District meet next for wrestlers
It's slated to be one of the most wide open district wrestling meets in years and it could be a historic one for Lakeridge's and Lake Oswego's programs.
Each team is hoping to be represented at state and this Friday and Saturday will determine just how much representation there will be.
The Pacers have five wrestlers seeded in the top four of their respective brackets and, with a good day: 'We could have more wrestlers at state than we had on the team last year,' coach Bret Stamper said with a laugh.
Tyrell Fortune will look to win his first Three Rivers League title at 215 pounds after winning a state championship for Parkrose last year. He is undefeated this year and is naturally the top seed in his bracket.
His brother Tyree is seeded second at heavyweight which is one of the most competitive weight classes in the league. Tyree has had close matches with the top seed and the number three seed this year, falling most recently to his opponent from Oregon City. But Stamper believes that the result could be different at the district meet.
'There were a few close matches (against Oregon City) where I think will see the reverse result at districts,' Stamper said.
Ben Shipley is the third seed at 130 pounds, giving him a strong chance to crack the top-three and earn a berth at state. Meanwhile, Phil Rogers at 125 pounds and Taylor London at 160 pounds are each ranked fourth.
Rogers has lost a few close matches this season which dropped him in the rankings including a match against the second-seeded Putnam wrestler. Rogers was winning the match handily until an untimely reversal cost him the decision last in the third round.
'Phil had some tough matches. I think he has the potential to beat anyone in the tournament (at 125 pounds),' Stamper said.
London is coming off an impressive victory against Oregon City. His win along with Tyrell Fortune's were the only ones garnered by the Pacers against the league's top team.
Meanwhile, Jeff Saporito at 152 pounds and Mike Tavarres at 140 pounds have the potential to play the role of spoiler in an attempt to crack the top three.
'This is it. This I what we've been training for. The whole season has been one long learning process. Getting something like five guys to state would be phenomenal,' Stamper said.
For Lake Oswego, the team was dealt a blow late last week when David Shin suffered an injury to his bicep and won't be competing in the district tournament. He would have been the top seed at 125 pounds.
Lake Oswego's only other seeded wrestler is Max D'Annibale at 152 pounds. D'Annibale is ranked second in a competitive bracket and has been gearing up for this meet all year.
'It'd be awesome. If Max wrestlers like he's capable of he should do very well,' Laker coach Chad Smith said.
The Lakers have a handful of other wrestlers who will be upset-minded as they head into the meet at Oregon City this Friday and Saturday.
'I think, in some cases, it's good not to be seeded because you don't have those expectations and that pressure,' Smith said.
In Lake Oswego's last dual meet of the season, the team lost to West Linn but D'Annibale and Khashi Jafair, at 215 pounds each picked up victories. The district meet will start at 2 p.m. on Friday and the semifinals and finals will be held on Saturday.