Clark County Wrestling: Boys notes
Rarely is there enough room in the newspaper for quotes from every winner of the Clark County Wrestling Championships. But for the last few years, we have tried to talk to every winner and list more notes here on this blog. Paul Danzer wrote notes for the girls tournament, and here are my extra notes from the boys tournament. Congrats to all the winners.
103: Michael Nguyen of Evergreen pinned Trevor Smith of Union in 2:24
Michael Nguyen of Evergreen put on the gold uniform for his finals match.
“It makes me feel awesome,” Nguyen said.
And a little forgetful, too.
“I had a game plan, but once I put on my gold suit, I forgot what my plan was,” he said. “I just had to pin him.”
Nguyen finished third in this tournament last year. He said he hopes this victory is the start of a special rest of the season.
“It’s just one step closer to what my ultimate goal is, to win the state championship,” he said.
112: Matthew Nguyen of Evergreen d. Chism King of Washougal 21-6.
Matthew Nguyen just keeps getting better. He finished fourth as a freshman, second as a sophomore, and now first as a junior.
“First is way better than second,” he said with a big grin.
“This tournament is a great way to get better. It’s another good tournament.”
King won the 103-pound title last year, so Nguyen knew he had a tough opponent. Still, Nguyen wanted the pin. He had to settle for the technical fall. He got the 15-point lead just as the third period was ending.
It was an exciting first round. Nguyen went up 2-0, trailed 3-2, got an escape to tie, then got a takedown with four seconds remaining for a 5-3 lead. Nguyen then dominated the second round to take a 12-4 lead.
119: Peyton Zeller-Av of Evergreen d. Mason Edlund of Hudson’s Bay, 14-1.
In the official results page, it lists Peyton as Zeller-av, with a little a. I asked him after his match and he said I could capitalize it if I wanted to. Actually, I only wanted to do so if it was, indeed, spelled with a capital A. He said yes, but it didn’t matter to him. Well, it matters to us journalists. So after all that, I hope I got his name right.
Zeller-Av’s victory was the third in a row for the Plainsmen to open finals nights. But Zeller-Av, like a lot of wrestlers, is never satisfied.
“We wanted to win it all (as a team),” he said. “We’re still not satisfied.”
Union ended up winning the team title, but Evergreen went 5-0 in the finals.
Zeller-Av got a takedown within seconds of the first round and a near-fall gave him a quick 5-0 lead. But he said he never took it for granted that he was going to win. Even after that quick start, he said he still had close to three rounds left to wrestle.
125: Austin Frazier of Heritage d. Aaron Blaine of Hudson’s Bay, 6-4.
Frazier listened to his coaching and picked up a title in his senior year.
“Push the pace. That’s all our coach preaches to us,” he said. “We have to go 100 percent every match, every time they blow the whistle, every practice. Don’t stop. If you slack off one time, you lose the match.
“All credit to my coaches, my coaches right now and my coaches in my past,” he added. “And my team. My team makes me who I am.”
Frazier finished second in this event as a sophomore and was ruled out of this tournament last year due to health concerns. But that frustration from last year is over with now.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way. Best to go out with a win as a senior.”
130: Clint Powers of Skyview d. Patrick Mayolo of La Center 11-3.
Clint Powers is on a mission this season. He was outstanding as a sophomore, winning this event. But an injury ended his junior season last January. As a senior, he is looking for more big-time titles. He won the Pacific Coast tournament in December, and now has Clark County.
“I’m not wrestling to win this tournament. I’m wrestling to train harder for state,” Powers said.
Still, it’s always fun to win. Powers actually fell behind Mayolo early in the first period.
“Him getting a takedown on me definitely was not my strategy, but I didn’t underestimate him at all,” Powers said.
After a 2-2 tie after that opening round, Powers ruled the second round, taking a 9-3 lead.
“That second round was better than all of my first rounds this whole year,” Powers said.
135: Tyler Davis of Union d. Nate Williams of Ridgefield 5-4.
Tyler Davis did not look like he had just won when he walked off the mat. Quite frankly, he was ticked.
It wasn’t just the fact that he was penalized two points for stalling during the match. It was also the trash talking from fans in the stands. For one, he said he did not think he was stalling. And secondly, he does not think anyone from the stands should be judging the wrestlers, the ones who put in all the work, who put their hearts into the sport.
“They’re not the ones wrestling,” he said.
Within a minute or so, Davis was trying to forget the haters. He wanted to celebrate his victory instead.
Davis got a takedown in the first round and a reversal early in the second round for a 4-0 lead. Williams responded with a reversal of his own and then Davis got dinged for stalling, making it 4-3. Davis would get a freebie escape toward the end of the third for 5-3 lead, then was called for stalling just before the final horn.
“It was a good match, a good opponent,” Davis said.
