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Newberg takes fourth at Rose City Championships


Class 6A wrestling — The Tigers earn a top finish despite not advancing a wrestler to the finals

Led by heavyweights Dakota Church and Evan Smith, Newberg put forth a workmanlike effort that was good enough to bring home fourth place at the Rose City Championships Friday and Saturday at Westview High School.

Placing third and fifth, respectively, Church and Smith were among the six Tigers to finish on the podium, but none advanced to the championship round. As frustrating as that can be, it’s also a testament to the effort Newberg put in fighting through the consolation rounds.

“We don’t have superstars,” head coach Neil Russo said. “We have a bunch of kids who are going to have to grind through tournaments and grind through matches. They did a pretty good job of doing that.”

Church fell 3-2 in a tiebreaker to West Linn’s Ellis Eaton, but came back with a 7-0 decision and a fall to place third. Smith, who Russo categorized as a 220-pounder wrestling at heavyweight, earned four consecutive falls in the consolation bracket en route to fifth.

The two combined to score 42 of Newberg’s 194 points, which placed them behind Lebanon (203), Nampa (226.5) and champion West Linn (233.5).

Also placing for the Tigers were Patrick Boulanger, who was fourth at 113; Matt McCarthy, who was fifth at 152; Aerie Baxter, who was fifth at 106; and Zane Burgess, who was sixth at 160.

“The kids are working hard and wrestling hard, but we have to work smart and wrestle smart also,” Russo said. “We’ve got to become students of the game and manage some situations, manage matches, a little bit better.”

The Tigers opened the season Dec. 12 at McKay, getting nine pins en route to an easy 60-15 win. Newberg will host South Salem and McNary at 5 p.m. Wednesday, then head to Washington for the Pasco Invitational Friday through Sunday.