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Metro wrestling sends 22 grapplers to state

by: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Westview senior Joel Timmons will go to state for the fourth straight year after winning the 126-pound bracket at the Special District One Championships.

FOREST GROVE - Area wrestling powers converged on Forest Grove High School for the second and final day of the OSAA 6A Special District 1 State Qualifying Tournament on Saturday.

When all was said and done, 22 Metro League wrestlers grappled their way into this weekend’s State Tournament at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

Sunset qualified the most competitors with seven, while Aloha (six), Southridge (five) and Westview (three) followed behind. Beaverton senior Torben Billow was the lone Beaver to reach state.

Perhaps the most impressive individual performance came from Warrior senior Maurice McSwain, who cruised through the 170-pound bracket, winning by three major decisions and a fall. The top-seeded competitor also earned the honor of most outstanding wrestler for the tournament.

“I was not going to let all my hard work go to waste,” McSwain said. He added that he was ready to redeem himself following a disqualification at last year’s state tournament. Although he arguably deserves higher, McSwain will be a fourth seed in the 16-wrestler bracket when State begins Friday.

Another fantastic Metro League performance came from first-seed, Apollo junior Spencer Stokes, who zipped through the 138-pound group with two major decisions, a technical fall, and a fall. He beat Southridge’s Nicholas Piwonka, 17-8, in the final. With his second place finish, Piwonka will also be hitting the mats this weekend at the Coliseum

“I like to take every match the same,” Stokes said. “I plan to be in the finals (at state). That’s my goal.”

Stokes will be in the final if his projected number-one seed for State holds true to form. He is the only Metro League wrestler with a top seed going into this weekend.

Westview senior Joel Timmons, yet another top seed at Forest Grove, grabbed his fourth consecutive 120-pound district title. He knocked off fellow state-qualifier Luke Batten of Sunset by a 6-2 decision in the championship match. Timmons will look to capture his first State title as a third seed beginning Friday.

by: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Aloha's Maurice McSwain won the 170-pound bracket at the Special District One Championship Meet on Saturday, punching his ticket to the state meet.

Top-seeded Aloha sophomore Cortez Rodelo (third seed at state) was dominant in grabbing the 285-pound division title with four consecutive falls. He pinned Westview junior Noah Spencer in Saturday’s final and joined McSwain to give the Warriors two district champions, matched only by Westview, which grabbed its second championship on the strength of senior Eli Hirning’s three falls and a decision at 220 pounds. Hirning, a senior, defeated another Metro League State qualifier, Sunset junior Kincaid Crile, in the semifinals on Saturday.

Regarding this weekend, Hirning said: “I’m really going to focus on practice and practice hard. I’m going to try to not over think it. I’m going to be explosive and in attack mode.”

Billow, battling in the 145-pound bracket, clinched his trip to the Coliseum with a semifinal pin of Sunset’s Matthew Vanbrabant, who also qualified for State with a third-place finish in his weight division. Billow injured his right shoulder during the match, but should be ready to go Friday.

“He’s pretty strong,” Billow said of Vanbrabant, “I was just trying to keep good position.” Billow added that he really didn’t care too much about the final match, as his berth in the state tournament had already been secured. He ended up losing by fall to Ryley Bilderbeck of Century and finished second.

by: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Sunsets Spencer Stokes said his goal at the 6A state championships is to reach the finals, after winning the 138-pound bracket at the Special District One Championships.

Aloha’s other state qualifiers were seniors Cason Wight (138 pounds) and Joe Kovachevich (182), junior Ryan Schwartz and sophomore Luis Torres (152).

Wight lost to Stokes in the semifinals before finishing fourth, Kovachevich was defeated in the finals, and Schwartz and Torres finished third and fourth, respectively, in their weight class.

State participants from Sunset will also include junior Quin Bingham (132), and seniors Logan Lachenmeier and Nathan Burnett (160).

Bingham lost his second match, but made an impressive run through the losers bracket to finish third on Saturday.

Burnett narrowly missed winning his division, after losing a tight 2-1 decision to Hillsboro’s Hunter Morse in the final. Lachenmeier, on the other hand, came out on top of a similarly close battle when he defeated Clayton Sargeant of Glencoe, 3-2, for third place.

Also representing the Skyhawks in the Glass Palace this weekend will be Joseph McRae (170), Alexander James (182), and Tyler Cox (220). McRae unashamedly lost a major decision to McSwain in the semifinals and ended up in fourth place, James took third with a 9-7 decision over Isaac Nakamoto of Hillsboro, and Cox bounced back from an early loss to finish third.

When it came to final team scores, Sunset finishing fourth (208 points) behind first-place Hillsboro (358), Southridge (203) grabbed fifth, Aloha (196) took sixth, Westview (135.5) seventh, and Beaverton (106) ninth.



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