PORTLAND — It took them a little while to get going, but the HRV wrestlers found a way to scratch their way to victory in two of three dual meets on Thursday at David Douglas High School.
Trent Shelton (152 pounds), Jacobe Krizman (171), Nigel Bond (215) and Jorge Lujano (275) each won all three of their matches, helping HRV take down Gladstone and David Douglas after losing to Southridge to begin the four-team meet.
“Southridge is a very good team — maybe even better than we expected,” senior 189-pounder Nate Dethman said of the Skyhawks, who are ranked among the state’s top 15 teams. “But it also had to do with the fact that we weren’t awake yet.”
Dethman and the Eagles were down 34-0 before they knew what had hit them, and they could have fell behind even more if it weren’t for a gutsy performance by Shelton.
The senior 152-pounder’s hard-fought 7-4 decision over Dallin Tawzer gave HRV new life and started them on their way toward winning four of the final six weight classes.
“Since we were already giving up a forfeit at 135, we knew we needed to come out and score points early,” Dethman said. “This wasn’t the way we planned it, but at least we finished strong.”
And finish strong they did.
Following Shelton’s decision and Jason DeHart’s loss at 160, Krizman defeated Nick Kuchulis by a 6-1 count, Dethman lost a narrow 6-4 decision to Travis Lavinger, and Bond and Lujano each pinned their opponents to give HRV some momentum heading into the Gladstone match.
That momentum helped them overcome the 43-18 loss to Southridge, and pound on Gladstone for a 54-9 win. Although the Gladiators forfeited four weight classes, HRV’s win included pins by Josh Van Ek, Rocky Level, Jason DeHart, Shelton and Dethman.
“It felt good to take out our frustrations after the loss,” said Level, a junior 140-pounder who lost a tough 14-7 decision to Southridge’s Jason Appleton before pinning Matt Fishpaw of Gladstone in round one.
“It’s like getting your (butt) kicked and then going home and beating up your teddy bear,” he said.
The only win recorded by Gladstone was John Thompson’s 9-7 decision at 103 pounds, in which HRV’s Jayde Cannon nearly came back to win. Six of the Gladiators’ nine points came from the forfeit at 135 pounds.
Similarly, six of David Douglas’ 21 points in the third match (HRV won 32-21) came as a result of the forfeit at 135. But, as the members of the team will tell you, there is no reason to panic. Help is on the way.
Level said he hopes to drop down to 135 pounds in time for district, which would allow Mike Allen (currently at 145) or Terry Sanders (currently ineligible) to slip into the 140 hole.
Senior John Harvey, who was suspended one match for a misconduct penalty at the Dec. 7 Westview tournament, will solidify the 145 spot if his injured shoulder holds up, while Eric Avila, Salvador Fuentes and Leo Gonzalez will battle it out at 125 and 130.
“I would prefer to wrestle at 135 because that’s where I was most of last year,” said Level, a two-time state qualifier. “Where the other guys land will probably depend on where I wind up.”
Unlike the middle weight classes, the battle at 103 pounds appears to be resolved. Cannon has performed well at 103, while fellow sophomore Zach Bohince has begun to establish himself at 112.
Bohince placed fifth at the Westview tournament and won two of his three matches on Thursday, while Cannon took sixth at Westview and could be a mainstay for coach Mark Brown this season.
Another battle is being waged in the heavyweight division, with senior Tommy Owyen and Lujano fighting it out for the top spot.
Both wrestlers finished in the top three at Westview, and then squared off in a challenge match on Wednesday that Lujano won.
“It’s gonna be good all year between those two,” senior Josh Van Ek said. “Jorge’s lateral drop is pretty tough to stop, but Tommy is getting better at blocking it.”
HRV takes to the mat again on Dec. 19 at Intermountain Conference rival Hermiston.