Seeding, schmeeding: Kim upends stats
West Linn junior Matt Kim needed several minutes to calm down after his victory in the 119-pound final at the OSAA Class 4A state wrestling tournament.
Kim, who didn't even place in the top eight as a sophomore, roared through the bracket and won the final over Redmond's Travis Ralls 9-0 on Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.
'I knew it all the time: I was going to win the state title,' said Kim, who was seeded sixth in the 27-wrestler draw. 'I knew the seedings were messed up because I had beaten some guys who were seeded ahead of me.
'And I knew it doesn't matter what you've done during the season. It only matters how well you finish.'
Kim's title helped West Linn finish second in the team standings behind Crater. The Lions already appear to be a strong contender to win their first state title next season because six underclassmen, including Kim, won trophies.
Alec Zachman (third at 125), Brandon Goss (fifth at 145), Nick Locke (seventh at 171) and Mac Gerber (eighth at 275) are all juniors, and Prescott Garner (seventh at 103) is a freshman.
The seedings might not have held up at 119 pounds, but they did at 112, where top-seeded Bee Yang of Centennial met second-seeded Trevor Lofstedt of Roseburg in the final. Both were returning state champions, Yang at 112 and Lofstedt at 103. Lofstedt won 6-4, helping Roseburg to finish third in the team standings.
Other metro-area individual champions included sophomore Marty Eng of Newberg (103 pounds), senior Shaun Dee of Southridge (189), senior John Bates of Oregon City (215) and senior Charles Beasley of Gresham (275).
Competitors from the Portland Interscholastic League improved significantly from last year, when the top finisher took eighth place. Madison junior Andy Jackson finished third at 145, Benson sophomore Peter Herbert was fifth at 103, Benson senior Nick Landon was seventh at 112, and Cleveland senior Brock Luedtke was fifth at 152.
Herbert says he's looking forward to wrestling over the summer and improving for next year.
'I wrestled last summer and that helped me out a lot,' he says. 'I think I'll go back to that and try harder.'
David Douglas did just about everything it could in the Class 4A girls championship, but McMinnville ended up winning its second straight title Saturday at Oregon State.
The Scots, who haven't won a boys title since 1985 and haven't won a girls title since 1981, finished second in all three relays, and senior Jenni Stratton won the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races.
The St. Mary's duo of Rachael Meagher and Franny Cyphers, who had the fastest qualifying times in the 100 butterfly, performed admirably, finishing second and fourth, respectively.
On the boys' side, Reynolds sophomore Kyle Maese was a two-event winner, taking the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly, an impressive pair of wins because the events are contested back-to-back.
The second round of the Class 4A state playoffs are set for Wednesday, with a number of games scheduled around the metro area. Barring early upsets, Saturday's third round has the potential for a dynamic lineup of games, including Lincoln at Southridge, Lake Oswego at Tualatin, Tigard at Central Catholic and the big one, Jesuit at Oregon City.
Those home gyms probably will be full. In pervious years, those games would have come in the first round of the 16-team state tournament at the Chiles Center. This year, though, the tourney has been reduced to eight teams, so only Saturday's winners will advance.
All of Saturday's games will be played with plenty of fanfare, though, which is something that didn't accompany the first round of the 16-team state tournament. Half of those games were played before 5 p.m.
Jefferson, also a state contender, has had two players honored recently. Senior Brittney Davis has been nominated for the McDonald's All-American High School team. Sophomore Simone Jordan has been invited to apply for a spot in the USA Basketball system. The USA Basketball Youth Development Festival is set for June 16-20 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The playoffs essentially begin tonight for the Lincoln Cardinals, the defending PIL champions. They face Benson at home and play at Jefferson on Wednesday, needing two wins to secure at least a playoff for the district's No. 4 seed to the state playoffs.
Grant fans knew the challenge ahead of Lincoln when they chanted 'No more playoffs' at the end of the Generals' 66-48 victory over the Cardinals on Friday.
Grant senior Nick Green says Friday's win helped his teammates recover from a loss last Tuesday to Benson, which swept the season series with Grant.
'We got back on track,' Green says. 'We definitely see ourselves as a state title contender.'
Lincoln isn't alone in struggling to repeat its success. Hillsboro, which reached the state title game last year, is dueling with Century and Beaverton for the No. 4 seed in the Metro League. The Spartans play tonight at Aloha, the league's third-place team, and host Beaverton on Friday.