Tualatin tips Tigard in fierce rivalry battle
The Tigard High School wrestling team got off to roaring start.
The Tualatin squad finished with a flurry.
And, all night long, the rivals went at it with everything they had.
And it was the Timberwolves, with their determined rally, that came away with a 40-32 win in the Three Rivers League dual match held in front of a loud, enthusiastic crowd Jan. 9 at Tigard High School.
"It was a good fight," said Tualatin senior Jake Reser, who won the 170-pound match by fall. "At the beginning, it was a little slow on our part. Our middleweights picked it up, and then we got it finished with our 195(-pounder)."
"It's a pretty big win," said Tualatin senior Noah Brooks, who won the 160-pound match by major decision, helping spark the Timberwolves' rally. "Tigard's our rivals, so of course we had some extra motivation. Before the match, we were all talking about it, that it's Tigard, so we really have to take it seriously."
With the victory, Tualatin improved to 2-0 in Three Rivers League dual matches.
"It was a good, big win for us," Reser said. "It gives us momentum going into the hard part of the season."
Tigard moved to 1-2 in league dual matches with the setback.
"It was a good dual," said Tigard senior Cameron O'Connor, who won by fall at 120 pounds. "I think we could have wrestled a little better in the upper weights. We could have given up less pins, but, overall, I think we had a good performance out of our younger guys."
The Tigers got off to a fast start in the rivals' dual match. Tigard freshman Adan Esquivel won by fall, in a time of 1 minute, 19 seconds, in the 106-pound match to give the Tigers a quick 6-0 lead in the team score.
Tualatin answered back at 113, with freshman Josue Guttierez notching a 17-10 decision victory to cut Tigard's lead to 6-3.
O'Connor then won in a hurry at 120 pounds. O'Connor scored on a takedown and a 3-point nearfall in the first 23 seconds of the match, before getting the fall at the 0:33 mark of the bout.
"I just got out there, tried to have fun and do my thing — get the win and get the points on the board for our team," O'Connor said.
O'Connor, who placed fifth at 113 pounds at the Class 6A state tournament last year as a junior, is looking for big things in his senior season.
"I'm hoping to be a state champ this year," he said. "I'm a two-time state placer and going for the state title is my goal. It's going to take me wrestling well and preparing for every match."
Following O'Connor's win, which gave the Tigers a 12-3 lead, junior Chad Kailiuli answered back for the Wolves, getting a 6-0 decision win at 126 to make the score 12-6.
But the Tigers would win the next three matches. Tigard freshman Chase Dennis, at 132, started the streak with a 5-0 decision win over Tualatin junior Josiah Ingham in one of the most competitive matches of the night. Dennis scored on both an escape and a takedown in the third round to clinch the victory.
Tigard freshman Timmy Cousineau, at 138, got a 15-0 technical fall victory, and, at 145, Tiger senior William Guttman won by fall in 5:01, giving Tigard a 26-6 lead in the team score.
That's when the Wolves started their comeback. Tualatin junior Nathanial Arbaca-Lopez got things started, winning by pin in 1:32 at 152 pounds.
Brooks followed with his 12-4 major decision win over Tigard senior Jordy Espitia at 160 pounds in another hard-fought battle. In the match, Brooks started fast, getting a takedown and a pair of 3-point nearfalls in the first round to open up an 8-0 lead. Espitia tried to battle back, getting a 2-point nearfall to open the scoring in the third round. But Brooks scored on a reversal with 41 seconds left in the match to help close out the win.
"It was a good one," Brooks said of the bout. "I was trying to grind the guy out. It was a three-round match, and it definitely was a battle. I was tired at the end of it. It was just determination."
Reser then won by fall in 0:59 at 170 pounds, cutting the Tigard lead to 26-22.
"Noah got it started at 160," Reser said. "That was a good, 4-point win. Then I kept it going. I was just trying some new things. I saw something there, and I just went for it. That felt pretty good."
At 182, Tualatin sophomore Jacob Helton won by fall in 1:17, giving the Wolves their first lead of the night in the team score, at 28-26. At 195, Timberwolf sophomore Brandon Chin broke open a close match with a reversal and a takedown late in the second round, before winning by pin in 4:33.
Tualatin junior Curtis Strahm then clinched the team win for the Wolves, winning by fall in 1:00 in the 220 match.
Tigard senior Johnny Nomani closed out the contest by winning the 285 match by pin in 2:54, making the final score 40-32.
"I definitely think we can build on this," Brooks said. "We'll take our wins, and also look at what we did wrong, change those to rights, and move forward. This was a lot of fun. It's always a lot of fun to see your teammates compete."
"We can definitely build on this," Reser said. "We can get in better shape as a team, and compete real hard. This was fun. It was good getting everyone into it."
Tigard is also looking for improvement as the season goes on.
"We're a young team this year, we're rebuilding a little bit, but we're getting good performances out of of some younger wrestlers, like Chase Dennis and Timmy Cousineau. They got us some good points," O'Connor said. "Cade McCallister wrestled well. Guys came up big. I don't think this was too far off for us to win. We just needed a couple of matches to go our way. This was really fun. It was a good dual, and a good battle. It just didn't go our way."
Tualatin followed up its win at Tigard by taking first place in the team standings at the Southridge Invitational, held Saturday at Southridge High School. The Wolves won the title at the 11-team event with a score of 207.5 points. Central was second at 147.
Kailuli, at 120 pounds, Ingham at 132 and Helton at 182 each won individual tournament championships. Reser was second at 170 and Strahm was second at 220.
Tigard took seventh place in the team standings at the Pacific Rim Armed Forces Tournament, held Friday and Saturday at Seaside High School.
O'Connor took first place at 120 pounds at the tournament. Dennis was second at 132 and Nomani was second at 285.
Tualatin will be back in action on Wednesday, when it hosts West Linn in a Three Rivers League dual match. Varsity bouts are set to start at 7 p.m.
The Tigers, on Saturday, will be hosting the Tigard Invitational. Other teams scheduled to compete at the tournament include Beaverton, Liberty, Madison, Sprague, Springfield, St. Helens and The Dalles.
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