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LO grapplers make strides

Even with a debilitating bout of the stomach flu, Lake Oswego wrestling coach Chad Smith couldn't come up with enough good things to say about what his team has accomplished recently.

'This has been the most fun and exciting year of coaching I've had. The effort of every kid is at 100 percent,' Smith said.

A successful trip to San Diego over Christmas break led to a terrific dual meet against Putnam. That preceded a 52-31 dual meet victory over South Salem and, most recently, a third-place showing at the Sherwood tournament last weekend.

Nine different wrestlers placed at the event as the team finished just behind Sheridan and the hosts from Sherwood. At 119 pounds, Lake Oswego's Dakota Hulsey won his bracket.

Kyle Allison finished second for the Lakers at 135 pounds and teammate Brandon Vance also turned in a second-place showing at 112 pounds.

Lake Oswego also did well in the upper weights. John Clanton took third at 215 pounds while, in the heavyweight division, Ryan Amacher also came in third.

But the Lakers' entire squad wrestled well at the event in what may be the high point so far in an already good season.

'When they announced that we came in third, our team cheered louder than the Sherwood team that finished second,' Smith said.

Although the season is still far from over, Smith is ecstatic about what he has seen and heard from his team this season.

The Lakers are gearing up for the stretch run which will include a full slate of matches. Tonight (Thursday) Lake Oswego will take on Lakeridge. The Lakers also have meets against Clackamas and West Linn, two of the best teams in the league, and a tournament at Hood River before the district meet.

If the team wrestles well, Smith believes that its not out of the question to think the Lakers could send three or four wrestlers on to state.

No matter what happens at districts, Smith and the rest of the Laker wrestling team, is thrilled about the program's future. Out of 21 wrestlers currently on the team, only two are seniors and those who have limited or no previous wrestling experience are learning at a quick pace.

'Our guys truly believe that in the next four or five years they can win the Three Rivers League. I know those are lofty goals but that's what the kids are talking about and that's something you never would have expected out of Lake Oswego wrestling before,' Smith said.