Tualatin, after tipped by North Salem, blasts West Salem

by: DAN BROOD - POWERFUL -- Tualatin High School senior Kenny Walther (left) has a firm grip on North Salem's Jose Macias in their 220-pound match. Walther won by pin in a time of 42 seconds. TUALATIN — It’s hard to keep the Timberwolves down.

West Salem found that out the hard way.

The Tualatin wrestling team, after dropping a 41-29 heart-breaking decision to North Salem, bounced back strong to down the Titans 58-16 to cap off a Special District 3 three-way meet held Jan. 16 at Tualatin High School.

“We just need to believe,” said Tualatin senior Kenny Walther, who won both of his 220-pound matches on the evening by fall. “We need to go out there and have fun — no stress.”

With the split, the Timberwolves moved the Special District 3 dual meet record to 4-3.

“Dual meets are all about match-ups,” Tualatin coach Matt Hamilton said. “We have moments where we look like a dual meet team and we have other moments.”

Meanwhile, Walther is continuing his strong senior season.

At last week’s three-way meet, he pinned North Salem’s Jose Macias in a time of 42 seconds. Then, later on, Walther defeated West Salem’s Sala Manu by fall in 3:09.

“It went well,” Walther said. “I’m happy to be showing improvement. I’ve been practicing harder this year.”

And he’s looking for his success to continue.

“It’s my senior year, and I want to make sure people know who I am,” Walther said.

Tualatin opened its night by taking on North Salem. And the Wolves found themselves facing an early 15-0 deficit.

Tualatin senior Max Houston got the Wolves on the scoreboard, posting a 6-5 decision victory over Nacho Mendez in the 126-pound match.

Timberwolf junior John Whitaker followed that up with a 22-7 technical fall win over Robert Cummings, trimming North Salem’s lead to 15-8.

The Wolves got a bit closer, as a 2-0 decision win by junior Blake Reser at 138 pounds cut the margin to 15-11.

But the Vikings got a major decision win at 152 pounds and win by fall at 160 to push their lead to 29-11.

The Wolves came storming back. Tualatin senior Kage Wabaunsee pinned Edwin Montes in 0:58 in the 170-pound match and Timberwolf sophomore Kellen Poti followed that up by pinning Jerardo Garibay in 0:29 at 182 pounds to cut the North Salem lead to 29-23.

The Vikings picked up a fall at 195 pounds, but Walther countered that with his pin at 220, making the score 35-29 going into the 285-pound match.

In that final match, Tualatin senior Cody Summers came oh-so-close to scoring at match-tying pin, as he picked up a three-point nearfall 36 seconds into his bout with Austin Shoopman.

But Shoopman was able to turn things around, and he got a win by fall to wrap up North Salem’s 41-29 victory.

“Cody went after it. He knew what was at stake,” Hamilton said. “He just needs to learn to be patiently aggressive.”

The Wolves came storming back from the loss when they immediately took on West Salem.

After a double forfeit at 106 pounds, Tualatin got pins from junior Jeff Whitaker (113 pounds), Houston (126), John Whitaker (132) and Reser (138) to take a 24-6 lead.

West Salem trimmed the margin to 24-16 with pins at 145 and 152, but the Titans wouldn’t be able to score again.

Junior Franklin Giannone got the Tualatin back on the right track by posting a 10-1 major decision win over Andrew Waite at 160 pounds.

Wabaunsee won by fall at 170 and Poti did the same at 182 to make the score 40-16.

Tualatin junior Bryan Soberanis-Perez won by forfeit at 195, Walther picked up his second pinfall victory at 220 and Summers won by forfeit at 285 to wrap up the 58-16 victory.

The Wolves also got some gutsy efforts from freshman Oliver Price, who wrestled at 152 pounds.

“I’m really proud of Oliver Price,” Hamilton said. “He battled against some real tough kids tonight. He knows what his role in a dual meet is, and he’ll keep getting better.”

Following last week’s three-way match, Tualatin competed in the Oregon Wrestling Classic, held Friday and Saturday in Redmond.

In pool competition, the Wolves were edged 31-30 by West Linn. They beat Centennial 37-30 before falling 41-24 to state-power Roseburg.

In the bonus matches, Tualatin fell 43-25 to Thurston before finishing up with a 60-21 victory over Lake Oswego.

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