Clark County Wrestling Notes
One of my favorite events of the year, the Clark County Wrestling Championships. The only reason I would miss it is if the Raiders played the Saturday playoff game. Oh, but to dream. Maybe next year.
Until that happens, I’ll keep trying to chase down every winner. Last year, we were able to send two reporters to the tournament, one to cover the boys tournament, the other to cover the girls. This year, though, I had to work solo. Here are some notes from January’s biggest high school sports event in the region.
Daniel Rice of Union defeated Casey Oviat of Ridgefield, 18-2.
“It means a lot not only to me, but my team,” Rice said. “We focus so much as a team.”
In fact, Union ruled the team race, winning its third consecutive team title.
Michael Nguyen of Evergreen pinned Marcus Hartman of Camas in 4:45.
Nguyen is a two-time Clark County champion. He also won a state championship last year. That does not mean he takes any win for granted. He said pins remain special to him because he knows how much he works to be the best.
Matthew Nguyen of Evergreen defeated Junior Godinho of Union 10-1.
Nguyen also is a two-time Clark County champion. He placed second at state a year ago, as well. In other words, he is a target. All opponents give their best against him.
“It makes me mad sometimes that they’re gunning for me,” he said.
Obviously, he takes that anger out on his opponents.
Ramon Ortiz of Evergreen defeated Joel Wiley of Prairie 13-7.
Ortiz rallied from an early deficit and ruled the third period.
“I think it’s just conditioning,” Ortiz said. “Our coach says the third round is our round to dominate. So I dominated.”
A sophomore, this is his first Clark County title.
“Hopefully more to come.”
Tyler Davis of Union defeated Gabe Morales of Heritage 4-2.
Make it two in a row for Davis.
“Being a two-time winner with my best friend Dillon Thomas is unexplainable,” Davis said.
Not that anyone is counting, but Thomas has three in a row.
Unfortunately for Davis, he won’t have a chance to match Thomas. Both of them are seniors.
But they do get to leave Union as part of the three-time team champions.
Patrick Mayolo of La Center defeated Aaron Blaine of Hudson’s Bay 4-3 in overtime.
Both wrestlers remained tied after the two 30-second overtime sessions. That left a 30-second do-or-done situation. Mayolo, in the down position, stood and broke free for the escape point.
“It was tough. That kid was really tough,” said Mayolo, a senior. “But I knew if I wrestled my match … I had no doubts.”
It was Mayolo’s second Clark County title. He also won as a sophomore.
Anniru Kamara of Hudson’s Bay defeated George Stoyanov of Mountain View 6-2.
A senior who finished fifth in this event last year, Kamara won the third round 4-0.
“I knew I was better than him on my feet,” Kamara said.
Josiah Reynolds of Union defeated Tekwon Wallace of Evergreen 7-2.
The official results have it as 7-2. Guess the pin came just after time ran out.
Reynolds, one of six Titans to win individual titles, said he and his teammates prefer to celebrate team accomplishments more than anything one wrestler accomplishes.
“We’re a family,” he said.
Anthony Thomas of Evergreen defeated Juan Arellano of Battle Ground 7-1.
Pure joy. Thomas’ body language was pure joy after the victory.
“All the hard work in the wrestling room, and then you come to a tournament where you can display your skills,” he said. “And then it works out for you.”
Matt Rice of Union defeated Alex Berfanger of Union 22-7.
The only finals match to pit Titan vs. Titan.
“It was pretty fun. He’s a really tough freshman,” Rice, the senior, said of Berfanger. “I wasn’t that good as a freshman.”
Still, this was Rice’s time to shine.
“It’s my first title, and I’m a senior so this is kind of special, living in Clark County all my life.”
Dillon Thomas of Union defeated Cody Geary of Prairie 4-3.
Make it three in a row for Thomas. This one ws close. Geary almost had him in the end. Thomas did not mind the competition.
“I like close matches. It gives me more experience,” Thomas said. “It helps you later in the season.”
Thomas brought his son, Chase, to the awards podium.
Bryson Page of Union pinned Joey Bomers of Hudson’s Bay in :24.
Well, that was quick. In fact, I’ll be honest: With two mats going on at the same time, plus trying to chase down winners for interviews, I did not see a second of this match. I heard the whistle to begin the match. The next thing I knew, Page’s hand was being raised.
Then I found out that was nothing new. Page won all four of his matches in the tournament with first-round pins.
“It’s alright,” Page said of that tidbit. “It was more fun watching my teammates, though.”
Oh c’mon, Titans. Help me out here. This was a really cool individual accomplishment. It’s OK to celebrate that, too. Guess I’ll have to do it: Congrats, Bryson. Impressive.
John White of Ridgefield pinned Riley Bockmier of Skyview in 6:37.
Strange to see that time, but yes, this one went to overtime, tied at 1-all. Then White ended it with a pin.
