Vikings hold off North Salem
Forest Grove posts a narrow 41-39 victory in its first conference dual of the season
Isaac Graham lost the battle but won the war.
Heading into the final weight class of Forest Groves home wrestling dual against North Salem last Thursday, the Vikings led by a scant five points, 41-36.
That meant that depending on the outcome of Grahams 285-pound match against Luis Ruiz Ramirez, a win, loss or tie were all possible results for Forest Grove.
Not that Graham knew that.
I didnt realize not getting pinned would win it, said Graham, a sophomore who moved up a weight class for the dual, wrestling at 285 for the first time. I didnt know the score, I didnt know how that all worked.
Given that Graham was wrestling up a class, he said, his goal was to avoid getting pinned. As it turned out, that was also what he needed to preserve the team victory, which he did with a 7-0 loss to Ruiz Ramirez.
The result earned North Salem just three points, allowing Forest Grove to escape with an exciting 41-39 victory in its first-ever Greater Valley Conference dual.
We wrestled pretty good, said new coach Chad Beatty, who picked up the win in his dual meet debut. It was a lot of fun. The kids really worked hard and they never gave up, and thats all I was looking for tonight, just going out and competing.
Forest Grove led most of the way on Thursday, going up 29-6 with Griffin Crabtrees win over Alex Perez by technical fall at 113 pounds, plus forfeit victories by Christian Guerra (120), Lucas Higginbotham (126) and Jose Lucas Lucas (132), and Matthew Johnsons first-round pin of Mark Kondash at 138 pounds.
While Norberto Lopez (160) and Alex Vanderkin (195) each won by pin to help the Forest Grove cause, North Salem picked up wins in five of the next seven matches to tighten the contest up considerably.
All of that left the outcome in doubt until the very end.
Right before (Graham) got up, I looked at the score and I did the math, and there were six points, so as long as he didnt get pinned we were going to win, Johnson noted. It was exciting.
Graham had to work for it to hold on to the team victory, with Ruiz Ramirez dictating the match. Several times the North Salem wrestler who appeared to outweigh Graham by an appreciable amount seemed as though he might be headed toward a pin, but Graham fended him off each time.
The last of those incidents happened in the third and final round as the clock wound down, sending many eyes looking toward the scoreboard even Grahams.
I was almost on my back with the last 10 seconds, Graham said. I could see the clock.
When the clock hit zeroes, the Vikings on the Forest Grove side celebrated, and Graham walked off the mat a loser and yet also a winner.
As for Beatty, he liked what he saw from his young team, but he also saw room for growth.
It was a really fun night, Beatty said. We have to get better though. Thats what I told our team. I said, We wrestled pretty good tonight. We got the win, and if we continue to build and get better, were going to have even more fun.
Forest Grove was back in action on Saturday at the Herrin Holiday Classic, staged at North Salem. The Vikings placed seventh in the eight-team field with 142 points but were just 24 points out of third place. Dallas cruised to the team title with 392½ points.
Maya Guerra and Johnson led the way by winning titles at 126 and 132 pounds. Guerra knocked off Dallas junior John Baird 8-5 in the championship match. Johnson earned his title by pinning Reynolds Steven Coca 3:49 into the title match.
Christian Guerra, Mayas older brother, took second at 120 pounds. He dropped a 7-6 decision to Nolan Miller of Dallas in the final. Crabtree (fourth, 113), Rudy Tinoco (fifth, 132), Vanderkin (fifth, 195), Higginbotham (sixth, 120) and Leonard Blix (sixth, 220) also placed in the top six for Forest Grove.
This week, the Vikings travel to South Salem for a GVC dual on Thursday and to Liberty High School in Hillsboro for Saturdays Liberty Classic.Add a comment