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5A Wrestling: St. Helens places 12th at state finals

Myles Terry wins first individual title since 1994

In the closing moments of the 2015 OSAA 5A wrestling championships, St. Helens interim coach painted a bright picture of the program's future.

The Lions placed 12th in the final standings with 54 points, just behind Bend and two points ahead of Mountain View. Traditional powerhouse programs Silverton and Corvallis finished a few places behind St. Helens, who was tied for 21st at the end of the 2014 championships.

“Every single kid on our team, not just the ones here, are back,” Timmons said.

St. Helens had three placers at the state tournament: A pair of fifth-place finishes from 132-pound junior Michael Bowen and 126-pound sophomore Haidon Allen, and a 182-pound title from sophomore Myles Terry — the first such championship since the 1994 season.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Lions picked up six individual titles. Two came from Jeff McCoy in the 1989 and 1990 seasons, Jeff Merwin won in 1990 and Mike Pense won two heavyweight titles in 1991 and 1992. The last championship came via Jason McCoy in the 1994 tournament.

Those five seasons mark somewhat of a 'golden age' of St. Helens wrestling, something Timmons hopes he can see on the horizon. The three breadwinners — Allen, Bowen and Terry — will all be with the program next season, along with a host of up-and-comers. The Lions had six wrestlers qualify for the state tournament, with John DeWitt, Elias Fields and Colton Beisley adding their names to the list.

Allen won his first two matches, pinning Crater's Walter Kurz and beating Silverton's Austin Reed by 7-3 decision. Zac Wigzell turned thigns around with a 7-4 win over Allen in the semifinals, and a loss by fall to Sandy's Brody Diaz de Leon dropped Allen to the fifth-place match. There, Allen won a 5-1 decision of Dallas' Sammy Chung to claim fifth place.

Bowen had his back against the wall for most of the tournament. AJ Tuia of Hermiston won a close 4-2 decision in the first round, meaning Bowen would have to win his next three matches in order to stay alive in the hunt for a spot on the podium. Bowen did just that, pinning Lebanon's Cody Klient, beating Jordan Villarreal of South Albany by 14-2 major decision and pinning Sandy's Steven Patton in just 36 seconds.

In the consolation semifinal, Sandy's Kyle Grahn repeated his victory in the district finals, but Bowen got a chance to rematch with Tuia in the fifth-place match — and pinned Tuia with a second left on the clock.

The two teams which finished ahead of St. Helens at the NWOC championships, Hillsboro and Sandy, finished second and third, respectively, at state. Both programs brought far more wrestlers to the tournament than St. Helens, but the Lions were on the edge of sticking with the high-flying programs for the first time in recent memory.

“We had 11 placers at the district championships. We had two or three fifth place placers. We had three kids go out a match before placing, so we're right there with bringing the nine, 10, 12 kids that some of the other 5A schools are bringing to this thing,” Timmons said. “It's exciting. We don't lose anybody, that's the nice thing. All these other schools who are here with 15, 16 kids, they're losing seven or eight off their program and we get everyone back. It's really awesome.”

OSAA 5A Wrestling Championships

Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Team scores

1 Hermiston 161

2 Hillsboro 154.5

3 Sandy 147.5

4 Churchill 145

5 Dallas 141.5

6 Crater 110

7 Redmond 94

8 Eagle Point 88.5

9 Central 85

10 Lebanon 72

11 Bend 56

12 St. Helens 54

13 Mountain View 52

14 Silverton 50

15 Crescent Valley 49

A total of 31 teams had wrestlers at the state tournament. 27 teams finished with team points.

St. Helens participants

106 — John DeWitt, Did not place

120 — Elias Fields, Did not place

126 Haidon Allen, 5th place

132 — Michael Bowen, 5th place

138 — Colton Beisley, Did not place

182 — Myles Terry, State Champion

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