OC and Clackamas advance six wrestlers to state

Three Rivers League teams more than held their own at last weekend’s Three Rivers League/Mt. Hood Conference Regional Wrestling JOHN LARIVIERE - Oregon City senior Devin Poppen breezed to the title at 120 at last weekends Three Rivers League/Mt. Hood Conference Regional Wrestling Championships. Poppen is pictured in command of Lake Oswegos Cahleb Gonzales in Saturday nights championship finals.

Defending Class 6A state champion David Douglas had too many horses and the Scots repeated as regional team champions. But it was in no way a runaway.

West Linn, in one of its strongest showings in years, tallied 240-1/2 points and garnered runner-up honors, finishing just 26 points back of the Scots. The Lions had five wrestlers make the regional championship finals, led by junior Tim Harman, who remained unbeaten in 34 matches this season with a 3-1 win over Barlow junior Chandler Michael in the final at 145.

Canby (212-1/2) and Clackamas (198) placed third and fourth respectively in the team scoring; Oregon City (186 points) placed sixth, finishing just back of Centennial (191). Gresham (148), Barlow (107), Lake Oswego (92), tournament host Reynolds (85) and Lakeridge (25-1/2) rounded out the team scoring.

For the Cavaliers, it was their best finish in the four years of the regional tournament.

“I thought the kids responded really well, for not having much mat time for three weeks....,” said Clackamas coach Jayson Wullbrandt. “The weather and the postponement of the Bill Geister Invitational really hurt our preparation time.”

Oregon City and Clackamas both advanced six wrestlers to next weekend’s state tournament.

The Pioneers had three regional champions: seniors Devin Poppen (120), Tanner Fischer (170) and Michael Griffin (182).

Fischer remained undefeated against opponents from Oregon, dominating his four opponents and improving his season record to 31-1. He won three matches by fall and won by 11-0 major decision over Clackamas senior Brad Pfeifer in his final.

When Fischer pinned Centennial junior Ryan Ybarra in 3:36 of their semi-final match, it was Fischer’s 23rd fall of the 2013-14 season.

“Winning [the regional championship] means nothing to me,” said Fischer. “State’s what I want.... Maybe it was a little special, because it got me a seed at state, but other than that, my [finals match with] Pfeifer was just another match.”

Poppen was no less impressive, pinning three of his four opponents at 120. He beat Lake Oswego senior Cahleb Gonzales by 12-2 major decision in his final, after pinning Centennial senior Bruno Miranda in just 1:23 of their semifinal.

Poppen takes a season record of 29-3 into the state tournament, with 20 wins by fall.

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Oregon City senior Tanner Fischer had a take-no-hostages attitude as he dominated all of his opponents, including Clackamas Brad Pfeifer (above), en route to winning the 170-pound Three Rivers League/Mt. Hood Conference regional title Saturday night at Reynolds High School. Ranked No. 1 in the state, Fischer enters next weekends state tournament undefeated in competition with wrestlers from Oregon.“I’m going to come up a little short of setting the school [single-season pin record],” said Poppen. “And that’s a little depressing. But I’m still going for that state title. That’s all that matters now.”

Griffin had only three matches. He breezed to wins in his first two matches, pinning Reynolds sophomore Abel Osoria in just 42 seconds, and piling up points en route to a 14-4 major decision over David Douglas junior Tyrrell Young in the semifinals. But his championship final with David Douglas senior Thomas Ayala-Wooden was a barnburner.

Griffin scored the first takedown and was up 2-1 at the end of the first round; Ayala-Wooden scored an escape and late takedown in the second period, and was up 4-2 heading into the final period.

Griffin escaped and then took Ayala-Wooden down for a 5-4 lead. But Ayala-Wooden escaped with a minute left to knot the score at 5-all.

Griffin’s takedown near the edge of the mat with 32 seconds remaining proved enough. Ayala-Wooden escaped with 22 seconds left, but Griffin was able to fight him off for the 7-6 win.

“I made the finals last year and got defeated by a David Douglas kid, so it was a bit of a grudge match,” said Griffin.

Griffin added, “Thomas [Ayala-Wooden] and me are friends off the mat, but when we step on the mat, we both give it everything we’ve got. We’ve wrestled each other several times before and he’s the toughest kid in the region. I won this one on guts.... It’s my senior year. I went out and did the work and got what I wanted.”

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Oregon City senior Michael Griffin (right) won a 7-6 barnburner from David Douglas Thomas Ayala-Wooden in the 182-pound championship finals of the 2014 Three Rivers League/Mt. Hood Conference Regional Championship Wrestling Tournament.Griffin takes a record of 22-4 into the state tournament.

Other Oregon City state qualifiers were: senior Gabe Ellicott (170), third; and sophomore Ryan Leonard (113) and junior Dennis Podloujnyi (126), fourth.

