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St. Helens High School wrestler Gavin Schaer says there's plenty of team camaraderie.

COURTESY PHOTO: GAVIN SCHAER - St. Helens High School wrestler Gavin Schaer enjoys the individual nature of the sport of wrestling. Compared with other team sports at the high school level, wrestling is much more of an individual endeavor, and St. Helens High School wrestler Gavin Schaer is perfectly fine with that.

The wrestling season is underway for the Lions, and Schaer is hoping for more of a normal season than this past spring offered.

Schaer, who once lived in the Lents District of Portland, dabbled in different sports before becoming a prep wrestler.

"I'm not very athletic," admitted Schaer, who is in the 120- to 126-pound weight class. "I would always try different sports. I was very big into tee-ball and baseball, but when it comes to those kinds of sports, I don't do well in a team environment, because if I do perfect and somebody else messes up, there's nothing I can fix to improve. That just bothers me deep down."

Schaer, who gradually caught on to wrestling, explained the individual nature of the sport.

"It doesn't matter how strong, athletic or intelligent you are, it's basically you get back what you put in," Schaer said. "If you put in 10 hours, then it's going to show."

Schaer continued, "No matter what happens on that mat, it's just me and the other guy. And that's all you can control. I can't control, really, how other people do, so I know if I'm doing my best, that's the best I can do."

While wrestling is individual in nature, Schaer does note the importance of being on a team.

"The team aspect I also really love," he said. "We're really close. We're a family. We are the closest team out of every sport. We always just cheer each other on."

Schaer reflected back on the last wrestling season and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Last season, everything was more condensed," Schaer said. "It was kind of hard from the get-go. Normally, we like to ease into our practices, but we only had like a three or four-week season. You had to jump into it, and that was kind of hard."

This season is feeling more normal for Schaer.

"It feels like we're right back into it," he said. "It does feel nice to be back, with the length and the conditioning."

As to competition for the Lions wrestlers, Schaer said, "This season, our tough league ones are going to be Scappoose and Hillsboro."

And with Scappoose, that spells rivalry.

"They're really respectable over there in Scappoose," Schaer said. "But business is business, and we're going to show we're the best."

Team camaraderie is apparent on the St. Helens High School wresting team.

"We get along very well," Schaer said. "We're basically like a family. Between our boys team and our girls team, we're really coed with all that."

Schaer continued, "We all have parties. We hang out every weekend. We eat lunch together. There isn't much we don't do as a team. It's all about creating that bond."

For Schaer, optimism is overflowing.

"I'm very optimistic," he said. "Last year, we sent 15 people to state. I think we can get 20 this year. We're looking really good. I'm proud of everyone who has been putting in the hard work for our team."


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