“I knew I had to get it over with. I had a burst (of energy),” White said.
The junior finished fourth and sixth at this tournament the past two years.
“I’m so happy to finally win Clark County,” he said.
Ian Overton of Heritage defeated Josh Ingebretson of Hudson’s Bay 1-0.
Overton called it one of the most difficult things he has ever done, holding down Ingebretson for the final two minutes of the match, preserving that 1-0 lead.
A win like this gives him confidence.
“I’m excited for district coming up and the road to state,” he said.
Jessica Eakins of Washougal pinned Emily Alder of Washougal in 1:20.
As of this writing, not sure if our photographer sent in a photo from this match, but he showed me a cool shot of Eakins getting her hand raised as the winner while Alder is smiling and congratulating Eakins.
Great sportsmanship between a couple of teammates and friends.
Kassi Strano of Battle Ground pinned Taryn Lommasson of Camas in 1:34.
Strano was the first of four Tigers to win individual titles.
“It means I’m getting better,” Strano said. “It’s what I’ve been working hard for.”
Lourdes Arellano of Battle Ground pinned Haleigh Wilson of Hockinson in 1:23.
In her second year of wrestling, the sophomore was thrilled with her championship moment.
“It’s a really great experience, actually,” she said.
Tiffany Hu of Union defeated Tara Duey of Washougal 3-0.
Of the 10 weight classes that had championship matches, this was the only one that went the distance. That must mean Tara Duey is pretty good because we already know Tiffany Hu is really good. This is Hu’s second Clark County championship in the two-year history of the girls tournament.
“I did it more for my team,” Hu said. “Individual championship don’t really mean that much. You feel great, but only for a minute. If you do it for your team, you get to share that moment for a lifetime.”
Haven Camden of Washougal pinned Kira Kelsey of Union in 3:57.
As noted earlier, for what I was trying to accomplish Saturday, it was impossible for me to watch every match. But I was able to watch a lot of this one. For what it’s worth, this was my match of the night.
Camden led Kelsey, a defending champion, 5-3, but then the champion battled back for a near-fall late in the second round. Back came Camden, reversing the move and getting the pin just before the end of the round. A new champion, the second freshman champion of the night from Washougal.
“I’m really proud of myself,” Camden said. “I’ve worked really hard all year. My coaches are amazing. They’ve helped me so much.”
Danielle Higgins of Mountain View pinned Erin Locke of Washougal in 3:27.
A senior, Higgins gets to graduate knowing she is the best in the county in her class.
“It’s a very rewarding feeling. It’s just amazing,” Higgins said. “This makes me very confident as a person and a wrestler.”
Hannah Van Osdel of Battle Ground pinned Sam Schoene of Columbia river in 2:53.
Hey, I think these two have seen each other before.
“She beat me in this tournament last year,” Van Osdel said. “She’s really good.”
Schoene won the county title in 2011. This year, it was Van Osdel’s turn.
“I’m glad I got to wrestle her again,” Van Osdel said. “It was a great experience.”
Stephanie Simon of Evergreen pinned Diana Betancourt of Fort Vancouver in 1:51.
Simon said she had to drop seven pounds for just one match to win this tournament. With only three wrestlers in this bracket, the defending champion got an automatic spot in the finals. Then she noticed she was over the limit and went to work at cutting the weight.
“I don’t know how I did it,” Simon said.
Victoria Carlson of Battle Ground pinned Jessica Biron of Washougal in 2:28.
One of my favorite quotes of the night. I used it in the newspaper story, but here it is again:
“I’m kind of speechless,” Carlson said. “This makes it worth it. Wrestling is really, really hard. Moments like this make it worth it.”
Also, in my first draft of my newspaper story, I wrote Victory Carlson instead of Victoria. Guess that would have worked, too.
Kearstin Williams of Mountain View pinned Jessica Petre of Fort Vancouver in 4:29.
The Thunder, with three champions, finished third in the team race behind champion Washougal and runner-up Battle Ground.
For Williams, it also was special to get the win.
“It really means a lot to me. It shows a lot of my determination and perseverance throughout the season,” Williams said.
Nicole Sharp (170) of La Center and Rose Eram (264) of Mountain View won championships without competition. They were the only wrestlers registered in their classes. Still, the tournament director made sure they were introduced to the crowd as champions.
“I was a little upset because I didn’t feel like I earned it, but it was still nice,” Sharp said. “It was cool.”
Eram enjoyed the recognition, too.
“I felt I deserved it. I trained for it,” Eram said.
Both wrestlers expect plenty of competition in the postseason, trying to chase down a berth to Mat Classic.
Hope to see you at Clark County Wrestling next year, too. (Well, unless the Raiders play the Saturday playoff game. Guess I’ll just hope the Raiders will play the Sunday game next year.)