Poppen said, that like last year, when Oregon City won a trophy at state with just six wrestlers scoring, he believes the Pioneers could trophy again this year.

“I think everyone we’re taking is capable of medalling, but they’ve all got to be at the top of their game,” he said.

“We’ve got six guys going to state,” said Oregon City coach Roger Rolen. “The three guys back that placed last year should do well, and the other guys can all score points. I think we could contend for a trophy again....

“The kids all tell me they’re not satisfied with just going to state. They tell me they want to score points and place. It won’t be easy, but if they all wrestle smart, give it their best and get a break or two, I definitely believe we have a chance.”

Clackamas had three wrestlers make the championship finals and all three lost their finals matches.

Cavalier senior Tristin Prow was thrilled to make the final at 138. He transferred from Centennial over the summer and before last Saturday, he’d never before even placed at the regional tournament.

“I feel accomplished,” said Prow. “This was my goal, to make it to state. This was big for me. Regional runner-up, and it’s the first time I’ve ever even placed.”

Still, Prow, who sports a 17-14 record on the season, says he was not surprised he was able to make the regional finals.

“I wrestled at 135 all season,” he said. “This was my first time at 140. I switched because I thought it would be an easier bracket.”

Prow struggled in his final with former Centennial teammate Justin Lee, losing by second-round fall. But he was impressive in his other matches, pinning Barlow’s Cobi O’Brien in 1:37, pinning David Douglas’ Anthony Lopez in 4:31, and winning by disqualification over Canby junior Nick Strnad in the semifinals. He was leading Strnad 7-6 with 37 seconds remaining in their match, when Strnad was disqualified for a bite to Prow’s arm.

“I had him in a head lock and I could feel his jaws clamping down,” said Prow. “I told the ref I wanted to finish the match. But he said, ‘No. It’s not up to you.’”

Prow says he is looking forward to state, although he doesn’t anticipate placing.

“It’s my senior year,” Prow said. “I’m not going to be the best there, but I’m going to have fun. If a go out 100 percent and have fun, that’s all that matters to me.”

Pfeifer (170) looked good until he ran into Oregon City’s Fischer in his final. In other matches, Pfeifer pinned Barlow senior Douglas Merrick in 47 seconds, pinned Gresham senior Juan Flores in 42 seconds, and won by 4-2 decision over Oregon City’s Ellicott in the semifinals. Pfeifer takes a season record of 29-8 into the state tournament, with 14 wins by fall.

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Clackamas junior Kyle Anderegg (bottom) had a tough time fighting off David Douglas standout Osawaru Odighizuwa at last weekends regional championship wrestling tournament. Odighizuwa beat Anderegg 7-2 in the 220-pound final and remained undefeated on the season with the win.Clackamas’ other finalist was junior Kyle Anderegg, who elected to wrestle up at 220, instead of 195.

Anderegg breezed to his final, dispatching with West Linn sophomore Hayden Bell and Oregon City sophomore Mack Civil by fall, and beating Centennial junior Alex Thavongsack 7-3 in the semifinals.

But Anderegg met his match in David Douglas sophomore talent Osawaru Odighizuwa in the finals, losing 7-2 in a match which Odighizuwa dominated. It was the 42nd win of the season for Odighizuwa, who enters the state tournament without a loss.

“[220] was a tough weight class,” said Anderegg. “But a made a decision to wrestle 220 so I could wrestle Osa again. It was the fourth time I’d wrestled him this year and I really wanted to be the first one to beat him. But I beat myself. It was a head game.”

“If Kyle wrestles like he usually does and believes that he can do it, he can beat Osa,” said Wullbrandt. “He’s only lost five times this year. Four of those losses are to Osa and two of those matches with Osa — at the Coast Classic and at the Oregon Classic — were real close.”

Other Clackamas state qualifiers were: juniors Johnny Nguyen (120) and Austin Brittle (126), third; and junior Zach Jett (285), fourth.

Nguyen’s only loss came in the semifinals, where he got pinned by Lake Oswego’s Gonzales with 10 seconds remaining. Nguyen bounced back to beat Canby sophomore Alex Purtzer by 17-0 technical fall in the third-place finals.

Brittle got a tough break early in the tournament, losing by disqualification when he slammed Lake Oswego rookie Adam Bartkowski.

Brittle bounced back with wins in five straight matches, including a 4-1 win over Oregon City’s Podloujnyi in their third-place final.

Wullbrandt said he was impressed with Brittle’s showing at regionals. He noted that Brittle was successful, despite being out of action for five weeks because of a knee injury.

“He was hurt in the second week of January and he was cleared after five weeks, on Feb. 11,” Wullbrandt said. “He’s done a great job working his way back.”

Wullbrandt said he likes his charges’ chances at the state tournament.

“It’s a veteran group,” he said. “Four of the six have been there before.”

The state tournament runs Friday and Saturday at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum.

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