Wrestlers want to leave mark in Capital Conference

Scott Swanson

Of The New Era

In their last year as Capital Conference members, the Sweet Home wrestlers want to put an exclamation mark on their run of five straight district championships.

“A lot of guys are setting pretty high goals, pretty high standards,” said Steve Thorpe, who is entering his 15th year with the team, the last 10 as head coach.

Assisted by Tom Boatright, Steve Hummer and Eric Tagle, Thorpe is steering his 60 wrestlers toward what the team hopes will be its final championship in this league. But it won’t be easy.

“Our conference returns good wrestlers,” Thorpe said. “Cascade looks very tough, as does Mollala.”

To meet this challenge, the Huskies welcome back “a very good senior class,” according to Thorpe, that includes two state place winners in seniors Trevor Tagle (140 pounds) and Shane Vandehei (130), both of whom finished third in the state 3A championships last season.

Vandehei is a three-time state placer, who said he’s shooting for more this year. He said he participated in the Sweet Home wrestling camp, wrestled freestyle and greco-roman during the off-season and trained during the fall to get ready for his senior season.

“I want to try to break the (school) record for most falls – 28,” he said. “I plan to be the district champ for the third year in a row and I want to be a state champion this year.”

Tagle, who just finished the football season as a tailback and all-league defensive back, said he’s still working on getting into wrestling shape and he’s shooting for a district title and “hopefully I’ll take the state title this year.”

He also participated in the Sweet Home camp and also went to the Oregon State University camp last summer, as he hopes to wrestle at OSU.

Tagle said he’s been working on his leg shots and riding technique, two areas where he said he wasn’t too strong last season.

“I got switched a lot,” he said. “I’ve worked on that.”

Also back are senior Colton Cooley (171) and sophomore Cody Sells (125), who placed at the state freestyle and greco-roman state championships which followed the OSAA championships meet. Plus, Sweet Home has four returning state qualifiers in sophomore Joe McCaslin (119), Sells, junior Sawyer Anderson (152) and senior Kyle Albert (130).

Sweet Home will open its season Dec. 2-3 at the Cottage Grove tournament, where Thorpe expects his team to wrestle five duals. The freshmen/novice team will wrestle Dec. 1 at South Albany.

Thorpe said he thinks his team is further along than it was at this point last season.

“We’ve had lots of guys train over the spring, summer and fall in preparation for this season,” he said. “We’ve had good leadership out of the senior crew. And we have a freshman class that’s willing to learn and get better.”

Sweet Home Wrestling Roster

Sawyer Anderson, Jr., 152

Kyle Albert, Sr., 130

Ben Brewer, So., 171

Blain Bates, Jr., 189

Rasmus Birk, Jr., 160

Ben Brewer, So., 171

Robert Callagan, Fr., 171

Logan Clark, Fr., 215

Colton Cooley, Sr., 171

Nathan Dahl, So., 275

Joey Ellis, Sr., 189

Lief Erickson, Fr., 125

Chris Farris, Fr., 103

Laura Gourley, Fr., 160

Stephen Hall, So., 119

Casey Hanscam, Jr., 135

Robert Helfrich, Jr., 160

Tom Helfrich, Sr., 152

Jacob Heppler, Fr., 160

Kyle Holmes, Fr., 275

Mark Horton, Jr., 112

Casey Johnson, So., 112

Danny Johnson, So., 103

Caleb Keeney, Fr., 160

Stephen Kidd, Sr., 171

Andrew Knight, Jr. 152

Thomas Larsen, Jr., 275

Brandon Lawson, Jr., 160

Jacob McCullum, Fr., 152

Ridge McKinney, Jr., 145

James Meeker, Sr., 145

Cory Ottre, Jr., 152

Matt Parker, Jr., 275

Jack Perry, Fr., 125

Kody Pickle, So., 160

Nick Pitts, So, 152

Za Ramsey, So., 160

Josh Rice, Fr., 103

Derek Sharp, So., 119

Daniel Smith, Jr., 135

Jake Smith, Jr., 125

Nikki Smith, Fr., 112

Aris Somatis, So., 112

John Sutten, Sr., 130

Trevor Tagle, Sr., 140

Paul Torres, Fr., 215

Shaw Valentine, So., 215

Shane Vandehei, Sr., 130

Travis Walker, Sr., 130

Levi Weikel, Fr., 130

Shorty Weikel, Sr., 145

Logan White, Fr., 119

Tyler White, Fr., 103

Alex Whitlow, Fr., 152

Brent Woody, Jr., 171

Kevin Yeung, Jr., 130

Nick Zahler, So., 103


Danielle Dimick

Alicia Nichol


Schedule may be subject to change. If in doubt, check weekly schedule in The New Era.

Dec. 1 @South Albany Novice TBA

Dec. 2 @ Cottage Grove TBA

Dec. 7 @ Banks 5 p.m.

Dec. 9 Lebanon, Silverton 4 p.m.

Central Linn

Dec. 14 @ Lebanon 4 p.m.

Dec. 17 @ McKay Tournament TBA

Jan. 5 Cascade 6 p.m.

Jan. 7 @ Roseburg Tournament TBA

Jan. 11 @ Molalla 6 p.m.

Jan. 13-14 @ Oregon Classic TBA


Jan. 14 @ Taft Tournament (JV) TBA

Jan. 19 North Marion, Culver 6 p.m.

Jan. 20-21 @ Pac Rim Tournament TBA


Jan. 26 @ Stayton 6 p.m.

Jan. 28 @ South Albany Tournament 10 a.m.

Feb. 2 @ Sisters 6 p.m.

Feb. 10-11 Districts-Stayton TBA

Feb. 16-17 State Championships-Salem TBA