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High above “The Cage” amidst the darkness and shadows of the Southridge High balcony overlooking the center wrestling mat, an on-edge Beaverton High 152-pound Stephen Marcille paced, like a penned in cougar waiting to be unleashed from its confines.

Once Marcille made his way down the Skyhawk bleacher stands and descended under the glaring Southridge spotlight to haggle with Andre Hastings, the Beaver grappler wasted little time in declaring his official homecoming.

Marcille let fly about six weeks of pent-up energy, besieging Hastings in a one 26-second clinic of attacking and one-leg takedowns, to bag his first pin of the season just 1:34 into the first round. The Beavers might have lost to the Skyhawks, 59-9, but Marcille’s scintillating, don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it introduction to the season was the kind of high point Beaverton could build off of the rest of the Metro League season.

“That was very unexpected,” said Marcille of his quick pin. “I thought I might get a little tired without much practice, but pinning him that fast was nice. I came out here and worked my butt off. I went out there swinging. I tried tying up with him and he didn’t want to, so I just kept pushing him and pushing him. He made a mistake, and I punished him for it.”

Just three days prior to the Beavers’ dual meet with the respected, but hated Skyhawks, Marcille decided to return to the Beaverton wrestling room after a month-long hiatus away from his teammates. Thursday’s matchup with Hastings was Marcille’s season debut, a chance to rekindle that missing wrestling flame, to hit the reset button for a missed month of conditioning and competition.

Following a drawn-out, longer-than-expected football season in which Marcille caught passes at wide receiver and suited up at defensive back for the playoff-destined Beaver football team, the junior was unsure if he wanted to return to the wrestling team. Those hesitant feelings changed, however, after Marcille witnessed his younger teammates struggle to put up points against some of the Metro League’s best teams. And, as a ferocious competitor who was never afraid to go across the middle for a pass or crush an opposing pass catcher from his cornerback spot on the football filed, Marcille wasn’t going sit out and observe the Beaverton grapplers suffer.

“Wrestling is the toughest sport out there,” said Marcille. “I wanted to overcome adversity. This is what I wanted to do. I went to a couple wrestling matches as was like ‘Why I am not out here?’ I love doing this, so why not finish it? I came back out to wrestle with these guys.”

Marcille was gladly ushered back to the team last week and, though he has a way to go to reclaim his wrestling condition, hopes he can make a difference for the veteran-starved Beavers.

“We’re really young,” said Marcille. “We make a couple mistakes that result in matches being lost. There were a lot of matches tonight that could’ve gone either way. It’s just some of the moves we don’t capitalize on or some of the mistakes we make that Southridge finished.”

“I have to work super hard because there’s a lot of good competition in the Metro,” said Marcille. “I’m just going to go out every day, train my butt off, work with the team and see what happens. I’m just hoping to get back to the top.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton 220-pound wrestler Ryland Boyer squares up Southridges Nathan Buell in the second period of Buells pin on Thursday.

Wrangling in front of a jammed Southridge rooting section that was in accord with the entire match’s ebbs and flows, the Beavers seized the chance to compete against some of their childhood rivals.

“There’s always a lot of brawls,” said Beaverton 138-pound senior Torben Billow. “With wrestling, it’s basically a fight out there. Kids get really into it, especially at a meet like this where Southridge has so many fans and so many people watching the match. You just don’t see that too much in wrestling anymore. It’s a really intense atmosphere. I think it makes the team wrestle better, when they have something to wrestle for.”

“Nobody likes to lose to each other on either Beaverton or Southridge’s side,” added Beaver 170-pound wrestler Gordon Smith. “It gets real intense with everybody knowing each other in the Metro League.”

Billow went up 6-4 against Emery Shandel and tallied a near fall in the third period for the three-point major decision victory. Billow had wrestled Emery Shandel four times over his career at 138 pounds and each outcome came down to points, not pins.

The Beaver senior said Shandel is a compact wrestler, so Billows just wanted to stay solid and get ahead in the point total.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton 126-pound wrestler Daniel Diaz went the full six minutes but lost by decision against Southridge on the road on Thursday.

“Losing sucks in wrestling, so winning always feels good,” said Billow. “I wanted to keep my head and wrestle smart. I felt a little sloppy, but it’s always kind of sloppy when you have a rivalry with the other team and your nerves get to you.”

In his final year as a Beaver, Billow wants to qualify for the 6A state championships, being that he didn’t make it as a sophomore or junior. Billow said he’s let the pressure of the regional meet get to his head in the past and the 138-pound regional bracket is always stacked with state-worthy foes.

“Honestly, I just want to be happy with my performance on the mat,” said Billows. “Even if I don’t win, I want to give it my all and wrestle as hard as I can. program. It’s been pretty tough, but we’re growing. I think in the next couple years we’ll definitely be a lot better.

Bloodied and bruised, but not beaten, Smith denied Southridge’s Jordan McCray’s three near falls in the 170-pound match, avoided getting pinned and a major decision defeat. Smith was knocked woozy by a blow to the face, but he battled through the dizziness as well as McCray’s trio of flatbacks that nearly put Smith out to pasture.

“I knew I wasn’t going to come out of the match pinned,” said Smith. “That would’ve been a bad way to ride the bus home.”

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