140: A.J. Dixon of Prairie d. Shawn Speer of Battle Ground 11-7
What a turnaround for Dixon. The guy went two-and-out last year at this tournament. Yep, 0-2. Nothing.
A year later, he is the champion.
“To win a championship for Clark County is an amazing feeling after last year,” said Dixon, who credited his coach, Rob Smith, for believing in him. “My coach has always been there for me.”
Dixon led 7-1, but Speer made a valiant comeback, cutting the deficit to one at 8-7. But Dixon got a takedown and two near-fall points in the closing seconds.
“You just gotta know what the score is and be smart on the mat,” Dixon said.
Dixon also loves the the athlete vs. athlete aspect of wrestling.
“It’s better than other sports,” he said. “Here, it’s one-on-on. You go through a wall, and you push through that wall, and you come out the victor.”
145: Emilio Alcantar of Hudson’s Bay d. Travis Addy of Prairie 12-8.
This was Alcantar’s second consecutive Clark County title after winning at 130 pounds last year.
“This is awesome. Just to join the other wrestlers who have won this tournament multiple times, it’s an amazing feeling,” he said.
Alcantar has been slowed this season by a rib injury. He surprised many by showing up at 145 pounds for this tournament. He said he expects to be at 140 for the postseason.
152: Chris Mayolo of La Center d. Matt Rice of Union 6-3.
I sense a trend here. Mayola finished second at Clark County as a freshman, first as a sophomore, then second as a junior.
“Feels good to get that title back,” the senior said.
He also likes representing the small schools.
“In football and in other sports, we definitely wouldn’t be able to do well (against the big schools), but in wrestling, teams are the same size,” Mayolo said. “Nice to know the small schools know how to wrestle.”
Mayolo improved to 19-0 this season, and his confidence is soaring.
“I don’t think anyone can take me down,” he said.
160: Zach Anderson of Ridgefield pinned Bo Smith of Battle Ground in 5:17.
Of all the champions Saturday night, Anderson might have best understood the significance of the achievement. Or, at least he had the best way to express the significance.
“This is a tournament for our whole region, all school sizes, and I get so say I am a champion,” he said. “When I’m older, I can come back here and say I was a champion.”
A senior, this was Anderson’s first trip to the finals in this tournament.
Officially, he got a pin, but this was a close match. Anderson led 1-0 after the second round. He was in the “up” position and was hoping to keep Smith down for the entire two-minute period. But Smith, in desperation to break free for the escape point, put himself in a vulnerable position. Anderson took advantage and got the pin.
Like Chris Mayolo of La Center, Anderson also was representing the small schools.
“I was hoping 1A could have more championships than any other classification,” Anderson said. “Don’t think that’s going to happen, but it was still pretty awesome.”
171: Dillon Thomas of Union d. Ryan Kulla of La Center 6-2.
A match-of-the-night candidate going into the finals, this was close all the way, too. Thomas got a takedown in the final seconds to extend a two-point lead.
“I love getting matches like that before state,” Thomas said. “It makes you aware of what you have to be working on.”
Thomas also said he wasn’t aware that his late takedown pretty much sealed the deal.
“I was just wrestling,” he said. “I should have been looking at the clock, but I wasn’t.”
189: Miguel Simon of Battle Ground d. Juan Valencia of Ridgefield 6-5.
Simon took a 6-3 lead early in the third period, then held off the wrestler from Ridgefield who has the coolest last name in the world. (Just wondering if you’re paying attention. And again, no, I’m not related to Juan, but he has a great name!)
“It feels amazing,” said Simon, a senior. “All my work the last few years came down to this. All the hard work paid off.”
Simon also credited his coaching.
“I wouldn’t be here without my coaches getting on me about not taking it easy,” he said.
Valencia got an escape with a few seconds left in the match to make it 6-5. Simon said he knew he just had to defend any move for just a little bit.
“My coach always tells me to keep clock awareness,” Simon said. “Knowledge is power.”
215: Tim Peraza of Evergreen d. Bryson Page of Union 8-5.
Peraza enjoyed the win but said he would have preferred to wrestle better, especially in the finals. Still, he was thrilled to be part of his team’s 5-0 record in the finals.
He also said he appreciates getting the extra competition as he prepares for one more run at state.
“It’s a good preview of where I am, for my senior year,” he said.
285: Micah Bagley of Evergreen d. Max Proudfit of Union 3-2 in OT.
The last match of the night was the best, with Bagley getting an escape 17 seconds into the “sudden victory” session of overtime.
Got much of this match in the story for the newspaper, which is online, as well. But I also want to relay my good thoughts to Proudfit. He took a nasty spill when momentum from both of these wrestlers carried them off the mats. Proudfit hit his head on the Skyview gym’s floor. He returned to finish the match, but he was struggling after the match.
Bagley noted it was his first championship of any kind, and he now holds a 2-1 advantage over Proudfit in career matches.
The win also gave Evergreen its 5-0 record for the finals.