Justin Hamilton leads as Wildcats build momentum entering postseason

by: JEFF GOODMAN / PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Tony Munoz (right) tries to gain control during the heavyweight bout of the Wilsonville wrestling team's league dual against Milwaukie. The sophomore defeated Jason Williamson by fall in 4:23.Justin Hamilton didn’t expect it to be so lopsided.

Indeed, the Wilsonville wrestling team’s league finale against Milwaukie was nowhere near a blowout when he took the mat.

But Hamilton won by fall in dominant fashion on senior night, and his teammates followed his lead in a 51-24 rout.

“I thought it was going to be pretty close,” Hamilton said. “This turned out way better than I thought.”

The victory provided a powerful dose of momentum for the Wildcats, who wrapped up their Northwest Oregon Conference slate with a 3-4 record. They also defeated Putnam and Parkrose in regular-season duals.

It’s now up to Wilsonville to channel that momentum as it prepares for the district tournament, which will be held Feb. 21-22 at WHS.

The top four placers in each weight class will secure berths to the OSAA championships, which are slated for Feb. 28 and March 1 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

In the previous six seasons under coach Jason Milham, the Wildcats have produced 28 state qualifiers, including five district champions, as well as seven state placers and two finalists.

But the extent to which this year’s roster can add to those totals is guesswork — even for Milham.

“Some years you know you’ve got X-number of guys who you think are going to state, and I think the deal with us this year is that we don’t know what that number is,” he said. “There are two or three who have a great shot to go, but there are another five or six or seven who — right day, right tournament, right draw — all have a great opportunity. This weekend should be a lot of fun.”

For Hamilton, the district meet will likely mean another meeting with Sherwood rival Ryan Jurgens.

Last year, Hamilton defeated Jurgens 13-9 during the regular season before losing to him by fall in 5 minutes 14 seconds in the 195-pound semifinals of the NWOC tournament.

This season, Hamilton has lost both of his bouts against the defending district champion. He was pinned in 1:50 during a Dec. 6 tournament at Hillsboro-Glencoe, and he lost a rematch in 1:16 in the title bout of a Jan. 4 tournament at Portland-Cleveland.

“My two run-ins with him this year haven’t been too good,” Hamilton said. “But I hope to see him at districts again.”

Added Milham: “Jurgens is a big, strong, physical kid, and so is Justin. For (Hamilton) to beat him, he’s got to circle and move and make Jurgens work. It’s a very winnable match. We know he can beat him — he’s done it. It’s all about getting in the right mindset and taking Jurgens out of what he does. But we’ve got to get there first.”

Hamilton demonstrated he was among the league’s best wrestlers in his weight class this season. He went 6-1 in NWOC matches, earning all six victories by fall.

He enters the district meet, which Wilsonville is hosting for the first time since 2009, on the heels of a dual against Milwaukie in which he and his teammates won eight of the 12 contested matches.

Heading into their conference finale, the Wildcats had reason to believe it would be tightly contested.

Their thrilling 35-33 triumph over the Mustangs last year came despite losses in the final seven matches, including a heavyweight bout in which then-freshman Tony Munoz avoided being pinned to secure his team’s victory. This season, the teams’ results against St. Helens were exactly the same: 41-39 setbacks.

Wilsonville’s meeting with Milwaukie came just 24 hours after its tough loss to Sandy in a match that was postponed from Feb. 6 to Feb. 12 due to inclement travel weather.

But neither the modified schedule nor the 61-14 drubbing at the hands of the Pioneers dampened Hamilton’s spirits.

“I felt like we could definitely win this dual,” he said.

Leading just 15-12 through five matches, the Wildcats pulled away with an impressive 36-0 run that included five victories by fall.

Hamilton started the surge by pinning Cody Neuhaus in 1:27. Fellow senior Sam Garrison (220) kept it going by putting Clay Bispham on his back, also in 1:27.

Munoz then defeated Jason Williamson by fall in 4:23, Mickey Cavello (106) beat the first-round buzzer with a pin of Jacob Elizares in 2:00 and Matthew Taylor (120) finished off Jacob Hickey in 1:13.

The streak also included a win by forfeit for Andrew Love (113).

“We got a little momentum rolling, guys started getting falls and feeding off of each other and it went in a real positive direction,” Milham said. “It just came down to momentum. Things just started to roll for us, and it’s hard to stop momentum sometimes.”

Three other Wilsonville wrestlers were victorious against the Mustangs. Josiah Day (145) defeated Justin Edwards by 11-4 decision, Austin Warr (152) pinned Mountain Witzel in 2:13 and Jakob Fulbright (170) ousted Todd Sjullie by fall in 4:47.



Wilsonville 51, Milwaukie 24

Feb. 13 at Wilsonville High School

145: Josiah Day (W) d. Justin Edwards 11-4

152: Austin Warr (W) d. Mountain Witzel fall 2:13

160: River Meyer (M) d. Kevin Kielty fall :30

170: Jakob Fulbright (W) d. Todd Sjullie fall 4:47

182: David Ferguson (M) d. Blake Redmon fall 1:25

195: Justin Hamilton (W) d. Cody Neuhaus fall 1:27

220: Sam Garrison (W) d. Clay Bispham fall 1:27

285: Tony Munoz (W) d. Jason Williamson fall 4:23

106: Mickey Cavello (W) d. Jacob Elizares fall 2:00

113: Andrew Love (W) wins by forfeit

120: Matthew Taylor (W) d. Jacob Hickey fall 1:13

126: Dre Edwards (M) wins by forfeit

132: Jordan Ostrander (M) d. Tristan Greco 4-2

138: Chris Burton (M) d. Colin Cubbage 15-9



A look at Wilsonville’s seven NWOC duals:

Dec. 19: WILSONVILLE 66, Putnam 15

Dec. 19: St. Helens 41, WILSONVILLE 39

Jan. 15: Sherwood 48, WILSONVILLE 30

Jan. 23: LIBERTY 44, Wilsonville 21

Jan. 30: Wilsonville 38, PARKROSE 32

Feb. 12: Sandy 61, WILSONVILLE 14

Feb. 13: WILSONVILLE 51, Milwaukie 24



A look at Justin Hamilton’s seven NWOC duals:

d. Putnam’s Doug Fry fall 1:42

d. St. Helens’ James Poland fall :33

d. Sherwood’s Martin Layna fall 3:13

d. Liberty’s Jose Alaguna fall 1:21

d. Parkrose’s Kapree Murray fall 1:43

l. to Sandy’s Devin White fall 3:35

d. Milwaukie’s Cody Neuhaus fall 1:27

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