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Rogers wrestles like a veteran at 4A regionals (video)

Battle Ground freshman wins 4A regional title

By , Columbian Sports Editor
Published: February 13, 2016, 10:23pm

CAMAS — Even in the rare company of regional wrestling champions, James Rogers isn’t like the others.

Four Clark County wrestlers won championships Saturday at Class 4A Region 3 championships at Camas High School.

Three are upperclassmen who placed at state last year. Each hopes to end their season with a championship at Mat Classic next weekend in Tacoma.

Then there’s Rogers, a Battle Ground freshman who seems to have this high school wrestling thing pinned down.

Rogers beat senior Sean Van Earwage of Federal Way’s Todd Beamer High 6-5 in the closest match of Saturday’s tournament, which gathered the top 4A wrestlers from Southwest Washington to the south Puget Sound.

With the 145-pound match tied 4-4 and 20 seconds left, Rogers got a two-point takedown by lifting one of Van Earwage’s legs off the ground and using his foot to sweep the other leg.

He then thwarted Van Earwage’s last desperate attack to beat a wrestler who placed fourth in state last year.

“I just wanted it,” said Rogers, who has lost just twice this year. “It wasn’t a matter of technique or preparation, I was the guy who wanted it more. He wrestled a great match and I’ll probably see him next week.”

Rogers may be young, but he has the talent and experience to match wits with upperclassmen.

“In every tournament he’s been in, he doesn’t get intimidated,” said his father, Battle Ground coach Jay Rogers. “He doesn’t get overly excited.”

Rogers has wrestled most of his life and competed in national tournaments. Saturday, his father was most proud of the versatility Rogers showed in the championship match.

“I think he was a little slow to start because his opponent was very conservative,” Jay Rogers said. “He did a very good job blocking and shutting down Jake’s offense. He showed his ability to transition into a different style to beat his opponent. That shows some maturity.”

Maturity is also on the side of Ethan Rotondo, Tommy Strassenberg and Dallas Goodpaster. Those three will head to Mat Classic with momentum after convincing wins on Saturday.

Rotondo of Union hasn’t lost a high school match since falling in the 106-pound state championship match last year. Saturday, he improved to 36-0 this season by beating Tahoma’s Austin Michalski 15-4 for the 106-pound regional title.

“It’s one more week to put it all on the line,” Rotondo said. “I’ve made it this far, I’ve got to finish it out. This whole season has seemed faster than it really is. It’s the fastest season I’ve wrestled.”

Strassenberg, also of Union, is looking for a strong finish to his season at Mat Classic, where he placed fourth as a freshman and fifth as a sophomore.

Saturday, Strassenberg won the 152-pound title 9-7 over Todd Beamer’s Adrian Avena. The match saw Strassenberg jump to a 7-2 lead before withstanding his opponent’s third-round rally.

“It feels like I’m finally able to wrestle to my full potential,” he said. “There are still a couple of things, but winning regionals really helps me out. I feel that on my feet I can be pretty dominant and take people down. When I was younger I didn’t really score from my feet.”

Evergreen senior Dallas Goodpaster was unstoppable in Saturday’s tournament. The 275-pounder pinned all three of his opponents in the first round, including Kent-Meridian’s Marquise Card just 55 seconds into the championship match.

“I was just staying in people’s faces,” he said. “I stayed in their face, got the takedown, then started working from the top.”

Goodpaster has been in a groove all season, going 38-2 after placing second in state last year. He says he knows before a tournament whether he’ll be dominant or not.

“Once I start warming up and I feel my lungs start to open, that’s when I can really tell if I’m on or not,” he said.

Tahoma won the team title followed by Union, which had freshman Danny Snediker place second at 132 pounds, senior Shan Singh place second at 182 and Zach Berfanger place second at 195.

Berfanger had a tough match against a returning state champ in Kent-Meridian’s Emmanuel Diagbe, who beat Berfanger’s brother Alex for the state championship last season.

