Wrestling: Walter Blice and Nathan Andrews place for Tualatin at the state tournament
SALEM - The Tualatin High School wrestling team had a strong finish to the season.
And, the Timberwolves say, things are going to be even better next year.
The young Tualatin team, which had a pair of placers at the Class 6A state tournament, already has its eyes set on the 2007-2008 season.
'I'm definitely looking forward to next year,' Tualatin sophomore Walter Blice said Saturday after winning his 112-pound fifth-place match at the state tourney. 'It should be good. Almost all of us will be back.'
With Blice and freshman Nathan Andrews leading the way, the Wolves finished in 26th place, with 25 points, in the team standings at the state tournament, which was held at the Pavilion at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.
'It was a great year,' said Andrews, who placed sixth in the 103-pound weight class. 'Placing at state has been one of my goals all year.'
Blice, on his way to earning fifth place, had to battle back from a tough start as he lost 3-2 to Dylan Fauver of Grants Pass in a first-round tournament match.
'I didn't wrestle well in my first match,' Blice said. 'But it was a good wake-up.'
In the consolation bracket, Blice pinned Jacob Clifton of North Salem in a time of 2 minutes and 31 seconds in a first-round match. In the consolation second round, Blice scored a 10-2 major decision win over Eric Von Wagoner of Westview.
Blice kept things rolling with an 8-7 decision win over Frank Tran of Reynolds in a consolation quarterfinals match. In the consolation semifinals, the Tualatin sophomore was pinned by Kyle Fung of David Douglas. That put him in the fifth, sixth-place match, where he faced Blake Borsberry of West Salem.
Blice grabbed a 2-0 lead over Borsberry on a takedown coming with just 11 seconds left in the first round. But Borsberry was awarded a penalty point in the second round and he scored on an escape with nine seconds left in the round to tie the match at 3-3 going into the third round.
Blice took control again, grabbing a 4-2 lead on a reversal coming with 1:11 left in the match.
'I knew I had to get it done,' he said.
Borsberry cut the lead to 4-3 on an escape coming with 23 second remaining, but Blice wrapped up his 6-3 victory on a takedown coming with five seconds left.
'I'm happy, but not satisfied,' Blice said after the victory. 'It's motivation for next year. I'm going to work even harder. This will set me up for the next two years.'
Andrews, wrestling in his first state tournament, also had to battle back from an opening loss as he fell 5-1 to Don Paulson of West Linn in a first-round match.
Andrews bounced back to pin Casey Young of Southridge in 2:05 in a consolation first-round match. He then scored a 9-0 major decision win over Dan Faas of Roseburg. He followed that up with a 7-4 decision win over Tim Constien of Gresham.
In the consolation semifinals, Andrews scored a 7-6 decision victory over James Roberts of Canby, getting the winning point on an escape in the third round.
'That was my biggest win,' Andrews said. 'It was a great match.'
In the consolation semifinals Andrews fell 8-1 to Marcus Morris of David Douglas. In the fifth, sixth-place match Andrews lost 13-2 to Steven Evans of Roseburg.
'The experience will help,' Andrews said. 'Next year, I'll be ready. I'll know what to expect.'
Tualatin junior Travis Gamache, at 140 pounds, came close to making it to the tourney semifinals. He opened with a 5-2 win over Jordan Adamson of Barlow in a pigtail round match. Then he posted a 10-4 win over Brent Graham of Wilson in a first-round bout.
In the quarterfinals, Gamache was edged 5-3 in overtime by Colin Hanlin of Grants Pass. Gamache then lost to Andi Hari of McNary in a consolation match.
Tualatin freshman Dillon Carbajal, at 130 pounds, was edged 2-1 by Adam Clinton of Clackamas in a first-round match. He then fell to Sean Baker of Hood River Valley. Tualatin senior 285-pounder Jake Wakefield lost both of his matches at the state tournament. Wakefield was the only senior in Tualatin's varsity lineup this year.
'We're looking strong for next year,' Andrews said. 'It's going to be great.'
Roseburg won the Class 6A team championship.