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The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
February 22, 2012     The New Era Paper
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February 22, 2012

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fl]  r - February 22, 20] 2 SPOP.TS Page 11 Huskies second in regional wrestling; qualify 13 By Scott Swanson Of The New Era After an 11-year run as district champions, Sweet Home's wrestlers finally were edged out - by a mere four points, 382-378, Saturday night in the 4A Special District 4 regional tournament, placing second to Cas- cade. It was the first time the Hus- kies lost a district tournament since 2000, when Cascade beat them and then went on to win the state tourna- ment. The Huskies qualified 13 wres- tlers for the state tournament. "I was happy with how we competed as a team," Coach Steve Thorpe said, noting that his team has worked its way solidly to the elite level of 4A competition. "If, after the first tournament, we'd said Sweet Home is going to be doing this or doing that, I don't think any- body would have expected us to be where we're at." Thorpe was referring to how, in early December, his wrestlers finished fourth out of 15 teams at Cascade's Perry Burlison Invita- tional, scoring 165 points to Cas- cade's winning 217. That was after the Huskies lost 60 points from last year's regional in wrestlers who didn't return to this year's team for various reasons. "For the guys to respond the way they did, I'm very proud of them. Second to Cascade by four points, that ain't nothing to shake a stick at. We've had a lot of suc- cess." Wade Paulus, who won one of the Huskies' individual titles, said there were just too many missed op- portunities to close the gap on the Cougars. "As a team, we knew we could beat them, but we just had to step it up. We didn't step it up enough. Some people lost matches they shouldn't have. But it's in the past. It's behind us. We have to focus on state." Thorpe said he believes this is the best Cascade squad Coach Jason Lovell, a former Oregon State Uni- versity wrestler, has ever had. Both Sweet Home and Cascade finished with five individual titlists each, and the Cougars got eked out extra points by matching Sweet Home with depth as they slugged it out in the scoring columns, weight by weight. Individual regional champions for the Huskies were Justin Nichol- son at 106 pounds, Anthony Hardee at 112, Colton Schilling at 120, Ty Harvey at 132 and Paulus at 195. Runner-ups were Tyler Schilling at 106, Scottie Stockman at 120, Tyler Cowger at 138, Trever Olson at 152 and Zach Gill at 285. Also qualify- ing with third- or fourth-place fin- ishes were Dylan Elder (126), Raul Hernandez (152) and Chance Jucu- tan (182). Jucutan said he was shooting for second place, but lost to Zach Soto of Cascade, the eventual run- ner-up, which knocked him out of the championship bracket. Hardee, a freshman who has been wrestling with the Sweet Home Mat Club since he was a little boy, made a move late in the season, Thorpe said. "He picked some good workout partners and that made a difference for him. He picked it up, trained and worked very hard in practice." Cowger's 3-1 loss to Stayton's Shane Shepard in the 138-pound final didn't help Sweet Home, but Thorpe said he wasn't disappointed in his junior, who notched his 38th pin of the season in the tournament semifinals. "I was disappointed for him but definitely not in him," Thorpe said. "You're going to lose sometime. The only thing that stinks about it is when and where. It doesn't taken away from anything Tyler has done this year. Thirty-eight falls in a sea- son - that is amazing." Olson, who has battled injuries this season, learned earlier in the week that he was being moved up to 152 pounds, but it paid off in a second-place finish to Philomath's Mikael Hill by a 5-4 score. "He wrestled guys guys he'd never wrestled," Thorpe said. "He made it to the finals and it was close one." A junior who didn't qualify for a trip to state last year but responded by working hard all spring and go- ing to the USA Juniors National Tournament freestyle tournament, Olson said his best match in this tournament was his 5-3 win over Cascade's Chance Beggs. "I'm not cutting at all, so he was bigger than me," said Olson. "I had confidence. I always step on the Photo by Scott Swanson Chance Jucutan gets some points against Philomath's Ted Vaughn in the consolation final. Raul Hernandez resists attempts by Cascade's Kody Kath to break him down. mat knowing I'm going to win." Gill lost 3-0 to Elmira's Kyle Smith, "the best heavyweight in the state," keeping the match scoreless until the third period, when Smith scored on an escape from the referee's position and then took Gill down. "I think that might have been the first time this year that Kyle Smith hasn't pinned an opponent," Thorpe said. See Huskies, page 17 Photos by Sean C. Morgan Trever Olson works for advantage against Philomath's Mikael Hill. Dylan Elder looks for his chance against Elmira's Darin French. Anthony Hardee works to break down Jared Reisterer of Cascade in the ll2-pound final. Ryan Adams tries to roll out from under Newport's Dalen Hargett in their fifth-place bout.