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Wrestling: Myles Terry wins first St. Helens state title in 21 seasons

Myles Terry tops TJ Cavender in ultimate overtime for 182 pound title, has to re-wrestle last 6 seconds


Photo Credit: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - St. Helens sophomore Myles Terry raises two fingers to the audience for two wins -- in just six seconds.For all of three minutes, St. Helens sophomore Myles Terry thought he had it won. Terry had gone to ultimate overtime with Hillsboro senior TJ Cavender and held on to break the stalemate and win the Class 5A 182-pound wrestling title and, with the straps of his wrestling singlet at his sides, stood in the back hallway with his face covered in a mixture of blood and sweat.

The mats were empty, preparing for the 195-pound finals after Terry and Cavender had gone well past the other 182-pound matches. The pair had wrestled the last part of the third period and all of the overtime matches with the attention of the arena. But then came the call from the mat a hundred feet away: A missed call in the final seconds of the ultimate overtime would force Terry back under the lights to re-wrestle the last six seconds.

Terry started in control, with just one objective: don’t allow Cavender to escape. Terry’s grip never wavered, and after six quick moments he turned to the crowd with victory on his face and each hand outstretched with two fingers.

Terry had won the state title, and he’d done it twice. With the 4-3 victory, Terry becomes the first individual state champion for St. Helens in 21 seasons — the first since Jason McCoy's title at 178 lbs. back in 1994.

Late in the second tie-breaking period, it looked as though Terry had Cavender on the ropes. Terry managed to spin around for a takedown to grab a 3-1 lead after having entered the third period trailing 0-1. Seconds later, though, Cavender got a reversal to tie the match at three as the time ticked off the clock.

The match headed to ultimate overtime, where the winner is decided by one wrestler starting in the down position. Escape, and the down wrestler wins. If the top wrestler holds on, he gets the win. Terry started in the up position, and had a wriggling, fighting Cavender to subdue.

“I just wanted to come out on top,” Terry said. “I was trying to come out on top of him whatever way I could, and I wasn’t even thinking about score at that point. I was just going. I just had him on the mind.”

Terry said winning in such a close fashion is major motivation to return next season and finish with the same result — a state championship. Terry would be the third two-time state champion in St. Helens history, but no St. Helens wrestler has ever won a third.

Interim head coach Jeff Timmons, who took over the position just a few weeks into the season, had nearly lost his voice by the time things had finally calmed down and the tournament had moved on to the heavyweight finals. Timmons said he expected nothing less than a thrilling match between Terry and Cavender, especially after the way they wrestled in the NWOC finals: Terry won 6-4 in overtime.

Being called back to the mat, though, was a major surprise.

“I think, 'First state champ since '94, pretty amazing thing.' We leave the tournament, and all the sudden, now they're dragging us back out there to wrestle six seconds again because they made a bad call,” Timmons said. “Now you go from way up here to 'oh no,' but I never stopped believing in the kid. Just six more seconds. Everything you got for six seconds for a state title, and he put it together and rode the kid out.”

Timmons said he wasn't sure whether Terry would stay at 182 lbs. or move up — Terry wrestled at 152 lbs. a year ago, and at 145 lbs. for part of his freshman season — but one thing was certain. Myles Terry will be a force to be reckoned with for the next two years in the state of Oregon.

“Going through something like [re-wrestling the last six seconds] is only going to make you stronger. It's only going to make you a tougher, mentally tougher wrestler, and stronger,” Timmons said.

“Last year he got a little taste of this, takes fifth. Comes back the next year and wins a state title, so I'm excited.”

Related: OSAA 5A Wrestling Championships recap

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