by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton 170-pound Apollo Zerkle beat Westviews Daniel Durfee by decision during the Beavers dual meet match at home on Thursday.

Apollo Zerkle leaned his still ringing head back against the Beaver logo in the heart of the Beaverton wrestling training room, assessed his body parts to ensure they were intact, took a deep breath and cracked a Cheshire cat grin.

Not 20 minutes earlier, the 170-pounder had just waged a six-minute war with Westview’s David Durfee during which the Beaver sophomore commandeered three takedowns and a reversal for the hard-fought, 14-8 win on Thursday. It was a fracas from the opening handshake with Zerkle picking up and violently putting down Durfee three times only to see the Wildcat somehow escape and net a takedown to cut Zerkle’s third-period lead to 9-8.

Zerkle’s yoked-up physique ultimately wore out Durfee, however, as the Beaverton grappler grabbed two takedowns for the decision. Beaverton lost to Westview, 48-17, but picked up four wins against an up-and-coming Wildcat squad that knocked off Aloha last month.

“Mainly, I think it was just heart,” said Zerkle. “I just wanted to win for everybody and myself. I tried to stay light on my feet. If he was going to attack, I was going to sprawl. I wanted to pin him on the mat, instead of me being on the mat. My main concern was just not letting my back hit the ground.”

Zerkle came low and went high on Durfee, continually switching levels on the Wildcat and using his noticeable strength advantage to his benefit. The Beaver competitor said he dropped down to 170 pounds just for the Westview match.

A little heavier than the allotted 170 pounds on at weigh-in day on Thursday morning, Zerkle resolutely worked in the hours leading up to the match, running and riding the exercise bike to slash a couple of precious pounds.

“It was worth it,” said Zerkle. “I felt great going into it. About the middle of the match, I just got kind of gassed, but it went great. I felt like I earned it, so I’m happy about it. I’m gonna go home and go to sleep happy.”

A rookie wrestler who, like a lot of his teammates are sifting through the trials and tribulations of high school grappling, Zerkle said he wants to keep going upward and retain his winning means.

“I’m not planning on losing anytime soon,” said Zerkle. “If I do, then hats off to the guy who wins. I loved how the team competed today. I feel like the room had a high energy. There was a lot of people watching, a lot of support from our school too. I think we had a good match.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton junior 220-pounder Ryland Boyer tries to fend off Westviews Elijah Himing in the first round of their match on Thursday.

Finishing touches

Stephen Marcille took a hip to the dome and split his head open last week, which required a couple of staples to close. The blow didn’t faze the 152-pounder, however, as Marcille pinned Terrance Compton in 1:06 to bag Beaverton’s only fall of the night. Marcille said he wanted to shoot a single-leg takedown off the bell, but it wasn’t there initially.

“As soon as I hit him on top of the head, I knew he was going to bounce up, which is when I hit my double (leg takedown),” said Marcille. “I was trying to sink a half (Nelson), but that didn’t work, so I got on top and rode him until I grabbed his arm. I rarely finish guys with that many moves.”

For a guy who’s still getting in the wrestling swing of things after rejoining the Beavers late December, Marcille sure has made a habit of nailing down opponents in the fastest way possible. Marcille’s made it look easy, pinning two of his three Metro League opponents so far this season, though the junior said he’s handling every foe with the same respect.

“I just come out wrestling,” said Marcille. “You never know who you’re going to be wrestling. And if you’re wrestling a hard guy, anything can happen. I’ve been in matches where I was up 10-1 and still lost. You treat every match the same. You come prepared and see what happens.”

Marcille said Beaverton let a couple of matches go in the last 30 seconds that could have been Beaver wins. There were available pins that were punctuated on as well, but Marcille said that comes with being a young team.

“We just have to keep working and see what happens at districts,” said Marcille. “Conditioning is the biggest thing for me right now. You’re not going to be pinning everyone in the first round at districts, so I’m trying to condition myself and my team the best I can.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton 113-pound Cary Flanigan won by major decision over Westviews Juan Garica-Hernandez on Thursday to score five team points for the Beavers.

Off the whistle

“We’ve learned a lot,” added 113-pound Cary Flanigan. “We just need to keep conditioning, keep practicing. We have a really young team with a lot of freshmen but, we’re getting better.”

Flanigan has forged a positive pattern of flocking together technical falls and clubbing opponents by double digits. Flanigan was at it again versus Juan Garcia-Hernandez, beating the Wildcat, 15-0, for the five-point win. A leg rider who works suicide rolls, Flanigan said he couldn’t stick Garcia-Hernandez, but had enough of the Westview grappler’s arm to maintain control of the match.

“I just wanted to get the win,” said Flanigan. “I usually do the low single (leg takedown) off the whistle. I tried that, and got it. I’m trying to work on my conditioning a little bit, working harder, picking heavier people to wrestle.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton 138-pound senior Torben Billow came back in the third round with a late takedown to beat Westviews David Escobar on Thursday.

Torben Billow, 138 pounds, called on his Fireman’s Carry the entire match against David Escobar and went to it once more with the outcome hanging in the balance to notch his second takedown of the match. Supplied with a 6-5 lead late in the third period, Billow bound Escobar in an inescapable vice and didn’t let the Wildcat gain the match-tying escape.

“I was nervous...I thought he was going to get out, but I just rode him as hard as I could,” said Billow. “I arm chopped him, kept him down and watched the clock until time ran out.”

The senior said it’s easier to tell if he’s getting better over a longer period of time as opposed to looking at a single match. Beating Escobar — considered to be a district title contender in the Special Region One — was a solid win and one Billow can refine in the next couple weeks before the district meet.

“It’s going to be tough to get to state because we have a pretty tough region, especially in my weight class,” noted Billow. “But, I think I can do it.”

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