Husky wrestlers win district, qualify 13 for state

Scott Swanson

Sweet Home’s wrestlers got some sweet revenge Saturday night, reclaiming the district title they lost to Cascade last year – by four points – in their own house.

At the District 4 regional tournament Friday and Saturday at Philomath, Sweet Home steamrolled the competition and qualified 13 wrestlers for the state meet this weekend at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

NATE MELCHER exults after pinning Elmira’s Hunter Weast in the 170-pound consolation final to finish third in the district and punch his ticket for a trip to state.

“That’s the first thing checked off our checklist,” Coach Steve Thorpe said. “We wanted to win the regional tournament. We did that. Now, the next thing is we’re looking to go and trophy at state and hopefully get a trophy closer to blue than anything else.”

The Huskies finished with seven district champions as they rolled to 406½ points. Cascade was second with 298½ points, while Stayton finished third with 221½. Sweet Home’s win included 105½ bonus points for pins, major decisions and technical falls.

“That’s what we work at doing, scoring those bonus points,” Thorpe said.

Colton Schilling, 52-0, who has signed to wrestle at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, won his fourth district title, this time at 132 pounds.

Also winning his fourth title was senior Wade Paulus, 45-5, at 195 pounds.

Schilling was joined in the championship line-up by his brother Tyler Schilling, who won the 106-pound title by pinning Makiah Chadwick of Newport.

After taking second last year, Tyler Schilling said he was aiming for the title this time.

“It’s a really good feeling to win it,” he said. “I’ve finally stepped into a Schilling role,” referring to his brother’s string of championships.

He said he was particularly happy to beat Chadwick.

“I lost to him earlier in the season so that made this that much more sweeter,” Schilling said.

“Tyler wrestled him bad the first time,” Thorpe said. “He got that fixed. He put a stamp on it. There was no doubt who the better wrestler is.”

Schilling, a sophomore whose season record is 50-4, will be joined by freshman Tyrel Miller, who placed fourth.

Thorpe predicted heated competition in the 106-pound division at state.

“That’s one of the toughest weights in the state this year,” he said. “It’s loaded, top to bottom.”

Also winning their first district titles were 113-pound junior Justin Nicholson, 126-pound junior Dylan Elder and 145-pounder Trever Olson, a senior.

“That was a rubber match for Justin,” Thorpe said of Nicholson, 40-6, who beat Logan Humphrey of Cascade, whom he had lost to earlier in the season, for the title.

“That was a good win, how he did it.”

Elder, 23-9 on the season, who qualified for state last year, said he was “very disappointed” with his 0-2 run there and is expecting more this year after beating Junction City’s Jeremy Goodwin 8-6 in a match that ended up to be a little more of a technical competition than Elder wanted.

“I was trying to go out there and throw him, but that didn’t happen so I had to switch up my plan and look for opportunities,” he said. “It felt really good (to win). State’s what counts, though.”

Thorpe said Elder has a good shot to do well.

“He’s sitting good in his bracket,” he said. “Dylan Elder is the district champion. He’s not a finesse wrestler. He’s not a technique wrestler. He’s just a tough kid who goes at you.”

He called Olson’s finals match performance in a 6-1 win over Jacob Dalke of Cascade “the best I’ve ever seen him wrestle.

“That’s what he has to do in state tournament if he wants to be a state placer. He dominated that match. He has to wrestle that way every time. Hopefully, he can just carry that with him, keep that momentum going into the state tournament.”

Olson, 39-10, attributed his performance to “my preparation and just trusting the Lord.

“Knowing that gave me confidence,” he said.

Tyler Cowger, also a senior, won his third title by beating Cascade’s Spencer Crawford 5-0, his third victory over Crawford this season, giving him a 49-3 season record going into state.

“Spencer is a very, very good wrestler,” Thorpe said. “He’s a dangerous wrestler. Cowger has been on offense, scoring when he could score, when he’s wrestled him. That’s what made it different for him the times he’s beaten him.”

Also qualifying for state were junior Troy Hazelton with a fourth-place finish at 195 pounds, junior Ben Terry with a third-place finish at 182, senior Zach Gill with a runner-up finish at 285 after losing to Cascade’s Caylan Stark 3-1 in overtime after missing a single-leg takedown attempt, and senior Nate Melcher, who placed third at 170.

The state meet begins Friday morning at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum, with place-winner matches and finals on Saturday.

Seven of Sweet Home’s wrest-lers are seeded in the tournament, drawing what are considered more favorable match-ups in the opening round.

Based on the OSAA’s seeding system, installed last year, only regional champions are seeded and seeds are based on last year’s state performance and then on present season performance.

Paulus and Cowger, both state runner-ups last year, are top seeds, while Tyler Schilling and Nicholson are No. 2 seeds, though Nicholson placed fifth and Schilling did not place.

Colton Schilling, though a two-time state champion and the state runner-up last year, and undefeated this year, is seeded third at 132 pounds, as well as Olson, who did not place last year.

Thorpe said the system does not account for individual improvement and, if a wrestler moves up significantly in weight classes, that is not taken into account. For example, the No. 1 seed at 285 pounds, ahead of Gill, who has a 35-5 season record, including wins over some top 6A and 5A heavyweights, is Gabriel Gonzalez of Ontario, who was sixth at 220 last year, while Gill was third and ranked second at 285 going into the district tournament.

“It doesn’t matter if you grew from 100 to 195,” Thorpe said. “It’s ridiculous. Guys in a bracket who could be state champs who are not seeded.”

In the end, though, it’s just a question of sequence for good


“Plain and simple, you have to wrestle everybody in the tournament,” he said. “You have to wrestle somebody at some point.”

Thorpe said he expects the team to beat to be No. 1-ranked Crook County, which has been dominant all year and qualified 21 wrestlers in the tournament. Henley, last year’s runner-up ahead of Sweet Home, has qualified 14. Others in the mix are defending champion Cascade, Scappoose and Tillamook, he believes.

“We have 13 going through,” he said. “We’d like to have more, but we just have to wrestle, be motivated and want to succeed.

“It’s anybody’s game. Crook County is definitely the favorite. They have 21 guys through, which is pretty awesome. Some other teams are going to make some noise.

“We can’t get any more through. Now we have to wrestle with what we’ve got and do our best. Those seconds and thirds and fourths and fifth-placers are going to be very important.”

The state meet preliminary rounds start at 8:30 a.m. Friday and the meet continues at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, with finals at 6 p.m. Tickets for individual sessions are $15 for adults and $10 for students aged 5 through high school on Friday, and $10 for adults and $8 for students on Saturday. Package deals for all three sessions are $35 for adults and $25 for students. Gates open 30 minutes prior to each session.

The Huskies have done the work and it’s time to see what happens, Thorpe said.

“At this point, we’ve done everything we need to do,” he said. “We’ve trained right, we’ve tapered right, we’ve fought the best competition in the state all year.

“Now we need to make sure we go and do our best in the state tournament.”

Olson said the Huskies know what to do.

“I’ve wrestled with these guys for a long time,” he said. “The senior mentality is so much different. There are a lot of leaders in the room. And Thorpe is always a great motivator.

“I want to win it.”

District 4 Regional

Tournament Results

Team Scores