Tigard steps up to take fourth place at home invite

by: DAN BROOD - GOING NOWHERE -- Tigard High School junior Bryan Baker has a firm grip on South Albany's Michael Brooks during their 182-pound third-place match at Saturday's Tigard Invitational. Baker won by fall in a time of 4:44. TIGARD — It’s a lot about pride.

It’s a lot about getting better.

It’s a lot about reaching goals.

And it all powered the Tigard High School wrestling team at its home tournament.

The Tigers, wrestling on its home mats, in front of its home crowd, turned in a strong performance at the 10-team Tigard Invitational, held Saturday at Tigard High School.

“You want to win for the fans,” said Tigard senior Justin Campbell, who placed third in the 160-pound weight division. “You don’t want to lose in front of your home fans.”

“This tournament means a bit more to us,” said Tigard junior Bryan Baker, who finished third at 182 pounds. “But, for me, it’s more about getting better individually. I can make it to state this year. I just need to keep working harder.”

The Tigers finished in fourth place in the team standings at their home invitational with a score of 158 points. West Linn won the tourney title with 296 points. Southridge was second with a score of 245 and St. Helens was third with a total of 172.5.

Senior Victor Ceja had the top individual finish for the Tigers at the invitational, as he placed second at 285 pounds.

Ceja, after getting a first-round bye, wasted little time in earning his spot in the finals. In the quarterfinals he needed just 33 seconds to pin Lane Hersha of South Albany. Then, in the semifinals, Ceja pinned Miguel Olmedo of St. Helens in 1:00.

That put Ceja in the 285-pound championship match against Ellis Eaton of West Linn. Eaton, a senior, took a 2-0 lead in the championship match with a takedown coming with 17 seconds left in the first round. Ceja got an escape with two seconds left in the round to make the score 2-1.

Ceja posted another escape coming with 1:11 left in the second round to tie the score at 2-2. But Ceja was whistled for a stalling penalty with one second left in the round, giving Eaton a 3-2 lead going into the final round.

by: DAN BROOD - READY -- Tigard senior Justin Campbell (right) is set to lock up with Forest Grove's Alan Blood in their 152-pound third-place bout. Eaton upped the margin to 4-2 with an escape coming early in the third round. Ceja tried for the remainder of the round to get a tying takedown, but he wasn’t able to, leaving Eaton with a 4-2 win.

Campbell, Baker and senior Justin Jackson, at 285 pounds, all had impressive pinfall victories in their respective third-place matches at the tournament.

“That was exciting for me,” Campbell said after his third-place victory. “I haven’t wrestled for a championship, so this was exciting. I was ready to wrestle.”

Campbell opened his 152-pound third-place match against Forest Grove’s Alan Blood by getting a takedown with 1:37 left in the first round. Campbell added a three-point nearfall and a two-point nearfall later in the period to take a 7-1 lead into the second round.

Campbell opened the second round with another takedown. Then, after a Blood escape, Campbell got another takedown before pinning Blood at the 2:25 mark of the match.

“Not being lazy,” Campbell said in regard to what was the key to getting the pin in the second round. “I was lazy in the first round. In the second round, I said ‘I’m done with this.’”

Campbell pinned Forest Grove’s Norberto Lopez in 1:24 to start the tournament and he got a default win over Jason Epperly of South Albany in the quarterfinals before falling to eventual tourney champ Myles Terry of St. Helens in the semifinals.

Baker, a second-year wrestler, also had an impressive third-place win.

The Tiger junior got a takedown of South Albany’s Michael Brooks with 35 seconds left in the first round of their 182-pound third-place match to claim a 2-0 lead at the end of the opening round.

Baker then took full charge in the second round. He had a takedown, two two-point nearfalls and a three-point nearfall in the period to open an 11-0 lead going into the final round.

In the third round, Baker scored a quick takedown before pinning Brooks at the 4:44 mark of the bout.

“That was tiring,” Baker said. “But, later on, I figured him out and was able to pin him.”

Still, Baker was looking for more in the tournament.

“I’m disappointed,” he said. “This is a tough tournament, but I should have made it to the finals.”

Jackson, in his 285-pound third-place match against Olmedo, wasted no time in getting the win, as he won by fall in just 9 seconds.

Also for Tigard at the tournament, junior Omar Duran-Vega placed fourth at 113 pounds, junior Joey Stefani was fourth at 145 and junior Eli Neely was fourth at 170. Tiger senior Phil Engel was fifth at 160. Junior Colin O’Connor took sixth place at 126 pounds.

Prior to its home tournament, Tigard fell 58-24 to McMinnville and 66-12 to Newberg in a Special District 3 double dual match held last Thursday at Tigard High School. The Tigers moved to 1-6 in district dual matches with the losses.

In the match with Newberg, Tigard got pins from Baker at 182 pounds and from senior Alex Anohkin at 195 pounds.

In the match with McMinnville, Tigard got pins from junior Kalimen Pabro at 126 pounds, from Baker at 182 and from junior Austin Goodhouse at 220 pounds. Ceja received a forfeit victory in the 285-pound match.

The Tigers will be back in action today (Thursday) when they face McKay in a Special District 3 dual match starting at 7 p.m. at McKay High School. On Saturday, Tigard will be competing in the Gresham Invitational.

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