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Warriors get back on top at regionals


The Aloha wrestling team wins back the Special District 1 title

by: CHASE ALLGOOD - TOUGH TEAMMATES - Aloha-s Joey Williams (bottom) battles teammate Johnny Krahel during the championship match at 152 pounds in the Special District 1 Regional Tournament at Westview High School.

ROCK CREEK — Last year, the Aloha wrestling team failed to defend the Special District 1 championship it had won the year before.

Saturday night at Westview High School, the Warriors earned back what they felt was rightfully theirs.

Aloha crowned three district champions and qualified 10 more wrestlers for state en route to a first-place finish at the Special District 1 regional tournament. The Warriors finished with 326 points to narrowly top Hillsboro, which finished second with 324.5 points.

“It’s great because we won regionals my sophomore year, and to win it again is great,” said senior Mike Kluge. “We’re bringing the regional championship back to Aloha where it should be.”

Kluge certainly did his part, winning a district title for the second year in a row. He defeated freshman teammate Cortez Rodelo 6-3 in the 285-pound championship match.

Kluge, who described the feeling as “amazing” and said his goal for state is to “leave it all on the mat,” had high praise for Rodelo afterward.

“Wrestling against a teammate sucks in ways, but it’s good for him, a good experience because he’s only a freshman,” Kluge said. “He’s getting better every match, and I can see him being in a state championship some day.”

The 285-pound championship wasn’t the only title bout between two Aloha teammates.

Senior Joey Williams defeated teammate Johnny Krahel in a thrilling triple-overtime, 152-pound championship match.

“It feels pretty good. It was a pretty tiring match, though,” Williams said. “I haven’t gone that long in a while. We had some bad blood; he needed to get some revenge on me from last year. It was a tough match.”

Williams, the top seed, pinned all three of his opponents on the way to the championship match, including Lincoln’s Luke Fallet in 3:47, Century’s Tyler Bacon in 1:02 and fifth-seeded Sam Price of Glencoe in 1:08. Krahel’s road was a bit tougher, as he barely squeaked by third-seeded Sean Callahan of Glencoe 1-0 in the semifinals.

Both Williams and Krahel were district champions last year — Williams at 138 pounds and Krahel at 152 pounds.

New to the district championship scene was Warrior junior Maurice McSwain, who beat fourth-seeded Carlos Mendez of Century 5-4 in the 160-pound title match.

“It feels great knowing that I worked hard all season,” McSwain said. “I came up short last season by a lot, but just training in the offseason takes you so far.”

McSwain, seeded third, pinned Lincoln’s Brandon Huggins in his first match before defeating Century’s Savon Sengsavanh 14-7 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, McSwain upset two-seed Mitch Messmer of Glencoe 9-4.by: CHASE ALLGOOD - GOT HIM - Aloha's Maurice McSwain picks up Century's Carlos Mendez during his 5-4 championship win at 160 pounds on Saturday night.

McSwain jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the championship match and led 5-2 entering the third period before doing just enough in the final two minutes to hold on for the win.

He credited his teammates for his jump from someone who didn’t make state last year to district champion this year.

“I have great practice partners,” McSwain said. “Johnny and Joey, two regional champs last year, they helped me out a lot.”

Sophomore Ryan Schwartz, wrestling at 132 pounds, and senior Brwa Khoshnaw, wrestling at 195, each notched second-place finishers for the Warriors. Also going to state for Aloha are senior Ryan Papenfuhs, third at 220 pounds, junior Joe Kovachevich, fourth at 182, and junior Casey Wight, fourth at 120.

The Class 6A state tournament begins Friday at 8:30 a.m. at Memorial Coliseum. Session II is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, with Session III to follow at 6:30 p.m.