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Friday, September 22, 2023
Sept. 22, 2023

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Union teams up to take county’s wrestling crown

By , Columbian High School Sports Reporter
2 Photos
Vivian Johnson/For The Columbian
Union's Preston Hu, left, beats Hunter Goguen of Heritage to win the 119-pound weight division at the Clark County Championships.
Vivian Johnson/For The Columbian Union's Preston Hu, left, beats Hunter Goguen of Heritage to win the 119-pound weight division at the Clark County Championships. Photo Gallery

Click here for details on every winner of every weight class at the Clark County Championships.

A year ago, Ricky Simon became Union’s first Clark County champion in wrestling.

Oh, it is so much better for Simon and the Titans this year.

Simon became the school’s first two-time winner, the Titans went 4-0 in the finals Saturday night, and Union won its first team title, highlighting the 39th annual Clark County Wrestling Championships at Skyview High School.

“That means the most to me,” Simon said, celebrating the team title. “Senior year, three years open, our school, and we’re first in Clark County. That’s a great feeling.”

Simon beat La Center’s Chris Mayolo in the featured match of the night, at 145 pounds. The final contest of the evening pitted 2009 county champions against each other — Simon won at 152 last year, while Mayolo was moving up from 130 pounds.

“I just knew he was a phenomenal thrower. I just stayed in position and kept working his legs,” Simon explained after winning 12-6. “This really means a lot to me, to be a two-timer.”

Click here for details on every winner of every weight class at the Clark County Championships.

Union expected — and got — wins from Preston Hu at 119 pounds and Clint Coulter at 189. Sophomore Dillon Thomas also crashed the champions party with a victory at 171.

Thomas avenged a loss to Caleb Malychewski of Camas earlier in the season with an 8-0 victory in the finals.

“You just have to go after it in practice,” Thomas said. “Amazing. There are so many words I could use to describe it. Overwhelming.”

Coulter found himself in a battle with Dean Hancock of Battle Ground. Coulter tied it 1-1 early in the third period, then took down Hancock in the final five seconds and ended up with a quick pin.

“I just had to push through. He’s a tough opponent,” Coulter said. “I persevered.”

Hu also got a pin, but his came a bit earlier, in the second round, against Hunter Goguen of Heritage. Hu had surgery on an ankle five months ago, and he was not sure how he would fare this season.

“It was an obstacle at first, but I overcame it,” he said.

His pin, which came early in the finals, was a key for the team win, too. Union ended up beating Heritage 184-164.5. Union had four finalists, while Heritage had five.

“A lot of our kids before the finals got us to the point where we could leave it up to our seniors (Simon and Hu),” Union coach John Godinho said. “Remarkable.”

Heritage ended up with two champions. Dean Rogers, in the second match of the night, pinned Zane Shaut of Battle Ground to win the 285-pound title. He had to take time for an injured knee, but he said there was no doubt that he would finish the match.

“I was finishing no matter what,” he said. “I’ll limp out there. I don’t care. I’m not a fan of quitting.”

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Kyle Walker won at 140 pounds for Heritage, pinning Miguel Salamanca of Camas.

“I don’t think I’ve missed a Clark County tournament since I was 6,” he said. “Just coming here to see my idols on the podium has always been big motivation for me.”

Class 1A La Center also had two champions, including one from the match of the night.

Patrick Mayolo won the 112-pound title with a pin in overtime. He trailed 8-0 early in the third period, but a takedown and two near-falls made it close. Then Mayolo got a takedown to tie the match at 9 just as the third period horn sounded. Then, not satisfied with just a takedown in overtime, he got the pin.

He said he was a little worried, but then he gave himself a pep talk.

“I starting telling myself I’m a pinner, and I’m a champion, and I came here to win,” he said.Jake Johnson also won in overtime for La Center, defeating Durant Fish of Heritage 5-4 in the third extra round at 135 pounds.

“That was one of the greatest moments in my life in wrestling,” Johnson said.

Jake Kreglo of Hockinson denied Cody Wood’s bid for a third county title. Kreglo beat the Hockinson senior 7-5, avenging a finals loss last year to Wood.

Columbia River got a pair of champions. Paul Connell won at 160 pounds, beating Joseph Zacrozny of Ridgefield 5-3. Scott Schnitzer then shut out Harrison Newhouse of Prairie 7-0 at 152 pounds.

Connell said he has been motivated since finishing eighth last year at state. Schnitzer won his senior year in his first time competing at this event.

State runner-up Emilio Alcantar won his first county title, beating teammate Joey Castrey at 130 pounds, 9-5. Alcantar said it is tough to face a teammate in such a big tournament, but Castrey said he still had fun.

Tim Peraza of Evergreen beat Miguel Simon of Battle Ground 6-3 to claim the 215-pound title.

“Coming in third last year, then coming in first this year means a lot to me,” he said. “I’ve put a lot of work into this.”

Washougal’s Chism King opened the night with a pin over Joel Wiley of Prairie in the 103-pound class.

“I’ve been working my butt off every day,” he said.

Washougal won the inaugural Clark County girls tournament. Five Panthers scored individual titles: Madelynn McIlwain (112 pounds), Colleen Wright (125), Megan Dunham (130, Arin Vandiver (140) and Chelsea Eakins (145).

Elise Yoshioka of Skyview (103), Chelsea Reynosa of Battle Ground (119), Jessica Sokolowski of La Center (135), Stephanie Simon of Evergreen (152), Kaylee Byrd of La Center (160), Meggan Pitner of Battle Ground (171) and Mixtley Simon of Battle Ground (285) also claimed titles.

Columbian High School Sports Reporter