The Pioneer sophomore bags prep wrestling's Triple Crown

Sophomore Kyle Sether has joined a very select group of Oregon City High School athletes.

With championships at 2011 state high school Greco Roman, freestyle and collegiate wrestling tournaments, Sether became an Oregon Triple Crown winner.

He is thought to be only one of three or four wrestling Triple Crown winners in the history of Oregon City High School wrestling.

Former Oregon City wrestling coach Ed Burton says that an exchange student, Nayoa Nakai, won the Triple Crown in 1986.

Former Oregon City coach Wally Sparks says that Rudy Johnson was a Triple Crown winner in 1972, and Sparks thinks that Mark Hirota, who won a conference title for Oregon State University in 1981, may have been a Triple Crown winner his senior year at Oregon City High School.

But other than that, Oregon City wrestling coaches, present and past, don't believe the high school has had any other wrestler accomplish the feat of earning state titles in three different wrestling styles.

'It's exciting!' Sether said Friday, after attending a summer camp at Clackamas High School. 'It's a lot of pressure. But it's nice seeing all my hard work pay off….

'That's not a very long list for Oregon City, so it's nice to be part of the record book.'

None of the other aforementioned wrestlers accomplished the feat more than once, so if Sether can repeat in his junior or senior years, he'd be the first at Oregon City to do it more than once.

'We'll see what happens,' Sether said. 'Anything's possible, as long as I keep my head in it and keep putting in the work.'

Sether does put in the work. He's been wrestling for six years and, except for taking a few weeks off in August, he practices his sport the year around.

This August he'll be cruising the Caribbean with his family during his brief 'off-season.'

'It's hard to stay away. I'll miss [wrestling] after a week or so. I'm excited for high school next year.'

Sether was dominant at this year's state tournaments. He pinned his way to the state collegiate final and he handled Newberg sophomore Garrett Rider, winning 4-1, in the final.

And Sether won every one of his matches by fall at the Oregon Wrestling Association's state Junior Division (ages 18-and-under) freestyle and Greco Roman tournaments.

'I like wrestling on my feet,' Sether says.

He says his best throws are the 'head-and-arm' and the 'front whizzer, hip-lock throw.'

Sether says his toughest opponent from Oregon this year was Cody Brown of Class 3A Willamina.

'He's a smart wrestler,' Sether said. 'I've seen him a lot over the years. I've wrestled him my whole life. He's a tough competitor….

'I pinned him in both Greco and freestyle, but he was my toughest [Junior Division] opponent.'

After wrestling at 103 the past two seasons, Sether will move up to 113 next year.

'Kyle is a self-motivated young man,' said Oregon City coach Roger Rolen. 'He's determined, he's smart and he's an educated wrestler too. He picks things up fast….

'As a sophomore, [winning the triple crown is] a great accomplishment. Wresting at a small weight like he does, I think he's got a great chance of winning a triple crown again….

'There's this one kid from Henley [Ronnie Bresser] that beat Kyle in close matches in Cadets (ages 15-16) freestyle and Greco. So Kyle will have some competition [at the Junior level] the next two years. But I think [losing to Bresser] is just the type of thing that will give Kyle additional incentive to get better.'

It's been a busy summer for Sether. Between camps, practices two to three days a week with the U.S.A. Cobra Wrestling Club, and tournaments, he's had very little time off since the end of the 2010-11 high school collegiate season.

During the month of June he wrestled with the Oregon Junior Dual Team at the Western State's Regional in Pocatello, Idaho; and a week later he wrestled at the Cadets Western Regional Championships in Pocatello.

Team Oregon won first place at the Junior Dual Championships and Sether won 11 of his 12 matches.

'An All-American from Arizona beat me in Greco, but I came back and beat him in freestyle,' Sether says.

Sether went 16-2 at Western Regionals, placing first in collegiate, second in freestyle and third in Greco Roman.

He was named the 'outstanding wrestling' of the Western Regional Tournament.

Last Saturday Sether headed for Southern Oregon University to attend a four-day Team Oregon National Cadet Team Camp, his fourth camp of the summer.

This Friday he heads to Fargo, North Dakota, for the U.S.A. Wrestling Junior National Championships for Greco and freestyle wrestling.

Sether has very high ambitions.

'I'd like to be All-American at Fargo,' he says. 'And I'd like to be a three-time state champion in high school [collegiate wrestling]….

'And I know it won't be easy, but I'd like to get another triple crown next year.'

Success is nothing new to Sether. He was an eight-time state champion in Kid Wrestling. He compiled a 42-4 record in his sophomore season of collegiate wrestling at Oregon City High School.

Sether says he fell in love with the sport of wrestling at an early age, 'because if you put in the work, you see it pay off with success.'

Sether isn't the only Oregon City wrestler to experience success in freestyle and Greco wrestling this year. Oregon City freshman 98-pounder Devin Poppen won state Cadet titles in both Greco Roman and in freestyle.

'He was a pinning machine,' Rolen said of Poppen.

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