Tagle and Sutten lead Huskies to 6th in state

Scott Swanson

Of The New Era

Trevor Tagle finished off his prep wrestling career in a style he has cultivated over the last few weeks of this season — winning in a fashion that sends his supporters into near cardiac arrest.

Tagle, who came from behind to win the 140-pound district title on Feb. 11, did it again for the state title in even more dramatic fashion Saturday night at the state tournament finals at the Salem fairgrounds. Trailing Jesse Swift of Illinois Valley 5-4 with seven seconds to go, Tagle scored a reversal with three seconds left to beat Swift 6-5.

In a tight match, Swift took Tagle down in the first period, and Tagle evened the score at 2-2 with a reversal. In the second period, he scored a reversal to go up 4-2, but lost that lead with 22 seconds left in the third round when Swift escaped, then took Tagle down to lead 5-4.

“He was just trying to hang on. I was just trying to get away,” said Tagle, a senior, of the last minute of the match. “I was bummed because I knew if I didn’t get a score, that was it.

“He lifted his head, I saw the opening and made the move.”

After the whistle blew to end the match, Tagle leaped to his feet and jumped into coach Steve Thorpe’s arms for a bear hug.

To reach the final, Tagle pinned Dustin Budd of Philomath (:56) and Justin Johnson of Henley (3:35), then beat Garrett Caldwell of North Bend 7-4 and Christopher Monroe of Madras, who had beaten Tagle 9-7 in January, with a 16-1 technical fall in the semifinals.

“He got exactly what he deserved,” said Thorpe of his senior captain. “He never misses an opportunity to make himself better. It’s not an accident that he’s here. He’s an incredible, incredible leader by example and by word in our wrestling room.”

But Thorpe was still showing symptoms of accelerated heartrate following the final match.

“A guy from Mollala came up to me after that match and said, ‘Trevor Tagle could write a book on what you can do in the last three seconds,'” he said.

Tagle was one of two Huskies in the finals. John Sutten finished as the runner-up at 125 pounds, while other placers for Sweet Home were Colton Cooley, seventh at 160 pounds, and Tom Helfrich, eighth at 145 pounds.

Tagle’s victory gave Sweet Home sixth place in the team standings. Sweet Home scored 102 points. Burns won the 3A team title, scoring 192.5 points, with Illinois Valley second at 163.5, and Estacada third at 156. Capital Conference foe Cascade was fifth with 117.

It was a tough weekend for the Huskies, who rolled over the rest of the Capitol Conference in the district meet the previous weekend.

First, 145-pounder Shorty Weikel broke his leg in his first match of the state meet, against Wes Walker of McLoughlin. Weikel was injured as he was being taken down by Walker.

Then 130-pound top seed Shane Vandehei was bumped from the tournament when he lost 12-2 to Jerred Miller, a sophomore from Illinois Valley, in the second round, then lost 7-2 to Matt Kloetzer of Burns in the consolation bracket.

“It was very heartbreaking that Shane lost,” Thorpe said of his senior captain, who had placed in the state three straight years, taking third last season with a victory over Swift, Tagle’s finals opponent this year.

Thorpe emphasized that such upsets occasionally happen in wrestling, and it does not take away from the legacy Vandehei is leaving at Sweet Home.

“He has accomplished a lot of things,” Thorpe said. “He is a strong point of this program. I’m as proud of him as a leader and wrestler than if he was all that plus state champion. I’m disappointed for him, but I’m not even close to being disappointed in him.”

“Everybody scored for us,” said Thorpe of his wrestlers who made it past their first match and pushed Sweet Home to sixth place.

Sutten won his first three matches in rather decisive fashion — 12-0 over Jon Lucero of Wilsonville in the opening round, pinning Eric Bodell of Seaside in 43 seconds in the second round, blanking Chris Eggleston of La Pine in the third round, 4-0, and beating Jacob Stutzer of Mazama 6-4 in overtime in the semifinals to earn a finals matchup against defending state champion Tyler Phillips of Cascade.

Phillips, a junior whose quickness and decisiveness on the mat has resulted in a 38-0 record this season, took control early with a takedown 30 seconds into the match. He then added an escape, a takedown and a three-point near-fall in the second round, and a reversal in the third to outscore Sutten 10-0.

Thorpe, who recruited Sutten out of his math class at the high school, called the senior an overachiever “who doesn’t see it that way. That proves he belongs here.”

“He started wrestling as a freshman and he’s done everything the coaches asked,” Thorpe said. “He planned two years ago to be here and here he is.”

