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Newberg wrestling team stays on course


The Tigers tip Tualatin 39-31 and Tigard 66-12 to remain unbeaten in district dual meets this season

TIGARD — Adding notches to its belt in defeating Tualatin and Tigard, Newberg remains on track for a season-ending showdown with rival McMinnville next week.

Both the Tigers and the Grizzlies are currently undefeated in district dual meets, with Newberg needing to beat North Salem at 7 p.m. Thursday on Senior Night in order to hold up its end of the bargain.

Newberg squared off against the Timberwolves in its first match Jan. 23 and had their hands full, pulling out a 39-31 victory on the strength of bonus points, as both teams won seven matches.

“I think that’s the third dual we’ve had go 7-7,” said NHS coach Neil Russo. “We’re staying off our backs and not giving up those bonus points.”by: SETH GORDON - Prelude to a slam - Senior Jack Kerwin lifts Tigard's Eli Neely en route to a takedown Jan. 23 in Tigard. Kerwin went on to earn a 16-7 major decision and NHS rolled to a 66-12 victory.

Aerie Baxter and Patrick Boulanger got the Tigers off to a start against Tualatin, securing pins at 106 and 113 pounds, respectively, in the first two bouts of the match.

“Both (Baxter) and (Boulanger) did a great job,’ Russo said. “They’re both young and they’re figuring out there’s a little bit of responsibility with being the first couple guys out there and have to go out with some energy. We expect that. It’s like a leadoff hitter in baseball, we need that energy and we need that jump start.”

Wyatt Rude and Tim Lane followed up with pins of their own at 126 and 132, respectively, to push Newberg’s lead to 24-3 after five matches, but Tualatin responded with two falls of its own at 138 and 145 to make it 24-15.

Matthew McCarthy then pinned Brandon Harper at 152 pounds and Jack Kerwin earned a 6-1 decision over Oliver Price, with the latter delivering the winning points in the match as the Timberwolves earned a decision, a major decision and a pin in the next three matches to make it 33-28 Newberg with two bouts to go.

Senior Dakota Church sealed the win with a second-round pin over Bryan Sobranis-Perez, rendering Tualatin’s decision victory at heavyweight meaningless.

“I thought we wrestled hard. Even in the matches we lost, they were fighting, scoring points,” Russo said. “I was pleased with that and the effort versus Tualatin. We won the matches we had to win. They have five or six guys that are very, very good — maybe a little better than us — and we battled. We didn’t give in.”

Newberg won the first 10 bouts of the dual versus Tigard, earning six pins, one forfeit, one technical fall, one major decision and one decision victory to jump to a 54-0 lead. Winning with a pin in the match were Baxter, Boulanger, Thomas Myers, Lane, Brandon Harper, Zane Burgess, Evan Smith and Church.

“I was told a long time ago to be solid at the first weight and the last weight,” Russo said. “That’s what we are, and we’re pretty solid in between, too, but it’s nice to start the way we’re starting with (Baxter) and to be able to end the way we can with (Church) or (Smith).”

Russo said he knows better than to overlook the Vikings Thursday, especially because they beat the Tigers in a dual meet last year. Newberg will then head to the Gresham Tournament Saturday before traveling to McMinnville for the potential district dual-meet title showdown Feb. 6.