Dome dreams begin at home

Three qualifying wrestling tournaments in town Saturday

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Brandon McKee pinned Dillon Miller to give the Washougal High School wrestling team the lead for good Friday. The Panthers defeated the Lumberjacks 44-30 to capture the 2A Greater St. Helens League championship.

Several Greater St. Helens wrestlers will begin the journey to the Tacoma Dome in Camas and Washougal.

Washougal High School is the location for the District 4 South girls sub-regional tournament and the 2A boys sub-regional tournament. Both events start at 10 a.m., Saturday.

“We are thrilled to have an opportunity to host both the boys and girls subs so we can see all of our kids wrestle,” said Washougal head coach John Carver.

Camas High School welcomes Union, Battle Ground, Mountain View, Skyview, Evergreen and Heritage to town for the 4A district tournament. It also starts at 10 a.m., Saturday.

“I always want my guys to represent this school and community with the upmost class,” said Camas head coach Cory Vombaur. “What they have done up to this point of the season means nothing. It’s all about peaking at the right time and wrestling their best at the end of the season.”

Both the Panthers and Papermakers are achieving success at the right time. Washougal won its last six matches to defeat R.A. Long 44-30 in the final league match of the season Friday. Ridgefield beat Woodland on the same night, which eliminated a three-way tie for the league title and awarded the championship outright to Washougal.

“That one plaque on the wall wasn’t because of me, it was because of all of us,” said senior Brandon McKee after securing the decisive pin fall victory. “We all did it together.”

Ruben Aguilar, Jacob Brown, McKee, Tanner Klopman and Urich Reyes gained 36 points for the Panthers during those final six matches. Zach Oster earned a technical fall, Taylor Leifsen pinned his opponent and A.J. Christianson won 11-10.

“Our kids have worked hard all season long only to see wrestler after wrestler get hurt or sick,” Carver said. “Everybody just pulled together to overcome that adversity and get this great win.”

Brown dislocated his shoulder at the Gorge Invitational Jan. 24. The senior wrestled tough Friday, refusing to quit on Senior Night.

“To be honest, I didn’t win that match. God did,” Brown said. “I was done by the second period. It was all ‘Him.’ That just gave us the momentum.”

Six pins propelled Camas to a 46-26 victory against Skyview Wednesday. The Papermakers finished tied for second place in league.

Camas also captured first place at the End of Days tournament Jan. 24, at Lakes High School, in Tacoma. Bryant Elliott, Dominic Delgado and Rylan Thompson earned championship medals to help the Papermakers rise above 17 other schools at the tournament.

“It was an exciting moment for our guys. We can’t remember the last time Camas won a tournament,” Vombaur said. “For as young as these guys are, they are very tough and committed to the sport. That’s going to pay dividends in the weeks and years to come.”

A champion and six other medalists helped the Washougal girls wrestling team finish in second place at the 23 school Jaguar Invitational Jan. 24, at Emerald Ridge High School, in Puyallup.

Jessica Eakins earned the 105-pound championship medal. Abby Lees and Baylee Wright settled for second place. Yaneli Martinez and Jaden Robb grabbed third place. Mialisa Oster and Christina Murray finished in fifth place.

Ten Camas girls will be a part of their first sub-regional tournament Saturday, in Washougal. Coach Vombaur commends them for sticking with the sport all season long.

These Panthers and Papermakers desire the same destination. It all begins at home.