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Wrestlers win first outright league title since 2007

Lions drill Canby to close out the regular season


by: TRACIE KRELLWITZ - Alex Garcia got West Linn off to a strong start in its meet against Canby Tuesday. Garcia won his match 14-3, helping the Lions to a 45-15 win over the Cougars. The West Linn wrestling team's final tuneup before regionals turned out to be a winner-take-all bout for the TRL dual meet title.

Making up a previously postponed meet, West Linn drubbed Canby 45-15 Tuesday to go 5-0 in league this year, claiming the school's first outright TRL title since 2007.

For a while, it appeared as if the meet would have to be postponed for a second time as weather forced schools to be canceled on Friday and Monday. The snow also caused the annual Kirk Spencer Invitation, which West Linn hosts, to be canceled.

West Linn didn't have an opportunity to practice between Wednesday afternoon and Monday afternoon and Samarron said the team looked sluggish the day before its meet with Canby.

However, on Tuesday, West Linn was more than ready for the competition and took it to the Cougars early.

“The guys are fired up. They've accomplished two of their goals this year and they really competed hard,” coach Doug Samarron said.

Following a forfeit at 106 pounds, Alex Garcia got West Linn started with a 14-3 victory. That set up a 6-2 win by Joey Donovan, which jolted the Lions further.

Donovan has been a sparkplug for the Lions recently, working hard in his matches early in the meet to help fire up the rest of the squad.

“He's been that guy for us. He goes out and, even in losses, he goes down swinging, which the team respects,” Samarron said.

Cam Schmitz had a stellar showing, easily handling one of the top wrestlers in the state in his weight class with a 12-5 victory.

Ryan Anderson also was in control for the majority of his match, winning it 3-2.

Perhaps the best match of the day from the Lions' perspective was Tyler Self facing an opponent who has been ranked No. 1 in the state for much of the year.

After battling to a scoreless draw through two rounds, Self scored a point early in the third round on a penalty assessed to Canby and then tallied an escape, holding on for a 2-1 victory.

“That match may end up getting him the top seed at regionals,” Samarron said.

Jacob Taylor racked up an 8-2 win, nearly pulling off a major decision while Tim Harman and Noah Bagley scored quick pins in their matches.

The most anticipated match of the evening came at heavyweight where Ellis Eaton took on Alejandro Sandoval. Eaton won a previous match this year against Sandoval in overtime and the two are arguably the top two heavyweights in the state.

This time, Sandoval scored a late 3-2 victory and the pair will likely be seeded 1-2 at regionals.

“There's a good chance we see him again two more times this year and those matches could go either way,” Samarron said.

The Lions now have a week and a half to practice and get in shape for regionals, which will take place next Friday and Saturday at Reynolds High School.

West Linn will look to extend its late-season momentum into its most important meet of the year.

“We took 10 guys to state last year and if we could do it again that would be terrific. Any of those guys we get through has the potential to score points,” Samarron said.




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