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OC matmen expect to contend for a trophy at state in 2013


The Pioneers are loaded with talent and experience

by: JOHN DENNY -  Trophy Hunters  Returning state placers (from left) Devin Poppen, Kyle Sether, Parker Folliard and Michael McCoy believe the Oregon City Pioneers have the horses to capture a trophy at state this season.The Oregon City Pioneers this year aim to bag the state team trophy that eluded them at last year’s Class 6A State High School Wrestling Tournament.

And there’s good reason to believe that they can realize that goal.

Oregon City is loaded with talent. Oregon City coach Roger Rolen says he’s got at least 13 wrestlers with the potential to make state, including five of the six wrestlers who competed at state for the Pioneers in 2012, when they placed fifth at state, just 12 points back of state runner-up David Douglas.

“We’re going to be tough,” said Oregon City senior Michael McCoy. “We’re going to be competitive throughout our lineup....”

“I think this is one of our best teams in recent years and in the history of Oregon City,” said Oregon City senior Kyle Sether. “I think we could push Roseburg for the state [team] title....”

Top returnees from last season include: Sether (132), McCoy (220), senior Parker Folliard (126), and juniors Devin Poppen (120) and Michael Griffin (170). All five were state participants in 2012. Poppen and McCoy both earned state runners-up honors; Sether placed third and Folliard placed fifth.

“My [personal] goals are to be a state champion this year and to go undefeated in the state of Oregon,” Sether said.

Sether was a state champion as a sophomore. Folliard has placed at state three times, finishing fourth as a freshman and fifth as a sophomore.

The Pioneers also return junior Tanner Fischer (170), who competed at state as a freshman, but sat out last season with a knee injury.

“If these guys are all healthy, they all could place in the top three [at the state tournament].” Oregon City coach Roger Rolen said. “Plus we have other guys who could place — like Jacob Hagler, Carter Marshall, Dakota Trumbull, Alex Canchola, Gabe Ellicott, Dennis Podloujnyi, Ryan Leonard....

“We should be right in there for a [team] trophy.”

Hagler, Marshall and Trumbull are seniors; Canchola and Ellicott are juniors; Podloujnyi is a sophomore; and Leonard is a freshman.

The Pioneers had five wrestlers ranked in the top seven in the state in recent Oregon Grappler rankings. Poppen and McCoy were both ranked No. 1; Sether and Folliard were ranked third; and Griffin was ranked seventh.

The Pioneers have had their share of success in preseason.

Poppen (120), Sether (132), Fischer (170), McCoy (220) and Hagler (285) all won their weight divisions as the Pioneers scored 232 points and placed third behind defending Idaho state champion Weiser (257) and La Grande (253) in a season-opening tournament at La Grande.

McCoy (220), Fischer (160) and Sether (132) placed second, fifth and seventh respectively at the 64-team Tri-State Invitational, held Dec. 14-15 in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. Oregon City, which had only six wrestlers entered, won the small-team [seven or fewer wrestlers] division of the tournament.

Oregon City had six wrestlers place at a 17-team tournament held Dec. 22 at Liberty — Poppen(120) and Sether (132) placed first; Folliard (138) and Fischer (170) were runners-up; McCoy (220) placed third; and Hagler (285) placed fourth. Oregon City scored 221-1/2 points and finished second only to Class 5A state powerhouse Sandy (265) in that tournament.

Rolen commented: “Sether was dominating. None of his matches were close; Poppen pinned all of his guys; Fischer was in one of the tougher weight classes. The kid from Sandy who beat him was ranked No. 1 [in Class 5A].”

The Pioneers held their own in dual competition with area teams in December, defeating Barlow 57-0, Gresham 63-12 and Wilson 63-10, while giving defending regional champion David Douglas a run for its money in a 43-29 loss.

“It’ll be different the next time [we go against David Douglas],” Rolen said. “We’ll have all our guys at the weights where they are supposed to be.”

Oregon City’s top performers and their win-loss records, through competition Dec. 22, included: Sether (18-2), Poppen (15-2), McCoy (15-2), Fischer (15-3). Folliard (12-4), Griffin (7-2) and Hagler (8-3).

Rolen said he expects the Three Rivers League title chase to be a two-team battle between his Pioneers and defending TRL dual champion Canby. The two teams go head-to-head this Thursday, at Oregon City.

He said that David Douglas is the odds-on favorite to repeat as District 2 regional champion.

“David Douglas is still the powerhouse [in the region],” Rolen said. “I expect us to battle it out for second place with Canby, West Linn and a number of other teams.”

“I think we match up well with Canby,” Folliard said. “I think we’ll have a good chance of beating them.”

“David Douglas has a lot of tough kids,” Poppen said. “But I think we stack up better. They have a lot of kids at the same weights; we’re more spread out. And I think we’ll have more [regional] champions.”

Oregon City hosts the TRL/Mt. Hood Conference District 2 Regional Championship Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 16.

Canby returns nine wrestlers who placed at last year’s regional tournament: Zach Tracy (106), Justin Cardinale (120), Devon Jarmer (120), Jesse McCaffrey (126), Rawley Warren (138), Keith Nichols (145), Noel Hygelund (160), Jacob McKinnon (182) and Alejandro Sandoval (185). Nichols and McKinnon are defending regional champions.

Returning regional place-winners from West Linn include: sophomores Ethan Staley (106) and Tim Harman (138), and seniors Adam Roethe (152) and Tyler Chay (160).

The Pioneers battle cross-river rival West Linn on the road on Thursday, Jan. 10.

Rolen said his likely lineup for this Thursday’s dual-meet showdown with the Cougars would be:

Leonard (106), Poppen (if he can make weight at 113) or forfeit at 113; Poppen or junior Jake Libby or freshman Larry Bodunov at 120, Podloujnyi (126), Sether (132), Folliard (138) — with junior Josh Smith and sophomore Ryan Bergerson as backups, Canchola (145), Marshall (152), Ellicott or Trumbull at 160, Fischer with Griffin and junior Zach McMullin as backups at 170, junior Grant Hicks (182), junior Jory Merritt (195), McCoy (220), and Hagler (285).