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Warriors drop Hawks, win Metro crown again


Aloha's 45-27 victory gives the team its fourth straight title

by: MILES VANCE - SILHOUETTES - Aloha senior Ryan Papenfuhs (left) and Southridge junior Travis Johnson battled into overtime at 220 pounds before Papenfuhs finally escaped with a 3-2 victory at Southridge High School on Jan. 31.

BEAVERTON — The end of the Metro League wrestling season is here, and the Warriors once again said “Aloha” to the rest of the league’s teams.

Aloha wrapped up its fourth straight Metro League crown last week, muscling past Southridge 45-27 at Southridge High School on Jan. 31 to finish an unbeaten run against the Metro’s four other teams.

“It was great. The atmosphere was awesome,” said Southridge senior Michael Kluge, who notched a second-round pin at 285 pounds. “We’re four-time Metro champions so it’s a good history.”

“It seems like every year it boils down to this one. I love wrestling” against Southridge, added Aloha senior Johnny Krahel, who won a hard-fought decision at 170 pounds. “It’s a showdown so it’s nice to come out with a ‘W’ in this kind of atmosphere.”

For Aloha, which closes out the regular season at Century tonight (Thursday) at 7 p.m., the win over the Skyhawks lifted its Metro record to 4-0 and its regional record to 5-2. Southridge, meanwhile, closes its season at 7 p.m. tonight at Westview, and moved to 2-1 in Metro action and 5-4 in regionals.

“Some individuals came out, but we just didn’t have all 14 of the guys come out and compete,” said Southridge senior 182-pounder Matt McRae, who won with a first-round pin against Aloha. “We need all 14 of the guys, all the brothers.”by: MILES VANCE - ESCAPE ROUTE - Southridge senior Ben Young tries to get away from Aloha senior Johnny Krahel during Krahel's 7-4 victory at 170 pounds during the two teams' match at Southridge High School on Jan. 31.

The Skyhawks hung in there with the Warriors for a very long time last week, grabbing an early 12-0 lead, pulling ahead again at 21-15, and trailing just 30-27 heading into the final three weights. Southridge kicked its night off with back-to-back pins at 106 and 112 pounds, with Caleb Johnen stopping Aloha’s Omar Murphy near the end of the first period at 106, and Jack Chimenti pinning Alex Ashbrook with eight seconds left in the second round at 113.

But Aloha came back to win the next three matches, with Casey Wight pinning Southridge’s Bennett Hart at 2:23 of their match at 120 pounds, Allan David following with a 3-2 decision over Kyle Koch at 126 (scoring on a reverse with just 29 seconds left in the match), and Ryan Schwartz adding a third-round pin of Emery Shandil at 132 to give the Warriors their first lead of the night at 15-12.

The Skyhawks weren’t done yet, though. Collin Pautz stopped that streak when he got a takedown midway through round three to beat Devin Lenzi 4-3 at 138, and teammate Nicholas Piwonka gave Southridge another win at 145 when he pinned Brian White with eight seconds to go in the third round for a 21-15 Skyhawk lead.

The Warriors answered with another three-match winning streak kicked off by Joey Williams’ 20-second pin of Arman Hastings. Maurice McSwain stepped up next for Aloha, pinning Austin Marlow in 23 seconds at 160 pounds. And Krahel pushed his team’s lead to 30-21 when he notched an escape and a takedown in the third round to beat Ben Young 7-4 at 170.

“I wrestled Young back in middle school. We used to be partners,” Krahel said. “It was a good match. It was a good, hard-fought match.”

McRae stopped the bleeding for Southridge at 182 pounds, stepping up to pin Aloha’s Joe Kovachevich midway through the first round and bringing his team back with just three points at 30-27.

“Every match, I don’t care who I’m wrestling,” McRae said. “I’m on a mission this year to win every match I possibly can my senior year, go as far as I can and be the most successful I can.”

Brwa Khoshnaw responded with a dominating performance at 195 for Aloha, racking up a big lead before pinning Nathan Buell with 26 seconds left in their match at 195 to push the Warriors in front by 36-27.

For the longest time, it looked like the Skyhawks might still have a chance to win in the night’s final weight, because junior Travis Johnson and Aloha senior Ryan Papenfuhs battled all the way into overtime in their match at 220 pounds. After a scoreless first period, Johnson grabbed a 1-0 lead with an escape in the second round, and Papenfuhs answered with an escape of his own in the third period.

In overtime, Johnson escaped again, Papenfuhs tied the match on a Johnson penalty, and Papenfuhs finally won 3-2 with another escape at the end of the round to seal the Warrior win at 39-27.

Kluge then capped the evening when he scored two first-round takedowns against Joseph Rutheford to lead 4-1, then scored another takedown 44 seconds into the second round and pinned Rutheford 29 seconds later.

“He’s a good freshman and I give it up to him for coming out with fight instead of just lying down,” Kluge said.

Now, with the Regional Tournament looming just eight days away — it’s set for noon Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday at Westview High School — both the Warriors and Skyhawks are starting to look forward.

“Our team is peaking at the right time and I’m proud of how we come out and fight every single match,” Krahel said. “It all starts in the room with (coach Stuart) Kearsley just pushing us over the edge. That’s something Kearsley always preaches — we have to hit our peak at the end of the season.”

“I want as a team for us to get as many placers as we can and as many people to state,” Kluge said. “And my goal is to be district champion again.”

“We’ve been putting a lot of hard work in as a team, competing as hard as we can, and we’ve just got to be more aggressive,” McRae said. “I’m going for the gold, regional champ. That’s what I’m going for. I’ve put in a lot of hard work over the years ... and I’m just going to do my best, compete as hard as I can and be the most successful I can.”

To see a complete photo gallery from this match, please go to milesvance.exposuremanager.com.