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They expect to be in the hunt for league dual and regional titles

by: JOHN DENNY - With regional runners-up (left to right) Austin Brittle, Johnny Nguyen, Brad Pfeifer and Kyle Anderegg returning, the Clackamas Cavaliers like their chances in Three Rivers League and TRL/Mt Hood Region wrestling this winter.Clackamas wrestling coach Jayson Wullbrandt says he sees West Linn as the favorite to win the battle for supremacy in the Three Rivers League and at the TRL/Mt. Hood Regional Tournament, but he says his Cavaliers could figure in the picture.

“West Linn will be the regional favorite,” said Wullbrandt. “But Oregon City, us and David Douglas will be close. I think it will come down to second kids winning regional matches.”

“West Linn should be really tough in duals as well,” Wullbrandt said. “They were really young last year, so they are the clear favorite [to win the TRL dual championship]. But four other [TRL] teams —including Clackamas — are not too far back. So dual meets should be pretty exciting. Match-ups could make for some close meets.”

The Cavaliers have experience, but they’ll be young. They have 15 freshmen and only three seniors on their entire varsity roster.

Still Clackamas team leaders Brad Pfeifer and Johnny Nguyen like the Cavaliers’ chances.

“We have a really solid junior class,” Pfeifer said. “They put in a lot of time outside of the high school season. The seniors we have on varsity are good, and we’ve got some younger wrestlers who are working hard, and they’ll help us out....

“I feel good about our chances of winning [the TRL dual championship] and I think we can finish top three at regionals. A lot of teams graduated a lot of people, but we’ve got regional placers coming back, including four second-place guys.”

“If everyone does what they’re supposed to do, I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t win the [TRL] dual title,” said Nguyen. “[At regionals] the returning placers are going to do well and we’ve got a lot of wrestlers coming up that I think will do well. I feel we can definitely get top three [at regionals], if not win it.”

The Cavaliers return seven wrestlers from last year’s varsity dual-meet lineup: seniors Matthew Miller (138) and Pfeifer (170); and juniors Austin Brittle (113-120), Will Greer (113), Nguyen (120), Kyle Anderegg (220) and Cole Johnson (HWT).

Brittle (106), Nguyen (120), Pfeifer (160) and Anderegg (195) were regional runners-up last year.

Anderegg went on to place second at state, while Pfeifer was a match away from placing.

Greer competed at state at 106 as a sophomore, after placing fifth at the regional tournament. Johnson came within a match of qualifying for state.

The third senior in the Cavalier varsity lineup is Tristan Prow (145), a transfer from Centennial.

Pfeifer and Nguyen both say they believe they can place at state this season.

“I went 2-2 at state last year and I don’t feel I wrestled very well,” said Pfeifer. “This year I feel I have both a mental and physical edge and I think I can place. My goal’s to win it.”

“I want to win district and be a state champion,” said Nguyen. “Last year I had some personal issues that got in the way and I didn’t do very well. I’ve cleared up those personal issues and now my total focus is on wrestling.”

The Cavaliers looked sharp in this season’s opener, a 44-18 dual win at Gresham. They won six of nine matches contested on the mat.

Winners on the mat included: Nguyen (126), junior Gabe Llewellyn (132), Prow (145), Pfeifer (170) by fall; Brittle (120), by technical fall; and junior Austin Davis (182), by 6-0 decision.

The Cavaliers face some tough competition this weekend, when they vie in the Sierra Nevada Classic. They compete in a tournament at Cleveland Jan. 3-4. League dual competition begins Wednesday, Jan. 8, when the Cavaliers wrestle Lake Oswego on the road.

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