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August 29, 2012     The New Era Paper
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Page 12 PIT,% h=  . - August 29, 2012 S Africa trip about much more than wrestling for Huskies By Scott Swanson Of The New Era When Steve Thorpe passed on a chance to take a wrestling tour to South Africa 24 years ago, he tumed it down - and regretted it ever since. He finally got a chance to make that trip, this time as one of the lead- ers of an Oregon all-star team that toured the southern tip of Africa for three weeks, returning just over a week ago. So what did Thorpe think of the experience? "It went beyond my expecta- tions," he said. "I thought I was going on just a wrestling tour, but wrestling was a catalyst that cre- ated opportunities for education, for one-in-a-lifetime experiences. It. was just an adventure." Also along on the trip from Sweet Home were fellow coach Steve Schilling and four Husky wrestlers - seniors-to-be Tyler Cowger, Wade Paulus and Colton Schilling, and sophomore-to-be Ty- ler Schilling. They traveled with a team of wrestlers in 11 weight classes who qualified from all over the state in a special tournament in April to make the trip to South Africa, led by Thurston Coach Mike Simons, from July 25 to Aug. 12. Wrestling-wise, the Huskies did great, Thorpe said. They participated in training sessions with different clubs and wrestled five dual matches and two tournaments. He said Cowger finished 19-1, Colton Schilling 16-1, Paulus 10-1 andTyler Schilling 16-4. "The kids got upwards of 20 matches," he said. "It was just a great experience. We were very Photos courtesy of Steve Thorpe Oregon wrestlers and their South African hosts combine for a group photo after the Oregon team's final dual in Durbanville. proud of the kids, how they com- 9eted. They weren't afraid of any 3f the challenges." Cowger said he enjoyed the wrestling immensely. "We were wrestling kids who were the best in all of Africa," he said. "When we beat them, it was awesome. They weren't as good as kids from the U.S. They don't have the right training and it's more of a club sport, an on-your-own kind of thing. But wrestling their best kids was pretty awesome." As it turned out, though, wres- tling was only a fraction of the ex- perience. They toured black townships, some literally ghettos, Thorpe said. Coaches, from left, Steve Thorpe, Steve Schilling and Mike Simons enjoy a Photo by Chris Pinto Green and Gold Husky football players scrimmage in front of fans and family dur- ing the Green and Gold Scrimmage Friday night at Husky Sta- dium. The team travels to Redmond this Friday, Aug, 31 for its season opener. The New Era will preview football and other fall sports next week in our Sept: 5 edition. They also went to the Pretoria Zoo, a Zulu village, flea markets, and spent time in Capetown, Johannes- burg and Durban. In Johannesburg they visited Table Mountain, a landmark over- looking the city, and in Capetown they visited Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was held captive, and took a Cape Coast tour. taste of African big game hunting. "Capetown is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to," Thorpe said. "The South African people, hospitality is very important to them," Thorpe said. "We were treat- ed beyond what we expected. They took care of us and made sure we had a good time. They made sure every need was met." new choice uliette Asuncion, DO Dr. Asuncion earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Cincinnati- McMicken College of Arts Sciences and a medical degree from Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona, Calif. She completed residency in family medicine at Downey Regional Medical Center in Downey, Calif. Dr. Asuncion is trained in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT), which is a form of hands-on care involving the use of the hands to diagnose, treat and prevent or injury. OMT can help ease acute and.chronic pain and can even help deter prescriptive drugs or surgery. r from the office, Dr. Asuncion enjoys playing video games, listening to music, and spending time with her significant other and their two dogs, Panda and Gizmo. Samaritan Sweet Home Family btedicine samhealth.org Cowger said he particularly enjoyed hanging out with South Af- rican wrestlers and "all the friends I made on the (Oregon) team. I made lifetime friends." He said he made a particu- larly good friend with a wrestler about his own age, whose family he stayed with. One of the most memorable experiences for Thorpe and Steve Schilling was a surprise hunting trip, in which Thorpe bagged a wil- debeest and Schilling shot a bles- bock and a hartebeest. "They paid," Thorpe said. "You know what a wildebeest hunt would cost? We never expected that." He said he expects to get the horns and skull. He said it was interesting how the climate changed from Johan- nesburg, which he likened to East- em Oregon - "between Bend and Bums," to the coastal cities, which were more like the Oregon coast. He said it was cold for much of their trip because it was winter below the equator - even snowing in Johannesburg the day after they left. Thorpe said the team was ready to go when the time came, but he's eager to host the South Africans, who are talking about sending two teams next year. "We will show them not only USA hospitality but good old Sweet Home hospitality," he promised. Both he and Cowger said that the wrestlers started realizing quickly how life in a foreign coun- try is different. "You start realizing what you have, how scary and sketchy life is in a different country," Cowger said. "But everybody just took care of us and made us feel at home the best they could." He said the trip left him with lots to talk about. "I could tell stories for weeks."