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Warrior wrestling comes back, cant stop Sunset


Aloha closes gap late vs. Apollos, looks ahead to districts

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Aloha 170-pound senior wrestler Maurice McSwain won his match by decision over Sunsets Logan Lachenmeier on Wednesday.

Aloha's “Death Row” nearly put the Warrior wrestling team on the threshold of barricading its Metro League dominance and grip on the conference crown.

On Wednesday, the Warrior forbidding foursome of 170-pound Maurice McSwain (win by decision), 182-pound Joe Kovachevich (decision) 195-pound Concepcion Rodelo (first round pin) and 285-pound Cortez Rodelo (first round pin) all came out victorious to cut into Sunset's sizable advantage.

In the end, however, Aloha came up just short of the on-a-mission Apollos losing, 36-27, on Sunset's home mat. Gone was the three-time defending league champ Warriors' grasp of the Metro, though the deadly backend of Aloha's lineup certainly did all they could to make Sunset's blood turn cold.

“We feel like it comes down to us every week to try and pull back the win,” said Concepcion Rodelo of Aloha's “Death Row”, “In most cases, we've been able to pull it off. We approach every match like a big match and just try to get six points as fast as we can over and over again.”

“We have to take it upon ourselves to bring things back in our favor,” added Kovachevich. “We have a lot of young guys in our first four or five weights so it's on us for most duals. We had a couple of guys who didn't get pins like myself and Mo (McSwain) and Casey (Wight). We weren't able to win at the extent that we were hoping to win those matches to pout our team ahead.”

“It's always more exciting when it's close like that,” said McSwain. “Our lightweights can go either way, but when it starts to get big and heavy, that's when it really counts. We just have to keep rolling.”

Concepcion Rodelo rolled Sunset's Nathan Hartmeier in the first 30 seconds of the first round and set off a raucous celebration behind the Aloha bench, knowing the Warriors still had a chance to beat Aloha trailing just 31-21. Lately Rodelo said he'd been working on getting his over-unders on the guy and working to throw him early on. The formulated plan hurried Hartmeier into an unfavorable chance, and put six points on the board for Aloha.

“I just wanted to get that match over as fast as I could,” said Concepcion Rodelo. “I had my adrenaline pumping. I felt good. It didn't take a lot to pull that off. It ended up right in my favor and I got the guy on his back in no time at all. I wanted to get that six (points) for my team so we could hopefully get that win at the end.”

Kovachevich clamored for a pin against Ellis Parr in the 182-pound match, but had to settle for the three-point, 5-3, decision because Parr refused to give in late in the third period.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Aloha 152-pound junior Ryan Schwartz started the Warriors comeback against Aloha, pinning Tristan Stachfield in the first round.

“He's a tough guy,” said Kovachevich of Parr. “I wanted the fall for my team as fast as I could. I knew if it went six minutes, it'd be close match and very difficult to win. Ellis wrestled a great match. I look forward to seeing him at regionals.”

Parr looked to have control of the match in the second round, but the Warrior senior spun away from Parr and took the lead with a two-point reversal.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Aloha 106-pound wrestler Corbin Rupe won the Warriors first match of the night via decision against Sunsets Ryan Linnell.

“He took me down and that got in my head a little bit and got me mad,” said Kovachevich. “I knew I had to turn things around if I wanted to give myself and my team a chance at winning.”

McSwain scored three takedowns in the first round against Sunset's Logan Lachenmeier to go up 6-2. The senior 170-pounder pushed the lead to 9-2, but couldn't find an opening to lay out the squirmy Lachenmeier who stayed conservative to not give up points to Aloha.

“I was tired, but I felt good about it,” said McSwain. “I just have to get better on getting pins when the team needs me to. Overall, it was a good match though.”

Cortez Rodelo was admittedly gassed after five days off from practice because of the snow, but the quick heavyweight made fast work of Alex Betancourt, pinning the Apollo with 11 seconds left in the first round. After seeing his teammate Ricky Tilbury get taken down and pinned in the 220-pound match prior to his, Rodelo said he wanted to go hard early.

“I was going to calm down and wait, but then I decided to get after it, and get it done,” said Rodelo.

Another round or two, Rodelo said, and who knows what could've happened because of the lack of stamina. Yet, the big man came out unscathed and retained his notion as one of the regional favorites in the 285-pound bracket looking ahead to next week.

“I felt good,” said Rodelo. “I just need to get back to work in practice and stay at it.”

Corbin Rupe, 106 pounds, said the first and second rounds of match against Daniel Linnell were “pretty rough”, but he was able to outlive the Apollo in the last two minutes. Rupe's 5-0 decision win over Linnell gave Aloha a 3-0 lead, though the Warriors dropped the next six matches.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Aloha 195-pound wrestler Concepcion Rodelo gave the Warriors a chance at team victory, flattening Sunsets Nathan Hartmeier.

“In the third round I just started working and taking more shots,” said Rupe. “I got a bigger lead. I was trying to get a pin, but I realized late in the third round I wasn't going to get that. It still felt good to get a win.”

With so many untried freshmen and sophomores on the roster, Aloha struggled to get decision points at the top of the lineup. Sunset, on the other hand, scored major decisions and pins on their way to an early 24-3 lead.

“We didn't dominate in the lower weights,” said Cortez Rodelo. “We had one win in the first five or six matches. That kind of set the tone for the whole dual and kind of screwed us over.”

“We fought hard,” added Rupe. “I feel like there were a couple errors in a couple spots...we just have ready to wrestle tougher, definitely harder. I think we're going to do well at state and definitely send some guys to regionals and even finish above Sunset.”

McSwain mentioned there were many matches that could've gone in Aloha's favor against Sunset, though not all was lost with the defeat. The Warriors have a chance to reclaim their stature as one of the state's dominant programs with regionals coming up Feb. 21-22 at Forest Grove High School. Now, Aloha knows who to target as a program, who to shoot for when the intensity rises, when the bright lights gleam and state tournament tickets are on the line.

“We just have to practice harder in the practice room, so those matches become ours,” said McSwain. “Ultimately, the goal is to get better before regionals. Some guys know we have to do. I'm not going to guarantee anything, but I think we're going to come out close to the top.”

And for McSwain's personal goal in the regional 170-pound bracket on Friday and Saturday?

“I see myself winning it,” said McSwain. “I have to win. I know I can take everybody down. I just have to condition and keep myself in shape.”