Boys win county wrestling title; girls second – by a point

Sweet Home’s boys won their eighth straight Linn County Wrestling Championship title Friday, Jan. 6, at Lebanon, while the girls finished second – by a point – to West Albany.

It was the third wrestling competition in four days for the girls, who, Coach Steve Thorpe said, experienced a “meat-grinder” of a week.

They started Tuesdays, Jan. 3, with wins in duals over Harrisburg and Dallas in Harrisburg, then traveled with the varsity boys on Thursday to Tillamook, before heading to Lebanon on Friday.

The Harrisburg matches were “historic,” Thorpe said, noting that “having three teams come together in women’s duals” is not common in the still-young girls sport, especially with “pretty full line-ups.”

“It was good to get that competition.”

The girls beat Dallas 54-18 and Harrisburg 48-30.

On Thursday, the boys revived their traditional rivalry with Tillamook, one of the best 4A programs in the state.

“We go back and forth with Tillamook,” Thorpe said, noting that the winner of that dual actually takes home a prize, a milk jug trophy that the Cheesemakers produced for the annual dual.

“That’s something that makes us better,” he said. “This is one of the best divisional rivalries in the state of Oregon over time. I have been battling someone from Tillamook since the fifth grade. They’re well-coached, they have good people in their program and their kids are tough and respectful. We don’t have to like the outcome, but respect is a very important part of it.”

On the girls side, Sweet Home won 42-30, getting some big wins from Kaylene Zajic, who bumped up a weight to 145 pounds to beat the Cheesmakers’ Emily Werner, who was 9-1 coming into the match, and from Alyssa Peterson at 155.

“The dual came down to her,” Thorpe said. “I asked her, which one can you beat? She smiled and said, ‘Both of them.'”

And she did, pinning Lindsey Weathers.

On the boys side, it was a battle, as is usual between these teams.

Things got off-kilter when Jacob Landtroop got upset at 138 pounds, Thorpe said, but in the following match freshman Luke Rosa was down 10-1 in the third round to Tyler Moncrief, and decided to opt for a neutral start, took Moncrief to his back and pinned him.

“That was the switch,” Thorpe said. The Huskies won six of the next seven matches and their only loss was when Parker McKibbin, one of the top wrestlers in the state, pinned Daniel Goodwin at 160 pounds.

“Daniel was wrestling up a weight class and it was inspiring to watch him fight the way he did,” Thorpe said.

In the Linn County tournament, on the girls side, West Albany finished with 122 points, with the same number of wrestlers (13) fielded by the Huskies, who scored 121. Harrisburg was third (64), followed by South Albany (63), Central Linn (46), Scio (20) and Lebanon (12).

Individual champions for the Huskies Kelsie Rush at 110, Bailey Chafin (130), and Kaylene Zajic at 140. Mahlia Lane (100) and Kendra Jamison (105) also placed first, but they didn’t have opponents.

Runners-up were Trinity Landtroop at 115, Zoey Erevia at 125, Lydia Wright at 135, Miah Miller at 145, and Alyssa Peterson at 155, which was one of the most competitive weights in terms of bracket size.

“Bailey absolutely dominated and Kelsie had a great finals match to get the win,” Thorpe said. “The girls need to learn to not give up falls. That cost us” in the one-point loss to West Albany,

The boys scored 286.5 points to second-place Lebanon’s 199. Harrisburg was a close third (198), followed by West Albany (185.5), South Albany (70), Scio (69), Central Linn (57) and Santiam (11).

Individual county champions for the Huskies were Dillan Davis at 106, Tytus Hardee at 113, Kyle Sieminski at 120, Jayce Miller at 126, Jacob Sieminski at 132, Jacob Landtroop at 138 and Ethan Spencer at 182.

Second-place finishers were Trenton Smith at 152, who was decisioned 5-1 by West Albany’s Derek Sossie in the final; Kaden Zajic at 170, who lost a 7-6 decision to Jacob Beauchamp of Central Linn in the final; Evan Jensen, who would have faced teammate Spencer in the 182-pound final, but Thorpe opted to not have them wrestle; and David Steagall at 195, who was pinned by Harrisburg’s Bryce Chilgren in the final.

“They didn’t need to have that match, to risk anything,” Thorpe said of the 182-pound final. He staid Steagall also defaulted out of the final, to avoid aggravating an injury. “I thnk he could have been a champion.”

Finishing third were Colton Bennett at 220 and Lynkin Royer at 285.

Conner Shoup was fourth at 113, as was Luke Rosa at 145 and Daniel Goodwin at 152.

Other placewinners were James Hearick, fifth at 132; Kayo Ebbs, fifth at 170; and Jeremiah Steagall, sixth at 160.

Other standouts were Kyle Sieminski’s 9-0 major decision over Harrisburg’s Luke Cheek, a defending state champion, and Jacob Landtroop’s rebound from the pin at Tillamook to win his division.

“He regrouped and came right back and won the tournament the next day,” Thorpe said. “That’s maturity.”

The Huskies head to one of their biggest challenges of the season this weekend, the Oregon Classic in Redmond, which draws the top teams in the state.

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