Tim Harman wraps up an undefeated season, Lions match their best-ever state showing

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Tim Harman celebrates his state championship at 145 pounds at the Memorial Coliseum Saturday. Harman became the first wrestler in West Linn history to complete an undefeated season.The West Linn wrestling team had one final goal it wanted to achieve in order to cap an all-around stellar season. Having already won the league and placed at the Oregon Classic, the team hoped to earn a trophy with a top-four finish at state last week.

The Lions did that and more, finishing second in state behind an untouchable Roseburg squad, matching its best-ever showing at the tournament, a feat it also accomplished in 2004 and 2007.

“Going in, we thought Hillsboro would be a big challenge with three No. 1 seeds along with Grants Pass but we really showed up,” coach Doug Samarron said.

Nine of West Linn's 10 qualifying wrestlers won at least one match at state and six made the podium, the highlight of which was Tim Harman capturing the state title at 145 pounds.

Harman became the first wrestler in West Linn history to put together an undefeated season and atoned for a disappointing loss in the state title match last season.

Harman entered the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed and was a decided favorite in the bracket but he didn't let the pressure get to him.

“I just wanted to go out and have fun each match,” Harman said.

He scored a 17-5 victory in his opening match and then a technical fall to reach the semifinals. There he took on the No. 4 seed from Roseburg and was technically sound again, yielding just a single point in an 8-1 victory.

Harman faced a familiar opponent in the finals, battling Barlow's Chandler Michaels who he has beaten three previous times this season alone.

“I didn't really have a strategy going into the match. I just wanted to see how it went because, if I try and stick to a strategy, I sometimes get too stubborn,” Harman said.

The West Linn junior was confident in the championship match, biding his time and scoring a late takedown in the first round to lead 2-0. He then scored an early escape in the second round before Michaels countered with a takedown of his own.

Harman escaped again and led 4-2 with one round remaining. Harman had three near takedowns early in the third period but they were ruled to have occurred just out of bounds.

Finally, with 25 seconds left in the match, Harman was able to score the elusive takedown, all but sealing the match. As he maintained a hold on Michaels, he grinned at his coaches on the mat as the seconds ticked down, knowing he had locked down his elusive title.

“Going in, we thought it was Tim's match to lose. At regionals, he really physically dominated (Michaels),” Samarron said.

Cam Schmitz also made the finals for the Lions at 195 pounds, knocking off a pair of seeded wrestlers in the process.

Schmitz won a tough opening match 2-0 and moved on to face the top seed from Hillsboro. But Schmitz quickly asserted himself as the dominant wrestler in the bout, scoring easily and tallying a 9-3 victory.

“Cam had beaten that guy last year and we figured, if he could do it again, we'd take his place and go all the way into the finals. That was huge because it was 13 points which was almost the difference between second and third,” Samarron said.

The match of his tournament came in the semifinals against the No. 4 seed, a freshman from McMinnville. The pair battled to a 4-4 draw in regulation and, in the extra period, Schmitz made a quick move and came up with a takedown to clinch the victory.

In the finals, Schmitz faced his third seeded opponent of the tournament, the No. 2 seed from North Medford.

Schmitz was taken down in the closing seconds of the first round and scrambled to make up points for much of the match, eventually running out of time in a 7-4 defeat, still ending his high school career on a positive note.

At 160 pounds, both Ryan Anderson and Tyler Self won their first matches. Self would fall to the top seed from Roseburg in the quarterfinals while Anderson put together a technically sound performance and knocked off the No. 4 seed from Hillsboro.

Anderson would also fall to the top seed in the semifinals but tallied a pin in consolation to reach the third-place match.

He then played stellar defense again and won a 1-0 decision to claim third in state.

“Ryan just came out of nowhere to take third and his matches were nearly flawless, almost like collegiate matches,” Samarron said.

Self finished just one match shy of placing, falling to the No. 4 seed in the bracket 3-2.

At 285 pounds, Ellis Eaton blanked his opening-round opponent 6-0 before falling to the No. 2 seed and moving into the consolation bracket.

There Eaton picked up a pin and then knocked off a league rival from Clackamas 2-1, before dropping an overtime decision in the third-place match and settling for fourth.

At 220, Noah Bagley capped a terrific season by also reaching the podium. He was dominant in his early matches, scoring a pin with just seconds remaining in the first round and then picking up a 16-6 decision to reach the semifinals.

Bagley would fall to the eventual state champion and would go on to take fifth place in the bracket.

The final placer for the Lions was Jacob Taylor at 152 pounds. Taylor dropped his first match of the tournament but scored three consecutive wins in consolation, including one with a last-second takedown and finished in sixth place.

In all, it was one of West Linn's most successful wrestling seasons in school history despite slightly lower than normal numbers.

The Lions will return a strong core again next year, including Harman, who will look to make more history for West Linn by becoming its first wrestler ever to repeat as a state champion.

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