Tualatin takes first, Tigard third at lineman challenge

by: DAN BROOD - PUSH IT -- Tualatin's Andy Collins (front) and Austin Balfour get ready to hit the pads in the blocking sled relay. The Timberwolves won that event and took first place, overall, at the Metro Area Lineman Challenge. TUALATIN — It was hot that day.

Really hot.

But the many high school football players on the turf that day didn’t seem to mind.

That’s because it was their chance to compete.

It was their chance to work as a team.

And it was the chance to show the other squads what they’ve got.

It was a day for the linemen.

Linemen from 12 area high schools — including two teams each from Tigard and Tualatin — battled in skills, strength, agility and team competition at the fourth-annual Metro Area Lineman Challenge, held July 20 under hot, humid conditions at Tualatin High School.

“This event brings the team together as linemen,” Tigard senior-to-be Janak Ward said during a break in the competition. “We all push each other and help out our teammates.”

“It gives us a chance to build team chemistry,” said Tualatin senior-to-be Austin Balfour, who added that he’s also known by the nickname “Houseboat.”

“Tualatin football is a family,” he said.

Still, while the event may have helped with team bonding and chemistry, there was also a big amount of intense competition.

“It’s fun, but there’s a lot of strong competition,” Tualatin senior-to-be Bryan Soberanis-Perez said.

“Especially since we have some rivals here,” teammate Ace Leben added.

“We want to see how we shape up against the other teams,” Ward said.

Well, as it turned out, the Tigers shaped up pretty darn well, as they placed third in the team standings at the event with 66 points — putting them just two points behind second-place Jesuit.

However, the Timberwolves fared even better.

Tualatin took first place in the final team standings at the competition with 74 points. That marks the third times in the four-year history of the event that the Timberwolves have reigned supreme at the challenge.

“We’re doing really well,” Tualatin senior-to-be Andy Collins said during the competition.

“We worked hard to prepare for this,” Timberwolf senior-to-be Franklin Giannone DAN BROOD - IN CHARGE -- Tualatin High assistant football coach Ian Reynoso, founder of the Metro Area Lineman challenge, talks to the competitors during this year's event.

The Metro Area Lineman Challenge, which is the brainchild of Tualatin High School assistant football coach Ian Reynoso, consisted of 10 events — the 40-yard dash, shuttle run, vertical jump, broad jump, bench press, tire flip, farmer’s carry, tug-of-war, two-man blocking sled relay and obstacle course.

Team point totals and individual point totals were compiled during the competition.

“This event is great,” said Tualatin head coach Rob Hastin, who was an interested spectator at the competition. “The atmosphere is fun and we’re building camaraderie. The kids are looking great, and they’re really competing out there.”

Hastin must have liked what he saw out on the field, as the Timberwolves seemed to excel in most every event.

Tualatin senior-to-be James Porter was named the Most Valuable Player for the competition. He finished in second place in the final individual standings with a score of 7,728.56 points. That score was the top mark for all pure linemen in the competition, marking the second straight year that Porter has claimed that honor.

Jesuit’s Joey Alfieri claimed the top spot in the individual standings with a score of 8,257.56.

Also for Tualatin, Giannone placed fifth with a total of 6,892.13, junior-to-be Garrison Saina was sixth with a score of 6,801.84 and Collins was 11th with a total of 6,494.71.

The Timberwolves seemed to be at their best in the farmer’s carry. Leben took first place in that event, carrying the 315-pound weight 114 yards in one minute.

The Wolves had seven of the top nine placers in that event.

Saina was second with a distance of 111 yards. Giannone was third at 109, Porter was fourth at 108, Soberanis-Perez was seventh at 103, Collins was eighth at 97 and Kaleb Olson, from the Tualatin No. 2 team, was ninth with a distance of 91 yards.

Porter took first place in the bench press event, lifting the 185-pound weight 29 times — he had 20 lifts last year. Also, his 29 lifts broke the previous challenge record of 25.

by: DAN BROOD - POWER -- Janak Ward, a Tigard High School senior-to-be, gives it everything he has in the tire flip competition at the Metro Area Lineman Challenge, which was held at Tualatin High School. Porter also was fourth in the broad jump, fourth in the obstacle course, fifth in the vertical jump and seventh in the 40-yard dash.

Tualatin senior-to-be Luke Goessens tied for first place in the one-minute tire flip with 16 flips of a large tractor-type tire, tying the challenge record for the event. Goessens also placed fifth in the shuttle run.

Also for the Wolves, Giannone was third in the obstacle course and Saina was fifth in that event, Brock Hulse was sixth in the 40-yard dash, Cameron Frey was sixth in the broad jump and Edgar Marin, for the Tualatin No. 2 team, was sixth in the bench press. Balfour, Collins, Frey and Olson all were part of a tie for third place in the tire flip event.

The Timberwolves also took first place in the two-man blocking sled relay race.

Tigard also had plenty of highlights during the competition.

Tiger senior-to-be Jacob Mullen finished in third place in the final individual standings with a score of 7,148.86 points. He sprinted to second place in the 40-yard dash in a time of 4.80 seconds. He also was second in the broad jump, shuttle run and vertical jump competitions.

Mullen was named the Most Athletic Lineman for the competition.

Also for Tigard, senior-to-be Nathan Wick was third in the broad jump and eighth in the obstacle course.

The Tigers were second in the two-man blocking sled relay and they were third in the team tug event.

But, maybe more importantly for the Tigers was the chance to get to work together and support each other. That’s because Tigard returns just one starter on the offensive line — Ward, who was an honorable mention all-league pick — from last year’s team that reached the semifinal round of the Class 6A state playoffs.

“This is my first time to do this,” Tigard junior-to-be Austin Goodhouse said. “I’m learning a lot.”

“I think this will really help with our teamwork in the line,” Ward said. “We lost four starters on the offensive line, so we need to work on our chemistry.”

“This is good bonding time,” Tigard senior-to-be Byron Hammick said. “We’re getting used to each other.”

“I was excited to do this,” said Tiger sophomore-to-be Conner Crist, who competed for the Tigard No 2 team. “It’s really fun. I like it.”

Competitors for the Tigard No. 1 team at the Metro Area Lineman challenge included Wick, Joe Lobbato, Goodhouse, Hammick, Ward, Brett Leitherer, Mullen, Alex Anokhin and Zack Crawford.

Competitors for the Tigard No. 2 team at the Metro Area Lineman challenge included Crist, Derek McMurray, Matt Hilliard, JJ Jackson, Cole Harrington, Garret Heubner, Chris Kennedy and J.C. Chavez.

Competitors for the Tualatin No. 1 team at the Metro Area Lineman challenge included Porter, Collins, Giannone, Goessens, Balfour, Saina, Frey, Soberanis-Perez, Leben and Hulse.

Competitors for the Tualatin No. 2 team included Blake McDill, Kellen Poti, Kaleb Arizmendi-Frias, Trevis Lindstrom, Nick Otto, Danny Williams, Olson, Jack Jellesed, Marin and Oliver Price.

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