Union wrestlers claim six champions, 1 team title

Big night for Titans at Clark County Championships

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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It was Union’s gym, it was Union’s night.

Not just for the six individual champions, but the entire wrestling program.

The Titans went 6-2 in the individual finals and crushed the competition to claim their third consecutive Clark County Wrestling Championships team title Saturday night.

“We’re 100 percent all the time, and it all counts as a championship for the team,” said Josiah Reynolds, who was the last wrestler of the night, winning the 152-pound title for the Titans. “We’re a family. Blood, sweat, and tears in the wrestling room, then we came out here and showed we are a family and a team.”

A team with a bunch of winners.

Dillon Thomas won his third consecutive Clark County title, this year taking home the crown at 182 pounds with a 4-3 decision over Prairie’s Cody Geary.

Tyler Davis made it back-to-back wins in this tournament, beating Gabe Morales of Heritage 4-2 in the 132-pound finals.

Sophomore Daniel Rice opened the night with an easy decision to win at 106 pounds.

Senior Matt Rice topped teammate Alex Berfanger for the 170-pound title — a guaranteed win for the Titans and one of the two losses in the finals for Union.

And Bryson Page was a beast at 195 pounds, winning all four of his matches in the two-day tournament with first-period pins.

Evergreen was second in total of wins with four.

Michael Nguyen, at 113 pounds, and brother Matthew Nguyen, at 120, both won their second consecutive county titles.

“Every time I get a pin, it means a lot to me,” said Michael, a defending state champion, as well. “I know that I work harder than almost everyone here, if not everyone. Just knowing that gives me the confidence to always push the pace and go for it.”

Matthew also had a relatively easy time in his county defense.

“It feels good, but I have bigger goals than this,” he said.

Ramon Ortiz (126 pounds) and Anthony Thomas (160) also prevailed for the Plainsmen.

Hudson’s Bay had four finalists and ended up taking second in the team standings. Union totalled 254.5 points while Bay ended up with 190.

“Six Clark County champions. That’s pretty impressive,” Union coach John Godinho said. “We wrestled well as a team. We only had two No. 1 seeds, and we lost a couple close ones in the semifinals.”

The Titans all agreed, too, that they prefer doing things together rather than as individuals.

“I feel the team title is always better than winning it for yourself,” Davis said.

The Titans also appreciated competing in their gym. This was the first time Union has hosted the annual showcase.

“It’s fun to do it on my own mats and in front of my home crowd,” Davis said.

“Us hosting just brought us closer together,” Daniel Rice said. “It’s kind of a home-field advantage for us. It’s awesome to be able to perform in front of a huge crowd and live up to my own expectations.”

The Clark County Wrestling Championships do not count toward any advancement to the postseason or any run to the state tournament. It is for bragging rights. It also does not care about classifications. Two Class 1A wrestlers took home titles this year.

La Center’s Patrick Mayolo became a two-time champion with his overtime victory over Aaron Blaine of Hudson’s Bay at 138 pounds. Mayolo, a senior, was a champion as a sophomore, too.

“Clark County is all about pride. It’s not the biggest tournament around, but it feels good to win,” Mayolo said.

Ridgefield’s John White also needed overtime for his victory. After a 1-1 tie in regulation, White pinned Skyview’s Riley Bockmier to win at 220 pounds.

“Everyone’s going to cheer for me at school, and it’s going to be great,” White said.

Hudson’s Bay senior Anniru Kamara topped George Stoyanov of Mountain View at 145 pounds with a dominating third period.

“I’ve been working for this, a lot of long hours,” he said.

Heritage senior Ian Overton held down Bay’s Josh Ingebretson for the entire third period for a 1-0 victory to win at 285 pounds.

“I don’t even know how to describe it. You’re using every muscle in your body,” Overton said. “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”

Add it all up and 14 champions were crowned, six from the home team.

The Titans, though, say the six individual crowns are just a way of getting the one title they really care about every January.

“Honestly, it’s just more fun to help the team to a third Clark County championship,” Page said.

Note: Look for more notes on the Clark County Wrestling Championships at The Columbian’s high school sports blog at 360preps.com