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East County boasts state hopefuls

MHC WRESTLING PREVIEW - David Douglas favored as a team, Barlow's Mick Dougharity is #1 at 220 pounds
by: file photo Barlow’s Mick Dougharity reached the 6A championship round last season and is the highest-ranked returner in the 220-pound class according to the Oregon Wrestling Forum website.

The Mount Hood Conference looks to be a force on the wrestling mats in 2011-12 with a number of state-contenders in the mix and a veteran David Douglas squad looking to avenge its narrow loss at last year's regional tournament.

The Scots led the way through most of the two-day MHC-Three Rivers regional championships last year before being overtaken by Oregon City in the championship round and falling two points short of a team title.

David Douglas appears ready to overtake the Pioneers for that #1 spot this season behind a lineup that returns three regional finalists.

Coaches have tweaked the schedule a bit this season to emphasize the Regional format that came into play to determine state qualifiers last season. The MHC and TRL schools will meet in a series of regular-season double-duals, basically a wrestling doubleheader that pits two schools from each league against each other.

The Mount Hood Conference has also decided to forgo its district tournament, allowing wrestlers to come straight into Regionals at the end of the regular season.

'We've always looked forward to getting all the kids together to compete against each other, so it's disappointing for that reason,' Barlow coach David Head said. 'But last year, we realized there was really no importance in having the tournament, because all the state qualifying depended on Regionals.'

The Three Rivers League dropped its district tournament last season.

The other change has seen each weight class bumped up a few pounds with the lightest weight moving from 103 to 106 pounds. The weight ladder is still broken into 14 divisions.

'They looked at studies that showed most athletes fall into the middle categories,' Gresham coach Zach Enoch said. 'So many teams have to forfeit one or two of those lightweight spots, just because it's easier to find high schoolers in the 150-pound range.'

Look for our full preview in the Dec. 3 edition of The Outlook.