West Linn finishes in eighth place as a team to finish the season

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Tim Harman goes for a takedown in the state title match at 138 pounds during last week's state wrestling meet.The West Linn wrestling team had an up and down state tournament last Friday and Saturday and the Memorial Coliseum, culminating with an eighth place finish overall and a pair of near misses for individual state championships.

Nine of the 10 wrestlers who qualified for state won at least one match and three places with a handful of others coming just one match away from getting on the podium.

Tyler Chay and Tim Harman each made the finals at 170 and 138 pounds respectively and they would both finish as the runner up with difficult losses on Saturday night.

Chay entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed at 170 and was brilliant in his early matches.

He tallied a first-round pin and then pitched a pair of shutouts 5-0 and 7-0 to make his way into the championship match.

Chay then faced the No. 3 seed Tiger Paasch from McMinnville and both wrestlers were cautious with each other in the opening moments of the contest.

But, late in the first round, Paasch made a quick move that caught Chay off guard for a takedown. Chay was knocked into an inopportune position and Paasch turned it into a pin with 11 seconds left in the first round for Chay's first loss of the season.

For Harman, the sophomore easily won his opening match with a pin early in the second round. He then squared off against the No. 2 seed in the bracket from Sprague and pummeled him in a dominating performance 14-2.

Harman then knocked off Spencer Stokes from Sunset 7-2 to move into the finals against No. 1 seed Vagif Afrasov from David Douglas who had beaten Harman in a close match in the finals of regionals.

The state title match would be another stellar bout with neither opponent giving an inch. The pair battled to a 0-0 tie in the first round but Afrasov would get on the board first with a quick escape to open the second round.

That 1-0 lead would hold up until 30 seconds into the third round when Harman escaped to knot the score at 1-1.

Harman was aggressive, looking for a late takedown in regulation to win the match and Afrasov was nearly hit with a stalling penalty. But the match went to overtime.

Early in the extra period, Harman and Afrasov grappled near the edge of the ring. Afrasaov made a move low to send Harman to the ground but Harman appeared he may have held a lock to prevent a takedown.

However, the official awarded two points, giving the sudden death match to the David Douglas senior.

The West Linn coaches appealed and, after a brief discussion with the other referee, the decision was upheld.

Also placing for the Lions was sophomore Ethan Staley at 120 pounds. Staley won his opening match with a second-round pin before getting upset in the second round by Bryce Branson of McMinnville.

Staley then won a pair of tough decisions to clinch a spot on the podium and took on the No. 4 seed Louis Palos from McNary. Staley ground out a 5-4 overtime victory, making it to the third-place match, before falling to the No. 3 seed and settling for fourth.

At 113 pounds, Ian Snapp had a tough opening match against the No. 1 seed but won his first consolation match before bowing out.

Jacob Taylor did the same at 152 pounds, falling to the eventual state champion and then winning 4-2 in consolation before falling to the No. 4 seed.

Also at 152 pounds, Tyler Self won his first match 9-3 before losing a tough match to the No. 2 seed 4-0.

Self would then win 1-0 to advance in consolation before falling to the eventual third-place finisher just one match shy of the podium.

At 160 pounds, Adam Roethe also finished one match shy of placing. Roethe was upended in his opening match but then went on a roll in consolation, winning 12-2 and 5-2 before giving the No. 4 seed from Aloha a solid match in a 7-4 loss.

At 220 pounds, Ellis Eaton lost a tough opening match but then won twice in consolation before falling to the No. 3 seed in a terrific 2-1 match.

Finally, at 285 pounds, Noah Bagley won his first match by a narrow 4-3 decision before falling to the No. 2 seed.

Bagley would win once more in consolation before his tournament ended one match shy of placing.

The Lions wrapped up their best season in a number of years and things should only get better in the near future with the majority of its state qualifiers returning next season.

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