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Four Laker wrestlers heading to state

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN Lake Oswego’s Austin Faunce won the regional championship at 195 pounds with a narrow 4-3 decision. Faunce is seeded third in his bracket at the state tournament.

It was another solid step in the continuing resurgence of Lake Oswego's wrestling program last week.

The Lakers qualified for wrestlers to state and figured prominently in the highly competitive tournament.

Two Lake Oswego wrestlers were around for Saturday's finals and Austin Faunce walked away with the regional title at 195 pounds.

"I'm pleased. It's something Lake Oswego hasn't done in quite some time," Lake Oswego coach Brett MacDonald said.

At 106 pounds, the Lakers' Cahleb Gonzalez won his first match with a 5-2 decision and then advanced to the semifinals with a forfeit.

Then Gonzalez took on the bracket's No. 1 seed and gave him a battle before losing the decision.

In consolation, Gonzalez scored another solid 7-2 victory which clinched a berth at state and would go on to take fourth place.

At 182 pounds, Paul Carlson had a terrific tournament for Lake Oswego.

He received a first-round bye and then won his first match with an impressive 7-1 decision.

After falling to the eventual second-place finisher, Carlson then made an impressive run through the consolation bracket.

Carlson picked up pins in back-to-back matches and then, with a state berth on the line, he ground out a solid 6-2 victory and would finish in fourth place.

"Paul was out until early February with mono so it was great to see him have the tournament he did. He was one of the guys I was really hoping would make it and I'm proud of him," MacDonald said.

At 195 pounds, Faunce was seeded No. 1 in a competitive bracket and he lived up to his billing.

Faunce pinned the first two opponents he faced to reach the semifinals.

Then, against a solid opponent from Reynolds, Faunce turned in a technically sound match and prevailed 4-3 to advance to the title match.

He took on an opponent he had previously beaten at the Oregon Classic from David Douglas and fell behind early after getting taken down in the first round.

Faunce trailed 3-1 after the second round but scored a quick escape in the third round to cut into the deficit.

With both wrestlers on their feet, Faunce was the aggressor and his opponent was whistled for stalling which tied the match.

"I was just trying to show the ref that I was in control and working for a takedown. I've really been working on keeping my cardio up," Faunce said.

Faunce picked up another point later in the round because of a stalling penalty and was able to avoid a takedown to earn the win 4-3.

"It took Austin a while to adjust after coming down from heavyweight but he has great conditioning and he'll make you work for the full six minutes," MacDonald said.

At 220 pounds, Turner Young scored a pin in his first match of the tournament.

He then had a difficult match but defended himself well, coming away with a 3-1 decision.

In the semifinals, Young found himself locked in another close battle, this time emerging with an 8-7 victory to punch his ticket to state and advance to the regional title match. There he took on one of the top wrestlers in the state.

Young fell behind early 5-0 and a late takedown in the second round locked up the match for his Barlow opponent.

"Turner got the monkey of his back of making it to state and now I think the sky's the limit for him," MacDonald said. At heavyweight, Noah Peterson got off to a good start with a pin in his first match.

He would lose his second match but won again in consolation before dropping a 5-3 decision.

It was a solid showing for the Lakers who will now look to get wrestlers on the podium at the state meet this Friday and Saturday.

"Getting two sophomores to state bodes well for the future and my goal now would be for these guys to all finish in the top 10," MacDonald said.

Faunce is ranked third in his bracket.

For Lakeridge, it was a tough end to the season. The Pacers' best shot at a state qualifier was Ansel Webster at 170 pounds.

Webster didn't give up a point in either of his first two matches, winning a major decision 8-0 and another match 7-0 to advance to the semifinals.

Webster would fall to the bracket's No. 1 seed to move into the consolation bracket.

Webster would win again in consolation but, due to a technicality stating that two wrestlers from the same school couldn't face each other, he was bumped to the fifth place match, denying him a trip to state.

Meanwhile, the wrestler he beat 7-0 would finish fourth.



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