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Wrestlers take to the beach

A leap into the Tualatin River should have been a requirement of all competitors in the beach wrestling tournament last Saturday at the West Linn Fair.

It was bad enough that temperatures soared over 100 degrees that day. By the end of the two-hour event, virtually all of the approximate 40 competitors were not only coated in sweat but a layer of sand as well.

It hardly looked like a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon but most of the competitors seemed to be having a blast.

The tournament was organized by West Linn wrestling coach Doug Samarron, who won the state beach wrestling championship last summer. That tournament, which was held in Bandon last year and Seaside this year, is the only wrestling event of its kind in Oregon. Samarron decided that wasn't enough.

'I wanted to have a beach wrestling tournament here, so I proposed it to the city. And they made it happen,' the coach said.

The city and S and H Logging joined forces to provide the sand, and presto, Samarron was in business.

The only problem was Saturday's event was held the same day that many of the top wrestlers in the state were heading to North Dakota for the national wrestling championships.

'I would have liked to have seen twice as many people,' Samarron said of the turnout. 'But the timing really wasn't that good.'

The trip to nationals meant that West Linn's Prescott Garner and Brandon LaDick had to skip Samarron's event, but most of the remainder of the West Linn team was on hand on Saturday.

Possibly the two biggest stars of the day were the brother tandem of Chase and Lane Locke, who both had to compete in the open male division. They wrestled each other three times with Chase winning twice. The tiebreaker between the two wound up being for the overall title, and Chase, the older of the two, came out on top after registering two hard-earned takedowns.

Lane, who decisively beat his brother one time, just as easily could have won the tournament. They were the most entertaining matches of the event and gave a glimpse what their lives at home might have been like when they were growing up.

'They're very competitive when they're on the mat,' Samarron said of the Locke brothers. 'Chase won't give his little brother anything. But he's the most supportive guy for his little brother. That's the way they've always been.'

Fast-paced beach wrestling can be fun to watch but, with wrestlers only needing to score two times to win, matches are often over almost as soon as they start. That's part of why it's so fun, Samarron said.

'A lot of matches can happen in a short period of time, so it's highly entertaining,' the coach said.

'Today, I thought we'd just have some fun at the fair and expose wrestling to some people … Who knows, maybe this will help build for next year.'