Tualatin will also host the Special District 3 tourney

by: DAN BROOD - PIN POSITION -- Tualatin's Luke Goessens is about to pin Newberg's Devin Russo in their 182-pound match at last week's meet.TUALATIN — The Tualatin High School wrestling team was looking to pick up some momentum going into the Special District 3 Regional Tournament.

Well, the Timberwolves grabbed some momentum — in a very, very big way — and they also made some school history at the same time.

Tualatin, in its final dual meet of the regular season, rolled to a 52-21 win over Newberg in a match held last Thursday in front of a large crowd at Tualatin High School. The victory is the Wolves’ first-ever dual meet win over the state-power Newberg squad.

“This is monumental, baby,” Tualatin junior Blake Reser exclaimed after the match. “First time in history. We all took care of business. We all pulled our weight.”

“This it great. It’s huge,” said Tualatin junior John Whitaker, who needed just seven seconds to win his 138-pound match. “Words can’t describe how we feel right now. We put a smack on them.”

With the win, Tualatin finished the regular season with a 6-3 record in Special District 3 matches. And, maybe more importantly, the victory gives the Wolves plenty of momentum going into the regional tournament, which will be held this Friday and Saturday at Tualatin High School.

“Momentum and confidence are huge,” Whitaker said. “And having regionals here is huge. We want to defend our home turf.”

“This was a real confidence-booster,” Reser said.

Junior Jeff Whitaker gave the Wolves the early lead in last Thursday’s match with Newberg, as he pinned Habtamu Kudna in a time of 1 minute and 6 seconds in the 106-pound match.

Newberg came back to get pins in each of the next three matches, giving the Tigers an 18-6 lead in the team score.

Senior Max Houston got Tualatin back on the winning track as he scored a 2-1 decision victory over Newberg’s Bryson Hockett in the 132-pound match. Houston scored on a takedown six seconds into the opening round, and that turned out to be the difference.

The Wolves took off from DAN BROOD - HOLD ON -- Tualatin High School wrestlers and coaches cheer on Frank Giannone during the final seconds of his 4-3 decision win at 160 pounds.

In the 138-pound match, John Whitaker pinned Justin McConville in just seven seconds, cutting the Newberg lead to 18-15.

“I went out there ready to go both mentally and physically,” Whitaker said.

Reser kept the momentum going at 145 pounds, as he pinned Newberg’s Jack Kerwin in 3:27 to give the Tualatin a 21-18 lead.

In the match, Kerwin held a 2-0 lead at the end of the first round. Reser came back to tie the match at 2-2 with a reversal 30 seconds into the second round. He got the fall a little less than a minute later.

“It was a rough beginning,” Reser said. “But I built on our momentum. The momentum is key.”

Newberg picked up a decision win at 152 pounds to tie the team score at 21-21. But Tualatin junior Frank Giannone, at 160, gave momentum back to the Wolves with a back-and-forth decision win over Zane Burgess.

Burgess held a 2-0 lead at the end of the first round of the match. But Giannone scored on a reversal with just one second left in the second round to tie the match at 2-2 going into the final round.

Burgess scored on an escape to take a 3-2 lead with 1:10 left in the match. But Giannone got a takedown with 34 seconds remaining, and he kept control of Burgess the rest of the way to get the 4-3 win.

“Frank held on to get a big win,” Tualatin coach Matt Hamilton said.

And, with momentum back on their side again, the Wolves cruised through the final matches.

At 170 pounds, Tualatin senior Kage Wabaunsee notched seven takedowns on his way to posting a 14-5 major decision win over Sebastian Hanney, giving the Wolves a 28-21 lead.

Tualatin’s Luke Goessens then pinned Devin Russo in 1:43 in the 182-pound match to up the margin to 34-21.

The Wolves also got a win by fall at 195 pounds, where Andy Collins defeated Will Fox in 2:51. Tualatin senior Kenny Walther received a forfeit victory at 220 to up the Wolves’ lead to 46-21.

Senior Cody Summers capped off the big night for Tualatin as he pinned Dakota Church in 1:24 in the 285-pound match. In that match, Church nearly got a fall 30 seconds into the bout, but Summers pushed Church off him to get a reversal and he followed that up with a pin.

“That was pure heart,” Hamilton said. “Cody didn’t panic.”

Summers’ win made the final score 52-21.

“This was a great effort,” Hamilton said. “We had alumni here tonight and a large group of kids came out, and we gave them their money’s worth.”

Tualatin is now taking high hopes into this week’s Special District 3 Regional Tournament.

Wrestling at the regional tourney starts Friday at noon. On Saturday, action starts at 10 a.m. with semifinal matches. The championship finals are slated to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

The top four finishers in each weight class at the regional tournament will advance to compete at the Class 6A State Tournament, which will be held Feb. 22-23 at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum.

“My goal is to make it to state,” Reser said.

The Wolves look to be set up to be successful at the regional event, as they have 10 wrestlers seeded in the top five for the tourney.

Jeff Whitaker (106 pounds), John Whitaker (132), Giannone (160), Wabaunsee (170), Walther (220) and Summers (285) all earned No. 2 seeds.

“I’m looking to win it,” John Whitaker said.

Goessens is the No. 3 seed at 182. Reser is the No. 4 seed at 138 and sophomore Kellen Poti is the No. 4 seed at 170. Houston garned the No. 5 seed at 126.

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