Wrestling: Nomani triumphs for Tigard at district
Johnny Nomani was motivated.
The Tigard High School senior was going for a district championship. He was facing an opponent that had already defeated him twice this season. He was trying to continue a strong tradition, and he was battling in front of friends, family and teammates.
With all of that motivation, Nomani wasn't about to be denied.
Nomani, competing in a district title match for the very first time, pinned top-seeded Zachary Zumwalt of Oregon City to win the championship in the 285-pound weight class at the Three Rivers League district wrestling tournament, held Friday and Saturday at Canby High School.
"This means a lot to me," Nomani said. "This was my first year being at the top here, and it meant a lot to continue the Tigard tradition of winning the heavyweight title, after (2019 Tigard graduate) Javier (Velasquez) did it last year. And I got motivation from the support of my family."
Up next for Nomani, and another handful of Tigard wrestlers, will be the Class 6A state tournament. The top three finishers in each weight class at the district tournament, as well as some fourth-place finishers who earn wild-card bids, will advance to the Class 6A state tourney, which will be held Feb. 28-29 at Portland's Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The Tigers had four other wrestlers turn in top-three finishes at the district tourney. Tigard had two more wrestlers, who have yet to learn their state-tournament fate, with fourth-place finishes.
Nomani, the No. 2 district tournament seed at 285, opened the tournament by pinning Canby's Josh Haynes in a time of 47 seconds in a quarterfinal match. In the semifinals, Nomani notched a 3-0 decision win over West Linn's Josef Betty.
That put Nomani in the 285-pound title bout against Zumwalt, the No. 1 seed. Zumwalt scored a 3-1 decision win over Nomani in the teams' Three Rivers League dual match back on Dec. 19. Zumwalt also got a 4-2 decision win over Nomani at the Bill Geister Invitational on Jan. 31.
"He already beat me twice earlier in the year," Nomani said. "Every practice since then, I was motivated to get ready for him. I know he's a really good wrestler."
But the motivated Nomani was ready. In the district title match, he ended up pinning Zumwalt in a time of 5:37 to claim the championship.
"I didn't stop when I was on top," Nomani said of the key to victory. "I kept the pressure on. It was a lot of fun. It's what I've worked for all season."
Tigard had three other wrestlers, senior Cameron O'Connor at 113 pounds, freshman Chase Dennis at 132, and senior Zach Vorvick at 145, reach the championship round of the district tournament.
O'Connor opened the tournament by pinning Oregon City's Mason Perry in 0:32 in a quarterfinal match. In the semifinals, O'Connor defeated West Linn's Jordan Tawa by fall in 2:59. in the 113 title match, O'Connor was edged 7-5 by top-seeded Ricky Bell of West Linn.
Dennis, after receiving a first-round bye, pinned Lake Oswego's Calvin Fillmore in 1:28 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Dennis got an 8-2 decision win over Tualatin's Josiah Ingham. In the 132-pound title bout, Dennis fell 10-2 to top Sage Brown of Oregon City.
Vorvick, who missed a good part of the season due to injury, received a first-round bye, and then he pinned Tualatin's Maximus Rivera-Solorio in 0:33 in a quarterfinal match. In the semifinals, Vorvick pinned Oregon City's Cody Tarbet in 1:35. In the 145 championship match, Vorvick fell 6-3 to top-seeded Austin Nekvapil of Oregon City.
Also for Tigard, sophomore Atticus Waddell, at 106 pounds, went 3-1 at the tournament, including a 14-4 major decision win over Canby's Landon Sprague in the third-place match, giving him an automatic state berth.
Tiger freshman Cade McCallister, at 120 pounds, and senior Carsen Taylor, at 126, had fourth-place finishes.
Also for Tigard at the tournament, junior Jeremy Chun was fifth at 138, freshman Daniel Palominos was sixth at 113, freshman Tim Cousineau was sixth at 138 and sophomore Levi Vorvick was sixth at 160.
"We've got five going to state for sure, including three seniors," Nomani said. "And Chase Dennis is going to state as a freshman. Overall, it's been a really good season."
Tigard finished in fifth place in the team standings at the district tournament with 188 points. West Linn claimed the district team title with a score of 376. Canby was second at 318.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.