Wrestlers first at Cascade tourney

Sweet Home finished first in the 15-team Perry Burlison Invitational wrestling tournament Friday at Cascade, an event shortened somewhat by foul weather.

Coach Steve Thorpe said five teams left at 3 p.m. because of freezing rain and he decided at 5 p.m. to send home all his wrestlers who didn’t have parents at the tournament who were willing to assume responsibility for getting them home. Three wrestlers, Tyler Holly at 112 pounds, Alex Armstrong at 171 and Brad Pitts at 189, were still alive at that point, but Thorpe said he then decided to have them withdraw.

Despite that, the Huskies still finished first, with 210 points, ahead of Henley, which defeated a shorthanded Sweet Home team the week before in a dual match. Cascade was third with 173.5 points, followed by Lebanon (167) and Tillamook (161).

Individual champions were Colton Schilling at 103 pounds, Tyler Cowger at 130, Kyle Hummer at 145 and Brock Crocker at 152.

Mitch Grove was runner-up at 125 and Taylor Tagle was second at 135.

“Tyler Cowger and Mitch Grove each had very big wins,” Thorpe said.

“Cowger beat 2009 4A state runner-up Lamont Hook of Henley 3-0 in the finals.

“Mitch pinned 2009 4A state champion Adam Smith of Tillamook in the semi-finals. This was the first time Mitch had beat Smith.”

Other “great” efforts came from Crocker, Holly and Hummer, the latter two wrestling their first matches of the season.

“Each had come-from-behind wins that were won on heart,” Thorpe said. “I was not surprised by their effort. Also, it was the first time for Hummer and Holly and Tagle to be on the mat this season.”

The tournament gave Sweet Home a chance to get an early-season test against some of the tougher programs that it will see down the road.

“It was good to see some teams that we typically don’t see until later in the season,” Thorpe said. “That gives us an idea of what to expect.

“We are not close to full strength yet. Tagle and Holly got a very late start due to our football success. Hummer had only four practices going into the tournament. He was released last Friday from knee surgery.

“We need to keep improving and working on being more physical. We are working hard and although we are having success we still need to focus on where we need to improve.”

Sweet Home hosts a four-way dual meet Tuesday evening, Dec. 15, against Scappoose, North Marion and Molalla, then travels to Thurston on Friday.

Perry Burlison Invitational Team scores: Sweet Home 210, Henley 196, Cascade 173.5, Lebanon 167, Tillamook 161, Molalla 109.5, McMinnville 105, Philomath 97, Rainier 57, Cottage Grove 45, Elmira 27, Pleasant Hill 12, Perrydale 12, Marist 2, Junction City 1.