The Pioneers enter the tournament as heavy favorites with Liberty as their most likely challenger

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JOHN BREWINGTON - Sandys Jon Morrell works for points against Jesse Vanderwall of St. Helens at 126 pounds.

Everybody will be chasing Sandy when it hosts the District 1 regional wrestling meet on Friday and Saturday. Sandy went undefeated in the Northwest Oregon Conference regular season and is the favorite to win the district meet, but there are a few schools capable of derailing the Pioneers. Sandy coach Robert Paul thinks it will be a three-horse race between his Sandy team, Liberty and Sherwood.

“Liberty is always tough and Sherwood made a good surge at the end of the season,” Paul said. “Our head-to-head bouts with those schools will be the difference. If we win every other match but lose the ones against Sherwood and Liberty, we could finish behind them.”

Sandy will be entering 28 wrestlers into the tournament, two at each weight class. The top four finishers in each division advance to the state tournament next week. Paul said the Pioneers expect to take at least 10 wrestlers to state, and maybe more.

“We have a lot of young kids who will have big eyes in this situation,” Paul said. “Our success will depend on how well they handle it. I think they are ready and will respond well.”

First round matches are scheduled to get under way at 2:30 p.m. on Friday and subsequent rounds will follow until about 8:00 p.m. Competition will continue on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. with the finals matches starting at 7:00 p.m.

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