Mountain View’s Will Taisacan, who placed fourth in state last year, also fell short to a returning state champion. The senior lost 10-2 to Kentridge’s Derek Freitag in a 113-pound match.

Camas was third, just one-half point behind the Titans. Rylan Thompson was runner-up at 126 pounds and Dylan Ingram placed second at 220.

Evergreen’s Enrique Rivera placed second at 170 pounds.

The top four wrestlers in each weight class Saturday advance to Mat Classic, which begins Friday at the Tacoma Dome.

At Camas High school
Team scores — 1, Tahoma 180; 2, Union 132½; 3, Camas 132; 4, Decatur 112; 5, Kentridge 109½; 6, Evergreen 109; 7, Todd Beamer 78; 8, Kent-Meridian 61; 9, Battle Ground 60; 10, Kentwood 50; 11, Federal Way 35; 12, Heritage 32; 13, Mountain View 20; 14, Skyview 20; 15, Thomas Jefferson 10; 16, Kentlake 6.
Champions and local state qualifiers
106 — 1st: Ethan Rotondo (Union) d. Austin Michalski (Tahoma) 15-4. 3rd: Vitaliy Manolov (Union) d. Jack Latimer (Camas) 5-4.
113 — 1st: Derek Freitag (Kentridge) d. Will Taisacan (MV) 10-2. 3rd: Izzy Murrietta (Tahoma) p. Tanner Craig (Camas) 2:41.
120 — 1st: Andy Sandhu (Kentwood) d. Nathan Hobbs (Kentridge) 51. 3rd: Tyler Lantz (Kentridge) d. Joseph Harnett (BG) 10-6.
126 — 1st:  Nick Whitehead (Tahoma) p. Rylan Thompson (Camas) 1:47. 3rd: Gerardo Suarez (KM) d. Chris Joner (BG) 6-5.
132 — 1st: Justin Sipila (Tahoma) p. Danny Snediker (Union) 5:27. 3rd: Isaiah Av (Evergreen) p. Dylan Weiting (Tahoma).
138 — 1st: Ryden Fu (Tahoma) d. Leviticus Arizpe (Decatur) 5-2. 3rd: Dominic Delgado (Camas) d. Payton Masterson (Tahoma).
145 — 1st: James Rogers (BG) d. Sean Van Earwage (TB) 6-5. 3rd: J.J. Talavera (Union) d. Phoenix Copp (Kentridge) 6-2.
152 — 1st: Tommy Strassenberg (Union) d. Adrian Avena (TB) 9-7. 3rd: Neithan Stanley (Heritage) p. Payton Viltz (Kentridge) 3:55.
160 — 1st: Isaiah Shores (Kentridge) d. Zach Berry (Decatur) 3-2. 3rd: Dylan Goodpaster (Evergreen) p. Blake Capperauld (Kentwood).
170 — 1st: JJ Dixon (Decatur) d. Enrique Rivera (Evergreen) 9-3. 3rd: Sam Malychewski (Camas) d. Taylor Stewart (BG) 8-4.
182 — 1st: Mitchell Owens (TB) p. Shan Singh (Union) 3:11. 3rd: Tanner Howington (Camas) d. Matt Vanbrunt (Kentwood) 5-3.
195 — 1st: Emmanuel Diagbe (KM) d. Zach Berfanger (Union) 14-6. 3rd: Dagen Kramer (Tahoma) d. Trenton Harris (Kentwood) 8-1.
220 — 1st: Andrzej Hughes-Murray (FW) d. Dylan Ingram (Camas) 11-5; 3rd: Quincy Salu (Decatur) p. Nic Carbone (Tahoma) 3:33.
285 — 1st: Dallas Goodpaster (Evergreen) p. Marquise Card (KM) 0:55; 3rd: Jimmy Rowe (Skvyiew) p. Chase Mulcahhy (Tahoma) 0:55.