Sutten said he didn’t quite plan to be second in the state, but he’ll certainly take it.

“He was pretty quick,” he said of Phillips. “I pretty much knew what he was going to do. I had a pretty good year. I’m proud of that.”

Sutten finished the season with a 37-6 record, Thorpe said.

Thorpe said Cooley and Tagle both “wrestled tough” in the tournament.

Cooley found himself in the consolation bracket after losing 6-3 in the second round to Chris Cirullo of Pleasant Hill, the eventual fourth-place finisher. But once in consolation action, he rolled over Nathan Blevins 6-0, Pat Ryan of Tillamook 7-1, lost 5-2 to Mark Stafford of Estacada, and then pinned Judah Lockwood of Henley in 1:19 to take seventh.

“He made such a transformation from last year to this year,” Thorpe said, noting that Cooley wrestled Greco-Roman last spring to prepare for this season. “Colton made himself a very good offensive wrestler and it paid off.”

Helfrich, a senior, wrestling in what Thorpe described as the “toughest” weight class — 145 pounds — pinned fourth-seeded Justin Benston of Cottage Grove in 5:24 of the first round, then lost 7-6 to Mike Deskins of Wilsonville. In the consolation bracket, He beat Justin Engeseth of Banks 13-0, then pinned Robert Myers of Yamhill-Carlton in 1:58, won by forfeit over D.J. May of La Grande, and lost 7-3 to Paulo Rocha of Illinois Valley. He then was pinned by Jeremy Dupont of Madras to finish eighth.

“It’s incredible for us that Tom placed,” Thorpe said. “Tom is a wrestler who always gives you everything he has.”

In the 103-pound tournament, freshman Chris Farris lost 17-2 by a technical fall to Patrick Stampke of Burns, also a freshman, in the second round, then pinned Elrycc Berkman of Seaside in his first consolation bout. He then lost 14-0 to Nathan Teel of Estacada, who eventually placed fourth.

“It’s good to have a freshman come and progress in the tournament,” Thorpe said. “Chris has improved and gotten tough this year.”

At 112 pounds, Aris Somatis, a sophomore who wrestled varsity for the Huskies all season, beat David Yecha of Douglas 13-0 in the first round, then fell to Russell Hutchins of Philomath in his second match. In the consolation bracket, he beat Charlie White of Burns 8-0, then lost to Matt Reiersgaard of Tillamook 4-2 in overtime.

Meanwhile, fellow sophomore Danny Johnson, who wrestled JV all season for the Huskies but qualified for the state tournament with a third-place finish at districts, was pinned in his first match by Johnathon Floyd of Estacada, pinned Dan Nelson of Yamhill-Carlton in his first consolation bout, then lost 10-8 to Michael Gonzalez of Ontario.

“Aris lost a heartbreaker in that overtime match,” Thorpe noted.

“I’d love to have had them go further,” he said of Somatis and Johnson, “but I’m very excited to see what they are going to do to get ready for next year.”

In the 119-pound tournament, junior Jake Smith beat Jorge Silva of Central 16-4, then was pinned by Nic Garcia of Scappoose in 1:27. In the consolation bracket, he beat Phillip Hennerman 6-1 before losing 11-5 to Cameron Chappell of Douglas.

“For Jake, just like the other younger guys, this was his first time in the state tournament,” Thorpe said. “But he competed well. He needs to think now about what he has to do for next year.”

At 135 pounds, freshman Levi Weikel lost his first match 7-4 to senior Tawn Schatz of Philomath. In the consolation bracket, he beat Wyley Bartlett of Douglas 9-7 before being edged 7-6 to by senior Dustin Herliman of Tillamook.

Rob Helfrich, a junior wrestling in the 160-pound division, which Thorpe said was another of the toughest in the tournament, beat Bryce Smith of Philomath 7-5, then lost 9-4 to Pat Ryan of Tillamook. Then, in his first consolation match, he lost 7-3 to Tommy Marshall of Sutherlin.

“Rob’s going to do some good things for us,” Thorpe predicted.

“He wrestled with a hurt hip for the last half of the season and with his eye split open for both districts and state (an injury Helfrich sustained in practice the day before districts). He will do whatever it takes to get there.”

Thorpe said the Huskies were a team that has overcome adversity all season, and credited fellow coaches Tim Boatright, Steve Hummer, Eric Tagle, Louis Dix and Steve Schilling for helping the Huskies get through it in fine fashion.

“We had three kids have surgery, a number of kids who quit, and we wrestled a schedule that was just grueling,” he said. “I’m so proud of this team that responded this well to adversity and finished sixth in the state.