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The Laker senior loses just one match to the eventual state champion

by: VERN UYETAKE - Cahleb Gonzalez put together a very strong state tournament, advancing to the state semifinals and only dropping one match to the eventual state champion at 120 pounds. Gonzales would finish third in state. Lake Oswego senior Cahleb Gonzales finished his impressive high school wrestling career with a third-place finish at the state tournament last week, losing just one match to the eventual state champion.

Gonzales entered the tournament's 120 pounds division focused and on a mission, knowing he had work to do and a tough road ahead as an unseeded qualifier.

In his first match at Memorial Coliseum, Gonzales took an early lead, then scored a pin late in the second round. There, Gonzales saw Dylan Jones from Lincoln, who had upset the No. 3 seed in his first match.

Again, Gonzales wasn't challenged, picking up points in bunches and playing sound defense, not allowing Jones to get back in the match.

Gonzales earned a 10-1 decision to advance to the semifinals against the No. 2 seed, Westview senior Joel Timmons.

It was a tactical match and one where both wrestlers were patient and looked for opportunities.

Timmons struck first and was able to contain Gonzales late in the match in a hard-fought 2-0 victory. Timmons would later top Devin Poppen, the regional champion from Oregon City, in the finals.

Gonzales knew he had to rebound quickly and he did so impressively.

“It was tough and I give all the credit to my coaches for helping me rally,” Gonzales said.

In his first consolation match, Gonzales topped a league rival from Clackmas convincingly 7-1 to move into the third-place bout.

There, Gonzales took on the No. 4 seed from Roseburg, a team that cruised to the team state championship.

In what would be his final high school match, Gonzales again refused to yield many scoring chances and came away with an impressive 9-3 win to lock up his best-ever showing at state.

“I didn't quite reach my personal goal but it was my best finish so I'm pretty happy,” Gonzales said.

The Laker senior hopes to wrestle at Clackamas Community College next year and eventually transfer to Oregon State.

Lakeridge senior Jake Oelrich had a tough draw and fell to the No. 4 seed from Roseburg in his first state match at 145 pounds.

Oelrich would then win his opening match in consolation 7-1 before falling to a junior from Newberg 7-4, ending his tournament.

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