They give the sixth-ranked Sandy Pioneers a run for their money

JOHN LARIVIERE - Milwaukie freshman Bryant Smith breaks down Sandy sophomore 120-pounder Hunter Rickman.Milwaukie High School’s wrestling program gained a little respect on Thursday, Jan. 7, as the Mustangs wrestled tough in a Northwest Oregon Conference dual meet with Class 5A wrestling powerhouse Sandy, losing 46-21 to the sixth-ranked Pioneers.

The Mustangs won five of the 13 matches contested on the mat and they came close to winning a sixth match.

And it was a youthful Mustang team going up against a veteran Sandy team, which featured a number of athletes who had competed for the Pioneers on a team that placed third at state a year ago.

Sandy had a full lineup that included eight wrestlers ranked in the top ten in the state in last week’s Richard Rockwell Rankings.

Milwaukie’s lineup included seniors River Meyer (170) and Andy Montes (195) and eleven underclassmen — freshmen Jacob Ashley (106), Jarrett Graff (113), Bryant Smith (120) and Matthew Lee (138); sophomores Jonathan Lee (126), Chazz Amundson (182) and Noah Ramirez (220); and juniors Juvoni Penn-Harris (145), Jake Hickey (152), Jon Snyder (160) and Ethan Dye (285).

And the Mustangs were without three first varsity wrestlers, who were absence because of injury or illness — sophomore Romario Ramirez (132), junior Mikel Bremner (152) and senior Anthony Flynn (195). The Mustangs forfeited at 132. Bremner, one of the Mustangs’ top wrestlers, was ranked 11th in the state heading into the meet.

Milwaukie winners included: Ashley, Smith, Lee, Amundson and Noah Ramirez.

Milwaukie’s Ethan Dye dropped a barnburner at heavyweight, yielding by 6-4 decision to Sandy sophomore Sefa Polamalu. Dye was within a point, trailing 4-3, early in the third round.

Ashley defeated Sandy freshman 106-pounder by first-round fall; Smith won by 9-6 decision over Sandy sophomore 120-pounder Hunter Rickman; Lee won by 5-4 decision over Sandy senior 138-pounder Steven Patton; Amundson won by 5-1 decision over Sandy junior 182-pounder Abe Mitchell; and Ramirez won by second-round fall over Sandy junior 220-pounder James Ruhl.

Patton entered the meet ranked fifth in the state; Rickman entered the meet ranked seventh.

JOHN LARIVIERE - Milwaukie freshman Matthew Lee (right) battles Sandy senior 138-pounder Steven Patton.Trailing 3-0 after two rounds, Lee battled from behind to pull off his upset of Patton. Lee escaped early in the third round for his first point. With 30 seconds remaining in their match, Lee took Patton down to his back to go up 5-4. He then battled tough to the end to claim the spoils.

“He beat me last year in our dual meet,” said Lee. “I think he pinned me in the first round; so, at first, I didn’t know what to expect…. He might be ranked fifth in the state, but we were both getting a little tired after the second round. I was thinking, I have to keep pushing the pace. In the last 30 seconds, I got him in a head-and-arm and took him to the mat for a takedown and a two-point nearfall….”

Ask what the upset of Patton means to him, Lee said, “Hard work pays off.”

Lee said of his personal goal: “I really want to become a state champion. I’m going to keep working hard, and pushing myself.”

Smith’s match with Rickman was a barnburner. Smith scored a takedown early in the first round for a 2-0 lead; Rickman tied things up at 2-2 with a reversal early in the second round; nursing a 6-5 lead early in the third period, Smith put the match away with an escape and takedown.

Smith said of his winning strategy: “Just to come out tough, get the first shot and score first.”

JOHN LARIVIERE - Milwaukie sophomore Chazz Amundson rides Sandy 182-pound junior Abe Mitchell.Smith has ambitious goals for himself and his team before he graduates.

“To be a four-time state champion, and for our team — by my senior year — to have a top finish at district and place at state as well, if not win state.”

Ashley looked impressive in earning his first-round fall over Giltner. He out-hustled Giltner and got a takedown 1:20 into their match and he stacked him up for a fall 32 seconds later.

“It feels good,” Ashley said. “I wrestled that kid a long time ago, like in fourth grade, and he pinned me.”

Amundson wrestled smart to earn his 5-1 win over Mitchell, wrestling conservatively until late in the match, when he took charge. After a scoreless first round, Amundson went up 2-1 with a takedown as the second round was winding down. He escaped midway through the final round for a 3-1 lead, and he took Mitchell down as the match wound down for his 5-1 victory.

“It was a tough match,” Amundson said. “I definitely have a lot to improve on…. I’m glad I got good coaching and stuck with my defensive strategy.”

Amundson added, “This makes me feel good, because last year I didn’t even wrestle varsity. It’s a big improvement for me and for the team. It feels like we’re going places.”

Ramirez’ win by fall over Sandy junior James Ruhl was totally unexpected, because Ramirez is a first-year wrestler. But Ramirez was in charge all the way, building a 4-1 lead through early in the second round with a pair of takedowns. Ramirez then pinned Ruhl with a minute left in the second round.

“My friends from football talked me into coming out for wrestling, and I’m glad they did,” Amundson said. “I love it. I know I have a lot to learn, but my teammates are helping me out a lot, showing me moves after every practice…. I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work, but by the time I’m a senior, I’d like to be a state champion.”

With the team win at Milwaukie, Sandy (3-0) remained tied with fourth-ranked Hillsboro (3-0) in first place in the NWOC dual standings. Milwaukie, which lost to Hillsboro 51-21 on Dec. 16, slipped to 1-2 with the loss.

The Mustangs vie in the Oregon Wrestling Classic Jan. 15-16. They return to league competition on Thursday, Jan. 21, when they entertain St. Helens (2-0). Sandy hosts Liberty (1-2) on Jan. 20.

In other NWOC league matches last week, Putnam improved to 1-1 with a 54-27 trouncing of winless Parkrose, Hillsboro hammered Liberty 69-6, and St. Helens dispatched with Wilsonville 50-29.

Last week’s meet between Putnam and Parkrose went quickly, as the Broncs spotted the Kingsmen 42 points through seven forfeits.

Winning on the mat for the Kingsmen were: sophomore Giovanni Hernandez (152), by third-round fall over Isaac Hernandez; and senior Cameron Davis (182), by second-round fall over Danny Pascual.

Putnam has an away meet with St. Helens on Wednesday, Jan. 13; and the Kingsmen host Hillsboro on Jan. 20.

Kingsmen wrestle

tough at Cleveland

Putnam continued impressive in an 18-team weekend tournament at Cleveland High School, with five athletes placing in the top five and Putnam’s team finishing seventh — back of strong teams from Churchill, Tualatin, McNary, Forest Grove, Sandy and Reynolds.

“It was easily our best ever finish at this tournament,” said Putnam coach John Telesmanich. “The bad thing is we could have wrestled better and finished higher. The good thing is we weren’t satisfied with just doing the best we’ve ever done, but we’re looking to do even better.”

Putnam placers included: sophomore Gio Hernandez (152), second; freshman Jonny Hernandez (106) and sophomore Drew Urben (38), third; senior Zack Mason (285), fourth; and senior Brice McDonald, fifth.

Gio Hernandez won four of his five matches in the tournament. His only lost was to Terrell West, who was a Class 6A state champion for Jefferson last winter.

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