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Ceja, Hall battle to regional finals


Tigard is sending three wrestlers on to the state tourney

by: DAN BROOD - TOUGH TIGER -- Tigard High School senior Mark Hall (right) looks to get away from McNary senior Devin Reynolds in the 145-pound championship match Saturday at the Special District 3 Regional Tournament.TUALATIN — It wasn’t exactly the finish Victor Ceja and Mark Hall were hoping for.

But that’s OK. They still have plenty of reason to be pleased.

And they both have plenty of work still to do.

Ceja, a junior on the Tigard High School wrestling team, and Hall, a Tigard senior, will each get to compete at the Class 6A State Tournament after they each battled their way to a runner-up spot at the Special District 3 Regional Tournament, held Friday and Saturday at Tualatin High School.

“It didn’t end the way I wanted,” Hall said following his 145-pound championship match against McNary’s Devin Reynolds. “But I get a chance to go to state, and that’s good.”

“I’m excited about going to state,” said Ceja, who placed second in the 285-pound weight class at the regional tourney. “I’m going to work even harder to get ready.”

The top four placers at each weight class at the regional tournament advance to compete at the Class 6A state tourney, which will be held Feb. 22-23 at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum.

Ceja and Hall will be joined at the state tournament by Tigard junior Justin Jackson, who placed fourth at 285 pounds.

For Hall, the state tourney bid caps off four years on the Tiger varsity.

“It means a lot to me,” he said.

Hall opened the regional tournament by pinning Jon Maddy of West Salem in a time of 1 minute and 2 seconds in a 145-pound first-round match.

Hall then notched another first-round pin as he bested Tualatin’s Graye Norlin in 1:56 in a quarterfinal bout. In the semifinals, Hall scored a 7-5 decision victory over Sprague’s Yasyf Sorensen, putting Hall in the finals and clinching a state-tourney berth.

In the 145-pound championship match, Hall was pinned by Reynolds in 1:29.

“Overall, I did well,” Hall said of his tournament performance. “I did what the coaches and I planned, and that got me high on the podium.”

Ceja, who placed sixth at the regional tournament last year as a sophomore, turned a lot of hard work into his berth to state.

“I came in and trained hard during the summer,” he said. “I decided that if I was going to place high this year, I had to work hard, and that reflected in my matches.”

Ceja, after drawing a first-round bye at the regional tournament, needed just 24 seconds to pin McKay’s Andrew Schafer in a quarterfinal match.

In the semifinals, Ceja scored a 5-2 decision win over Austin Shoopman of North Salem to grab a spot in the finals.

In the championship match against Tualatin senior Cody Summers, Ceja trailed 2-1 at the end of the first round and he trailed 3-1 at the end of the second round. Ceja scored on a takedown with 1:36 left in the third round to trim Summers’ lead to 3-2.

Ceja battled for the remainder of the final round, trying to get a go-ahead takedown, but it was Summers who got a takedown with 19 seconds left to go up 5-2.

Ceja got an escape with 12 seconds remaining to make the score 5-3, but he couldn’t get a tying takedown in the final seconds.

“I’m disappointed, but that makes me want to work harder to get ready for state,” Ceja said.

Jackson, after receiving a first-round forfeit win to start the regional tournament, fell to Newberg’s Dakota Church in the quarterfinals. But Jackson came storming back to win back-to-back matches in the consolation bracket to earn his state-tourney bid.

First, Jackson posted a 10-6 decision win over Eric Guerrero of Sprague. He then pinned Sprague’s Jake Nelson in 2:26. Jackson fell to Church again in the third-place match.

Also for Tigard at the tournament, junior Alex Anohkin placed sixth at 195 pounds.

The Tigers finished in ninth place in the team standings at the regional tourney with 106 points.

Sprague won the regional tournament team title with a score of 310.5.