West Linn wrestlers finish strong, beat Lakeridge 72-4
The West Linn wrestling team was focused.
The Lions wanted another win, wanted to finish the Three Rivers League season unbeaten and wanted to roll into the TRL district tournament with a ton of momentum.
Well, mission accomplished.
West Linn closed out its 2020 regular season with a 72-4 rout of Lakeridge at West Linn High School, getting six pins and five forfeits to leave the Pacers far behind.
"We were trying to get points for seeding and we wanted to make the seniors' night special," said West Linn freshman Justin Rademacher, a winner by major decision at 160 pounds. "We are ready (for district). We are ready. This is our year."
"We are dual champs and next is district champions," said West Linn senior Sam Montagut, who notched a pin at 145. "That's a title we were unable to keep last year, but this year we are going to get it. It's my last year and I'm going to grind hard and make sure we get it."
With the win, the Lions finished the TRL regular season with a perfect 6-0 record, while the Pacers ended the league campaign at 1-5.
While Lakeridge clearly would have preferred a stronger finish, the Pacers kept focused on what they'd done well and the opportunities that lie ahead at district.
"We just wanted to go out there and wrestle our hardest and try things and just wrestle our hardest," said Lakeridge junior Cole Brink, who posted a major-decision victory at 138 pounds.
"I really felt like I had the ability to tell myself to just keep going, just keep fighting, just don't stop," added Lakeridge junior Tuli Freeman, who dropped a major decision at 170. "(That's) what our coach tells us so I'm really happy I was able to pull through on this one."
After a couple forfeit wins to open the night, the Lions tacked on four straight wins to grab an early 30-0 lead. Sophomore Aaron McCoy started that stretch by beating Lakeridge senior Ayah Said-al-Naief by injury default at 113, junior Ricky Bell followed with a first-round pin of Lakeridge sophomore Ian Healy, West Linn sophomore Ethan Goff came through next to pin Pacer junior Ronan Chapman in the first round at 126, and Lion sophomore Logan Owens capped that run by pinning Pacer sophomore Matthew Cockett with 1:24 to go in the second round at 130.
Brink stepped up to stop that run at 138, taking a 4-0 lead over West Linn senior Jack Wall after one round, expanding his advantage to 10-2 after two, then adding another pair of nearfalls in the third period to win 14-2.
"I think the key was just keeping the pressure on him the whole match," Brink said. "I'm pretty small so I just used my leverage to move him around."
Montagut made sure the Pacers got no further, though, coming back to pin Lakeridge senior Zach Nyman in just 47 seconds at 145.
"It's an amazing way to spend senior night," Montagut said. "I quit the team for a little bit, but then I came back because I found a family and I love it."
Montagut's win kicked off a string of eight straight West Linn victories (including three forfeits), that stretch including senior Cyrus Gray's first-round pin of Pacer junior Alp Dogan at 152, and after that, Rademacher's 9-2 win over Lakeridge junior Ryan Boucher at 160; Boucher, just three weeks back from a broken elbow, finished second at district and fifth at state a year ago.
Rademacher opened the match with two takedowns and a nearfall to lead 7-1 after one period, then added a reversal in the third to win 9-2.
"I feel like I was more conditioned than him," Rademacher said. "I used to wrestle him … because we both wrestle at All Phase … and he used to beat me up.
"But this year, my wrestling has changed a lot. Last year, he was bigger and stronger than me and I was, like, a little eighth-grader. And lately, I've been wrestling with Cole Peters and Cade Miller and they're both big strong guys and that's made me a lot stronger."
The Lions added two more wins on the mat to close out the night, with Peters — a West Linn junior — beating Freeman 11-4 at 170, and West Linn sophomore Cobie Daly pinning Lakeridge junior Spencer Lenius with 50 seconds remaining in the second round of their match at 195.
"I've seen him every single year," Freeman said of Peters. "I wrestled him freshman year, I wrestled him sophomore year and I wrestled him this year, too, but … I feel like I wrestled really well."
Next up, both the Lions and Pacers will compete in the Three Rivers League district tournament at Canby High School, with matches beginning at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, and continuing at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 15.
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