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Tigers step up at state

Wrestling: Howe, Mangum, Field-Eaton and Kennedy all play at the Class 6A championships
by: DAN BROOD, YEAH! — Tigard senior Andy Howe celebrates his victory in the 135-pound third-place match at the state tourney on Saturday.

SALEM - Andy Howe had a big smile on his face and his fists raised up high in the air.

Needless to say, the Tigard High School senior was pretty darn delighted.

And with good reason.

After all, he just ended his high school wrestling career by beating a top seed in the 135-pound third-place match at the state tournament.

'I'm on top of the world right now,' Howe said Saturday following his 4-2 win over No. 1 seed Brendan Connolly of Westview in the third place match at the Class 6A state tourney. 'This feels so great. I'm so happy. It was my last high school match and I beat the No. 1 seed. It was an awesome way to end.'

Howe was one of four Tigard wrestlers to earn a spot on the award stand at the Class 6A state tournament, which ended Saturday at the Pavilion at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.

'We haven't had that many placers in a long time,' said Tigard senior Brent Mangum, who placed fifth at 140-pounds. 'It's definitely something to be proud of. This season was a lot of fun.'

Tigard, despite having just five wrestlers competing at the state tournament, finished in 17th place in the team standings with 42 points.

'I'm pleased and happy for everyone on the team,' Howe said.

Howe, on his way to third place, opened the tournament by scoring a 5-1 decision victory over Shon Shilki of Barlow in a first round match. In the quarterfinals, Howe was pinned by eventual 135-pound state champ Jacob Morris of Oregon City.

But the Tigard senior wouldn't lose again.

Howe came back from the setback to score a 6-4 decision win over Sam Mecham of Roseburg in a consolation bracket second-round match. He then edged Gustavo Bessa of West Linn 3-2 in the consolation quarterfinals. Howe then scored yet another hard-fought victory, downing Matt Anderson of David Douglas, 6-5 in overtime, in the consolation semifinals.

That put him in the third-place match against Connolly.

'Before the match, the coaches said `you can beat anyone,'' Howe said. 'I went in confident, but not cocky.'

After a scoreless first round, Howe took a 1-0 lead in the third-place match with an escape coming with 1 minute and 32 seconds left in the second round. Howe then notched a takedown with 42 seconds in the round to up his lead to 3-0. Connolly came back with an escape to make the score 3-1 going into the final round.

The Westview senior got even closer, at 3-2, when he was awarded a stall point with 1:07 left in the match. With just 48 seconds left, Howe scored on an escape to make the score 4-2. From there, he battled his way to the two-point victory.

'That was a dogfight,' Howe said. 'It was survival of the fittest.'

For Mangum, placing fifth at the state tournament marked a payoff of four years of hard work.

'My freshman year I won maybe three JV matches,' he said. 'To go from there to here is an amazing feeling. The blood, sweat and tears - it all paid off. To be a district champion and a state placer feels great.'

Mangum opened the tourney with a 6-4 decision win over Austin Thompson of Beaverton. He then downed Beau Bushnell of Grants Pass 10-7 in the quarterfinal round. In the semifinals, Mangum was edged 4-2 by No. 2 seed Brandon LaDick of West Linn.

Mangum then dropped his consolation semifinal match, falling to Jeff Parker of Southridge. That put Magnum in the fifth-place match, which was a rematch against Thompson.

In that match, Mangum took a 2-0 lead on a takedown coming with 37 seconds left in the first round. Thompson countered with an escape, making the score 2-1 going into the second round. Mangum was awarded a penalty point and he also scored on an escape in the second round, upping his lead to 4-1. He recorded a pair of takedowns in the third round on his way to notching an 8-4 victory.

'It was my last match, and that was a weird feeling, but it was nice to go out with a win,' Mangum said.

Tigard senior Sean Field-Eaton powered his way to a seventh-place finish in the 215-pound weight class. He won three of his five matches at the state tournament, including an 11-4 decision victory over Aaron Zelick of Wilson in the seventh-place match.

Field-Eaton recorded five takedowns in his final match.

Tigard senior Marshall Kennedy took eighth place in the 285-pound division. He lost 4-1 to top-seeded Scott Shugert of Oregon City in a first-round match, but came back to win three straight matches on his way to claiming eighth place.

Tigard junior Mike Homma, at 119 pounds, won one of his three state tourney matches.