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Pioneers tame Lions in TRL showdown

Oregon City all but wraps up the TRL dual-meet crown with a 40-19 trouncing of West Linn
by: Craig Mitchelldyer, Oregon City freshman 130-pound wrestler Zach Wallave attempts to escpae from West Linne freshman Travis Schutzler during a 4-0 win. The Pioneers upended the Lions 40-19.

WEST LINN - The Oregon City Pioneers solidified the role of 'favorite' for the 2008 Three Rivers League District Wrestling Tournament last week, as they hammered West Linn in TRL dual action.

The Pioneers defeated the Lions 40-19 on the varsity level and 46-15 in the second varsity meet.

'This means a lot,' said Oregon City senior co-captain Nick Shafer. 'It's my senior year, they're our rivals and we beat them at their house.'

'Our lineup's pretty deep,' said Oregon City junior co-captain Jake Morris. 'Our younger wrestlers went to a frosh/novice meet in Hillsboro and won there, and they won big here tonight.'

'We'll have two tough guys at every weight and that's going to help us out at district…,' said Shafer.

West Linn team co-captain Andrew Kim wasn't very happy with some members of his team.

'A lot of guys put out,' said Kim. 'They showed a lot of heart, wrestled hard for six minutes, and did what they needed to do to win. But there were some guys that didn't wrestle out there with heart tonight.'

Still, Kim said he was not ready to concede the district meet to Oregon City.

'We still have a chance,' he said. 'We could surprise some people. We've got a lot of young people that can do good if they work hard in practice.'

Last week's win may have marked the beginning of the end of West Linn's dynasty in Three Rivers League wrestling, because Oregon City has a very young team. The Pioneers had only two seniors in their 14-man varsity lineup in last week's dual with the Lions.

The Lions are 11-time defending district champions and, until 2006 they had won at least a share of the TRL dual title for five consecutive seasons. They won the league dual-meet title last year, but Oregon City won the dual title in 2006, ending a West Linn league unbeaten string at 39 straight dual meets.

'[This dual win over West Linn] means a lot more than the one in 2006,' said Morris. 'Back then I was a freshman and I didn't really know what was going on. To beat them this big at their place, this is huge!'

Oregon City's intensity and aggressiveness played a major role in breaking the meet open. West Linn won six of the 13 matches contested on the mat, but all of the Lions' wins were by decision.

Oregon City won four matches by fall and a fifth match by major decision.

'Our mantra was relentless, focused intensity,' said Oregon City coach Roger Rolen. 'Every wrestler gave it their all to the end. It was definitely a team effort.'

Oregon City freshman Brady Fischer (103) got his team fired up early, when he earned a quick pin over West Linn sophomore Sam Ihrig in the meet's first match.

Fischer scored a takedown just nine seconds into the match and he earned the fall with 21 seconds remaining in the first round.

'I told Brady Fischer we needed six points from him,' said Rolen.

West Linn defending district champions Donald Paulson (112) and Kim (119) followed with favorable decisions, but they had their hands full in earning their wins. Paulson won 4-0 over Oregon City junior Tyler Winslow and Kim earned a controversial 11-9 win over Oregon City sophomore Jordan Brewer. Brewer had tied the score at 9-9 - scoring a 3-point nearfall - with just 25 seconds remaining. He lost the match when he was dinged with a questionable stalling call with seven seconds left.

It was the battle of freshmen at 125 and at 130, and Oregon City rookies Robert Brown (125) and Zach Wallace (130) proved themselves better than their Lion counterparts.

Nursing a 3-1 lead midway through the second round, Brown reversed West Linn freshman Brian Schiewe to his back and pinned him.

Wallace defeated West Linn freshman Travis Schutzler 4-0, scoring through a second-round reversal and an early third-round takedown.

Wallace's win put Oregon City up 15-6, and the Pioneers' were in the driver's seat the rest of the way.

West Linn sophomore Logan Krellwitz kept the Lions' hopes alive, scoring a late third-round takedown for a 7-5 win over Oregon City junior Travis Snow at 135.

But Oregon City junior Sam Wallace (140) followed with a third-round fall over West Linn sophomore Thomas Rasmussen, stretching the Pioneer lead to 21-9.

Oregon City junior John Newman (145) suffered a tough 7-6 loss to West Linn senior Devan Schiewe.

But Morris (152) followed with a quick fall over West Linn senior Austin Cerny to gain the Pioneers a 27-12 lead, and all-but wrap up the meet.

A Lion forfeit for lack of a competitor at 160 upped the gap to 33-12, meaning the Lions would need falls or lopsided wins in the four remaining matches to rally for a win.

Oregon City sophomore Jean-Claude Guadiz was outmatched at 171. But he battle valiantly to the end, and West Linn sophomore 171-pounder Michael McClanathan had to settle with a major decision.

Shafer followed with a 9-3 decision over West Linn senior Emerson Helbling at 189, and the meet was in the bag.

Oregon City junior Mitchell Wilhelmi (215) dominated West Linn junior Bob Brady, winning 12-1, to round out the Pioneers' scoring.

West Linn junior Mitch Gaulke pushed Oregon City senior John Frost around all through their match, but settled with a 7-1 decision.

'They are the top guys this year,' Gaulke said of the Pioneers. 'Everyone's going to be fighting after them [at district].'

The win all but wrapped up the dual-meet championship for the Pioneers, because it put them at 4-0 in league duals, with TRL dual matches remaining only with two of the league's weaker teams, Putnam (1-3) and Lakeridge (0-2-1).

The Pioneers host Putnam this Thursday.

With the loss, West Linn slipped to 2-1 in league. The Lions have yet to wrestle Milwaukie (3-1), Lake Oswego (1-2) and Lakeridge.