West Linn wrestling dominates Lake Oswego in Three Rivers League action
No matter the final score, no matter the matchup, no matter the date, there's always something valuable to be learned from competition.
Just ask the West Linn and Lake Oswego wrestling teams.
The Lions — visiting Lake Oswego in Three Rivers League action on Wednesday, Jan. 19 — won 10 of the match's 14 weight classes by forfeit against the shorthanded Lakers and essentially started the night with a 60-0 lead.
Nonetheless, there were challenges to be had and lessons to be learned for both teams in the evening's four contested matches, with West Linn exerting its dominance from start to finish in an 81-0 victory at Lake Oswego High School.
While the night's final outcome was never in doubt, the Lions were determined to keep the momentum going in what they hope is a run to a Three Rivers League title and eventual top-three finish at the Class 6A state tournament.
"We are chasing a district championship, and hopefully, top three at state. That's the goal," said West Linn senior Ethan Goff, who posted a 10-3 decision at 138 pounds. "The big thing with me and the team this year is confidence — walking out on the mat and expecting to win, expecting the decision, not expecting a loss."
"Wrestling is a solo sport, but the team aspect is definitely in there," said junior Earl Ingle, who won by fall at 195. "You need your guys to help you out as much as they need you to help them out. Every point counts, which is just awesome."
With the win — the team's second straight — West Linn improved to 2-0 in Three Rivers League action. Lake Oswego, meanwhile, lost for the fourth straight time and fell to 0-4 in TRL action.
Despite the lopsided nature of the final result, the Lakers knew there were lessons to be learned from the night's action.
"I just wanted to battle, work my (tail) off because (we can't control) the team results," said Lake Oswego junior Liam Dolan, who lost by fall at 195. "We've got a small team. We know we can't win duals — we're forfeiting more than half the matches — so our goal is just to go out and do the best we can with the matches that we get."
"This season, we've just been spending time building back on foundations, working on the basics," added junior Riis Hinrichs, who lost to Goff at 138. "So we weren't really doing many tournaments or duals. This is like our third or fourth dual and we've only had one other tournament — there haven't been that many matches."
The Lions opened the night with a pin, with Tripp Moussavi notching a trio of takedowns in the first period before pinning LO's Dylan Keyser with 45 seconds remaining in the first period.
After a quartet of forfeits pushed West Linn's lead to 30-0, Goff stepped up to battle Hinrichs at 138. Goff led just 2-1 after the first period, but added an escape and a takedown in the second to push ahead 5-1.
Hinrichs responded with a reversal 12 seconds into the third round to close within 5-3, but couldn't capitalize on it. Goff added a reverse of his own 40 seconds later and tacked on a late nearfall to beat Hinrichs 10-3.
"It was just flow, getting to my positions, dominating on top, dominating on my feet and heavy hands," Goff said. "That's something I've been working on is my hands, making sure kids know I'm there. (I want) my hands, my presence on top of their head while their head is banging off the mat."
For his part, Hinrichs was just focused on learning from the loss and continuing to improve.
"Every time I've lost, I've just beat myself really," he said. "I'm not really content with the results that I've come out with. A lot of my matches are close, but it's just me not digging deep and wanting it. I'm dealing with that, getting my mental stuff down. I'm good on the conditioning, good on the technique, good on all the other stuff — I just need to figure out my mental game and believe in myself, and that's when the results will come."
West Linn's Charles Spinning followed with a first-round pin of LO's Noah Vecker at 145, and after that, the Lions added another four consecutive forfeits to effectively put the night's decision out of reach for Lake Oswego.
Despite that, Dolan fought Ingle as long as he could in their match at 195, avoiding a first-round pin after Ingle posted a takedown and a pair of three-point nearfalls to lead 8-0 at the end of the period.
But Ingle just kept pressuring Dolan in the second, getting an escape eight seconds in the period, scoring a takedown seven seconds later and pinning Dolan with 1:04 to go.
"We've already had some tournaments taken away because of COVID so every match is just a blessing to be out there," Ingle said. "You just have to want it that much more because there's fewer and fewer opportunities as the weeks go by. You're not sure what's going to happen so every time you step out there on the mat, you've just got to be excited and determined to win."
"I just wanted to go in and work as hard as I could," Dolan added. "(But) I've got work to do. He was much better conditioned, stronger, faster and he came out ready to kill. That's what I need to do."
The Lions' forfeits came from: Nate Gusdorf at 113; Nash Barinaga at 120; Nathan Watts at 126; Henry Dillingham at 132; Lucas Gray at 152; Hudson Reink at 160; William Ingle at 170; Ben Winjum at 182; Gus Donnerberg at 220; and Liam Armstrong at 285.
Next up, the Lions will wrestle in the Centennial tournament on Saturday, Jan. 22, then host Tigard in TRL action at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26. Lake Oswego, meanwhile, wrestles in the Tigard Invitational at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, then participates in the Winter Warrior Memorial at Tualatin High School at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 29.
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