Huskies open season at always tough Newberg

In what wrestling coach Steve Thorpe called the toughest dual meet tournament other than the Oregon Classic, the Huskies took on the number one 4A team in the state, Newberg, in their own backyard in the Gillis Memorial Tournament.

Newberg proved why it was number one by handing Sweet Home a lopsided 61-9 loss. But it didn’t phase the optimism of Thorpe one bit because he liked the aggressive performance of his team. He knew they would lose with many of his wrestlers not yet ready as they come back onto the mat from the football season. All the same, he asked for the matchup with his long time friend Neil Russo, the head coach at Newberg.

“That’s something I asked for,” said Thorpe. “Part of my philosophy is we have to go after the very best to be able to compete in February at the state tournament.”

The Huskies went into the tournament having to forfeit at the 103 and 189 pound weights.

Normally they are loaded with 103 pounders, but they don’t have a wrestler that has gotten down to that weight yet. At 189, all three wrestlers are not yet ready to compete, two from football and another that just needs more mat time.

Despite suffering four falls to Newberg, Thorpe liked what he saw.

“Guys were offensive and fought hard,” stressed Thorpe. “They took the match to guys. They didn’t wait and they weren’t afraid.”

Guys like Trevor Tagle, who faced the number two ranked wrestler in the state and spent nearly four minutes on his back. Still he fought off the pin.

“He would never quit,” stated Thorpe. “That just shows the kind of heart this kid has after just four practices. He’s going to win a lot of matches that people won’t expect him to.”

Justin Vandehei defeated a tough wrestler at 119 pounds and Rob Martin pinned his man in the second round, one of three pin victories for him. Martin was the only Husky to go 3-0 on the day.

In their second match against Century High School of Beaverton, Thorpe felt the Huskies came out a little flat as they lost 54-18. All three victories by the Huskies were by pins, starting with Chad Workman at 130, then Bryan Corliss at 140, and finally Martin again in the 275 pound division.

But the Huskies came back strong in their closing match against Southridge, also of Beaverton. It took 7 pins to overcome their two forfeits to gain a 42-40 edge. One highlight was the match of Tomas Rosa at 152.

“Rosa lost to two great wrestlers and then probably wrestled one of the best matches I’ve seen him wrestle,” said Thorpe. “It’s that kind of tenacity I’m excited about having right now.”

Things don’t get easier for the Huskies, who went on the road Tuesday against number two ranked Estacada before hosting their own tournament this Friday, starting at 4:00. He is bringing on some of the wrestlers who simply haven’t put in the mat time since coming out last week. Half the lineup is made up of football players.

“People don’t realize how much this is a timing sport,” said Thorpe. “We’re not where we’re going to be yet. It’s early and we are going to continue to get better.”

After the Sweet Home tournament on Friday, Thorpe will be down at the gym on Saturday for the Mat Club tournament to watch the matches of his future Sweet Home champions.