Even with four fewer wrestlers than capacity, the Lions take third in another strong early showing

The West Linn wrestling team continued its strong early-season run at the Rose City Championships last week, taking third place in the 15-team tournament.

The Lions wrestled with 20 wrestlers, four short of a complete line-up and everyone scored points for the team with nine West Linn wrestlers placing in the top six.

“It was a total team effort and everyone really benefitted from the experience,” coach Doug Samarron said.

A large portion of the team had to work its way back through the consolation brackets. West Linn advanced 11 wrestlers into the quarterfinals but only four of those made it through to the semis.

The Lions were missing wrestlers in the lower weight classes and were also without the services of one of their top wrestlers in Ethan Staley, who is dealing with a foot injury.

Still, the team mustered 230.5 points, edging out North Medford for third place and only finishing behind Glencoe and Churchill.

At 126 pounds, Ian Snapp battled to take sixth place.

The Lions picked up the bulk of their points in the middle and upper weights as they continue to be deep and talented through the middle of the roster.

Both West Linn wrestlers at 152 pounds ended up placing. Jacob Taylor had one of the tournament's better performances, narrowly missing out on a berth in the championship match.

He then took on teammate Tim Harman in the third-place match and Harman came away with the decision.

Tyler Self was also impressive. The freshman wrestled at 160 pounds, taking on opponents with two or three years more of experience than he had.

“He put on a great offensive performance taking on juniors and seniors. He just knows how to wrestle and really understands positions,” Samarron said.

At 170 pounds, Adam Roethe came through with a third-place showing.

The Lions had their lone champion of the tournament at 182 pounds. Tyler Chay endured a tough match to a solid but unranked opponent in the quarterfinals and then cruised to the championship.

At 195 pounds, Garrett Harmon gutted out one of the best matches of the tournament in the consolation semifinals, winning in triple overtime and ended up taking fourth.

“He was awesome. He just out-hustled people and pushed the pace on some big kids,” Samarron said.

At 220 pounds, Ellis Eaton was the victim of a tough draw, facing the No. 1 seed in the bracket in the quarterfinals. Eaton lost that match but came back to take third place.

The Lions' final placer came at heavyweight where Isaiah Molden took sixth.

In all, it was another strong showing for the Lions who have hit the ground running this year.

“We're probably a little ahead of where I thought we'd be at this point but we still have some glaring weaknesses. We're still small so so win dual meets we have to stay off our backs and get pins,” Samarron said.

West Linn will wrestle at home tonight (Thursday) against Centennial and Reynolds and will then compete in the Pac Coast Championships after Christmas.

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