynolds 41.0; 21. Canby 37.0; 21. Jefferson 37.0; 21. Tualatin 37.0; 24. Sandy 34.0; 25. Bend 30.0; 26. Forest Grove 28.0; 27. West Salem 27.0; 28. South Salem 20.0; 28. Sunset 20.0; 30. Gresham 18.0; 30. McKay 18.0; 32. Barlow 16.0; 33. Glencoe 14.5; 34. Lakeridge 14.0; 34. Liberty 14.0; 36. Grant 11.0; 37. South Eugene 10.0; 37. South Medford 10.0; 37. Wilson 10.0; 40. McNary 9.0; 40. Sheldon 9.0; 42. Southridge 8.0; 43. Beaverton 5.0; 43. Summit 5.0; 45. Roosevelt 1.0.
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