Oregon City closes in on the TRL dual mat title
by: ROLAND SIMMONS, Oregon City freshman 125-pound wrestler Robert Brown, top, gave the Pioneers a boost last week when he earned a 7-3 decision over Milwaukie senior Donovan Nhoung.

OREGON CITY - The upstart Oregon City Pioneers moved a step closer to the Three Rivers League dual wrestling title on Jan. 3, upending a short-handed team from Milwaukie 52-21.

The win set the stage for a showdown with perennial TRL power West Linn tonight at West Linn. The winner will likely reign as 2008 TRL dual-meet champion.

Oregon City (3-0) and West Linn (2-0) are the only TRL teams still unbeaten in league after last week's dual meets.

'If we wrestle well, I don't think there's a team in the Three Rivers League that can beat us,' Oregon City senior Nick Shafer said, following last week's rout of the Mustangs.

Still, Shafer said he anticipates a hotly contested meet with the Lions.

'It doesn't matter how good our teams are,' said Shafer. 'Every year both teams come in fired up and ready to go. It's going to be a good dual.'

Shafer came through with a pivotal first-round fall over Milwaukie senior Jeff Hubbard to spark his teammates in last week's dual.

Milwaukie gained some momentum when seniors Sean Scott (160) and Keenan McIntire (171) both pinned their Oregon City opponents to pull the Mustangs within 27-21 in the team scoring.

Hubbard came out fired up and nearly pinned Shafer, taking Shafer down to his back in the opening seconds of their match at 189. Fortunately for Shafer, the takedown was out-of-bounds.

A short time later, Shafer took Hubbard down to his back and pinned him. Milwaukie didn't win a match the rest of the way, although there were some competitive matches.

'I guess I overlooked him,' said Shafer, who went from a head-and-arm to an eagle to earn his fall. '[Hubbard] came ready to wrestle. When he took me down, something clicked. I got fired up, I saw my opportunity and I just did it.'

'Nick's been battling that mid-season slump,' said Oregon City coach Roger Rolen. 'It was a good time for him to turn things around.'

Oregon City junior Mitchell Wilhelmi kept the momentum going for the Pioneers when he earned an 18-8 major decision over Milwaukie senior Tim Garcia in an out-and-out brawl at 215.

The two wrestlers took turns throwing one another around through most of the first two rounds. When Wilhelmi escaped with 39 seconds remaining in the second round, it tied the score at 8-8.

Wilhelmi moved on top 10-8 with a takedown in the closing seconds of the second round. And in the third round it was all Wilhelmi, as Garcia appeared to tire.

'I was just trying to stop his head-and-arm and not get caught…,' said Wilhelmi. 'That was definitely a confidence-booster for me.'

Oregon City senior John Frost, who was filling in for injured teammate Jared Carr, followed with a 5-1 decision over Milwaukie junior Eric Entrikin at heavyweight, and it was all over.

'John wrestled one of his better matches,' said Rolen. 'He was up a weight, but he wrestled with intensity. He's one of our senior leaders and he showed the same leadership that he demonstrates every day in the practice room.'

Oregon City sophomore 119-pounder Jordan Brewer got the momentum going Oregon City's way early when he dominated Milwaukie sophomore Chris Elam en route to a third-round fall in the first match of the dual meet.

Wrestling fans had anticipated a better match, because Elam had placed third at district at 112 in 2007. Brewer led 4-0 at the end of the first round and 11-0 heading into the final period.

'Jordan worked hard over the summer and it's paying off,' said Rolen.

Brewer sat out a good part of the 2006-07 season nursing an injury.

Oregon City freshman standout Robert Brown dominated Milwaukie senior Donovan Nhoung in a 7-3 favorable decision at 125, and the Pioneers were on their way.

Oregon City freshman Brady Fischer (103) and Pioneer junior Jake Morris (152) earned the quickest falls of the night. It took Fischer just 41 seconds to dispatch with Milwaukie junior Cody Balogh, and it took Morris just 1:10 to pin Milwaukie senior Mike Frangipani.

'Some of our wrestlers came out and wrestled scared, and they got what they deserved,' said Milwaukie coach Dan Williamson. 'Some of our wrestlers came out and wrestled with heart and they also got what they deserved. And three forfeits didn't help either.'

The Mustangs spotted the Pioneers 18 points because of injury and illness-related forfeits at 112, 130 and 140.

Among those missing from the Mustang lineup were junior Robert Torgersen, who placed third at district at 140 a year ago; and junior Nick Keser, who placed fourth at district at 119 in 2007.

Milwaukie senior Aaron Farwell (145) turned in one of the more impressive performances for the Mustangs, earning a 5-2 decision over Oregon City junior John Newman.

Farwell went up 2-1 with a late second-round takedown. He escaped and then took Newman down midway through the third round to go up 5-1 and put the match on ice.

'Newman's a good kid,' said Williamson. 'Aaron did a good job.'

Oregon City freshman Vince Williams gave Milwaukie junior Jake Levy a run for his money, but got pinned midway through the third round. The score was tied at 2-2 midway through the second period.

With the loss, Milwaukie slipped to 2-1 in league duals. The Mustangs return to action tonight at Putnam (1-2).

Looking ahead to tonight's showdown with West Linn, Shafer said, 'The key will be being physical. Going at them and not letting up. Bringing it to them, wrestling physical all three rounds, six minutes.'

Tonight's varsity meet is scheduled to begin at 7:30.

West Linn last week eked out a 33-31 dual win over Clackamas. Oregon City topped Clackamas 44-21 in mid-December.

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