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Tigers battle strong against their rivals

Tigard also takes second place at the Southridge tourney


by: DAN BROOD - ON TOP -- Tigard High School senior Phil Engel (left) holds the advantage in his 160-pound match with Tualatin's Oliver Price during last week's dual match at Tualatin High School. Engel ended up getting a 7-4 decision win.TUALATIN — The Tigard High School wrestling team didn’t come away with a victory against its rival.

But that didn’t seem to be due to a lack of enthusiasm.

And it certainly didn’t seem to be due to a lack of desire and hard work.

The Tigers, seemingly giving it everything they had, fell 49-21 to rival Tualatin in a Special District 3 dual match held Jan. 15 in front of a large, loud crowd at Tualatin High School.

“We could have done better, but it was a fun match against our rivals,” Tigard senior Victor Ceja said after the match. “We were fired up.”

“It’s always fun against Tualatin,” Tigard senior Phil Engel said. “We were really fired up for tonight.”

Tualatin improved to 4-1 in Special District matches with the victory. Tigard moved to 1-4 in district matches with the setback. But, the Tigers insist that their young squad is moving in the right direction.

“We’re a good team,” Ceja said. “We’re getting things together. And we work hard.”

“The season is going good,” Engel said. “We’re competitive with all of the teams.”

In last week’s match, the Timberwolves took a quick 6-0 lead in the team score after getting a win by fall in the 106-pound match.

But Tigard, and junior Omar Duran-Vega answered right back. Duran-Vega tied the match at 6-6 by pinning Tualatin’s Joe Marquez in a time of 2 minutes and 50 seconds in the 113-pound match.

Duran-Vega and Marquez were tied at 2-2 after the first round of their match, but the Tigard junior took control in the second round.

Tualatin, getting a forfeit win at 120 and a win by fall at 126, jumped out to an 18-6 lead, but junior Kali Pabro got Tigard back on the winning track in the 132-pound match, as he posted an 8-4 decision win over Griffin Young.

In that match Pabro took a 2-0 lead with a takedown coming with 44 seconds left in the first round. But Young got a late reversal to tie the match at 2-2 going into the second round. Pabro got another takedown, coming with 0:15 remaining in the second round to take a 4-2 lead going into the final round. Pabro then got two more takedowns in the third round to wrap up the 8-4 win.

Tualatin won the next three matches, two by pin, to open up a 33-9 lead going into the 160-pound match.

At 160, Engel scored a hard-fought 7-4 decision win over Tualatin’s Oliver Price.

In that match, Engel had a pair of takedowns in the first round, which ended with the Tigard senior holding a 4-2 lead. Price scored on an escape to open the second round, cutting the lead to 4-3, but Engel answered with his third takedown of the match and he went on to take a 6-4 advantage into the third round. Engel then got an escape 17 seconds into the final round to secure the 7-4 victory.

“It was determination,” Engel said. “I had to beat him.”

The Tigers picked up another victory in the 170-pound match, as junior Eli Neely pinned Tualatin’s Phelan Alvarado in a time of 3:56.

In that match, Neely, getting a takedown and two three-point nearfalls, took a quick 8-0 lead 1:10 into the match. But Alvarado came back strong, cutting the lead to 8-6 at the end of the first round.

But Neely took control again in the second round. He scored on two escapes, a takedown and then a three-point nearfall before pinning Alvarado with just four seconds left in the round.

Neely’s win cut Tualatin’s lead in the team score to 33-18.

But the Wolves won the next three matches to open up a 49-18 margin.

However, Ceja ended the night on a winning note for Tigard, as he scored a 4-0 decision win over Tualatin’s Ace Leben in the 285-pound match.

In the win, Ceja took a 2-0 lead with a takedown coming with 0:43 left in the first round. Neither wrestler scored in the second round, with Ceja keeping Leben on the mat the entire two minutes. Ceja then got a reversal just six seconds into the third round to get the 4-0 victory.

“It’s my senior year, and I had to go hard,” Ceja said of the win. “If I’m going to achieve what I want to do this year, then I have to work hard.”

On Saturday, the Tigers turned in a strong performance as they finished second in the team standings at the nine-school Southridge Tournament. Tigard took the No. 2 spot with a score of 289 points. The host Southridge team took first place with a score of 306.5.

Seniors Zack Vollstedt and Alex Anohkin each won individual championships at the tournament to lead the way for the Tigers.

Vollstedt took the top spot at 152 pounds, winning all four of his tournament matches by fall. In the finals, he pinned West Salem’s Harrison Hunt in a time of 1:51.

Anohkin won the championship at 195 pounds. In the title match, he pinned Woodburn’s Jonathan Uriarte in 3:36.

Tigard had three tournament runner-ups in Duran-Vega at 113 pounds, Neely at 170 and Ceja at 285.

Placing third for Tigard at the tourney were junior Joey Stefani at 145, senior Trevor Ellinson at 152, Engel at 160 and senior Justin Jackson at 285.

Placing fourth for Tigard were freshman Parker Kuntz at 113, senior Justin Campbell at 160, junior Bryan Baker at 182, sophomore Arian Jahangiri at 195 and junior Austin Goodhouse at 220. Tigard freshman Tarin Schneider was at 106.

Placing sixth for Tigard were junior Colin O’Connor at 126, Pabro at 132 and junior Jake Dettra at 220.

The Tigers will be back in action tonight (Thursday) when they host Newberg and McMinnville in a Special District 3 double dual match starting at 6 p.m. The Tigers will then host a tournament on Saturday starting at 9:30 a.m.




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