A great day to be a Panther wrestler

Washougal boys and girls combine to win 23 medals

Nine regional qualifiers and six other medallists helped the Panther boys wrestling team become 2A sub-region champions Saturday, at Washougal High School.

Washougal boys and girls combine to win 23 medals

Four champions, nine regional qualifiers and six other medallists helped the Washougal boys wrestling team win the 2A sub-regional tournament Saturday, at Washougal High School.

“I won my bracket, but there are a lot of other champions out there,” said co-captain Stephen Camden. “It all starts in practice. We go out there and push each other hard every day to represent Washougal the best that we can. I’m always going to remember winning this trophy.”

Bursitis in his knee sidelined Camden for a month, but the senior looked like he hadn’t lost a step on Saturday. Camden pinned Jacob Mather of R.A. Long in the quarterfinals and Gunnar Long of Ridgefield in the semifinals. He then beat Ridgefield’s Clayton Farr 19-13 for the 160-pound championship medal.

“Even though I was out for a month, I was able to wrestle the way I always have been,” Camden said. “I think it was the realization that this is my last year. This is everything I’ve been training for since I was 5 years old.”

The other three championship medals for Washougal were won by sophomores. Jesse Reagan defeated Ridgefield’s Adrian Montiel 15-3 for the 120-pound title. Garrett Duey edged Ridgefield’s Ryan Harris 3-2 for the 132-title and Tanner Baldwin beat R.A. Long’s Andres Smiley 17-5 for the 145-title.

“You could feel the whole team backing you, and we’ve got more fans here than anyone else,” Duey said. “I just want people to see how hard we’ve worked to get to where we are. And to remember that anything is possible. I haven’t had a great season, but to get first place here changes everything.”

Seniors Wyatt Eakins and Josh Economidies, and sophomores Roger Polanco and Jacob Brown, grabbed second place medals for the Panthers. Washougal sophomore Zach Oster beat Christian Rivera-Lopez of Mark Morris 4-3 to secure a spot in the regional tournament.

Taylor Leifsen, Bailey Burk and Sean Leheny earned third place medals for the Panthers. Brandon Casteel, Andrew Bejan and Reuben Agulair finished in fourth place.

Nine Panthers are going to Bremerton this weekend. They are one step closer to their dream of wrestling in the Tacoma Dome.

“It would feel amazing,” Reagan said. “It would be the greatest feeling of my life.”

Washougal girls wrestlers Tara Duey, Sara Sanchez, Erin Locke and Katelyn Purkeypyle brought home sub-regional championship medals from Kalama High School Saturday. The Panthers snagged second place at the 22-team tournament, and finished 18.5 points behind Kelso.

Duey pinned Taryn Lommasson of Camas in a battle of seniors for the 112-pound championship. Sanchez beat Washougal teammate Haven Camden for the 124-title. Locke defeated Ilwaco’s Raven Rodgers 16-3 for the 130-title. Purkeypyle topped La Center’s Channa Higuera 3-0 for the 235-title.

Jessica Biron earned second place for the Panthers at 155 pounds. Jessica Eakins pinned teammate Yaneli Martinez for third place at 100.

These eight girls will wrestle in the regional tournament this weekend, at Battle Ground High School, 300 W. Main St.