The Papermakers toppled the Titans in the warehouse Saturday.
The Camas High School wrestling team won its first district championship since 1994, ending Union’s seven-year reign in the process.
Dylan Ingram and Rylan Thompson captured championship medals under the lights. Tanner Craig, Dominic Delgado, Triston Groth, Jack Latimer and Sam Malychewski also wrestled in the finals for the Papermakers and settled for second place. Tanner Howington, Nobel Lenderman and Ryan Kay earned third place. Max Grimes, Isaac Duncan and Caleb Eldred claimed fourth place. Quinten Adams finished in fifth place and Jordan Dekker took sixth place. This combined effort helped Camas outscore Union 351 to 314.5.
“We’ve been the underdog for so long. That’s changing after this tournament,” Ingram said. “We had two guys wrestling for Camas in each weight class. All 28 spots were filled. That was a big help. Our team has grown a ton in terms of size and numbers.”
Ingram and Groth had the honor of wrestling each other for the 220-pound championship medal. Ingram won the match, but it was a biggest victory for the program to have two Papermakers wrestling each other for such a prestigious prize.
“I am extremely proud to be a part of this,” Groth said. “We won districts and ended Union’s streak. It’s a brand new year for Camas. A fresh start. Anything is possible now.”
Thompson defeated Chris Joner, of Battle Ground, 11-3 for the 126-pound championship medal. But standing on top of the podium and holding the team trophy with Ingram is what Thompson will remember most.
“We just won in front of our hometown,” he said. “Now, let’s go back in that room, keep pushing ourselves and outwork everybody in front of us.”
Although they both lost in the finals for Camas, Craig and Latimer gained valuable experience as freshmen. Delgado lost his championship match in double overtime, and Malychewski came up short in the finals by one point. The team trophy soothed the pain these two Papermakers felt, afterwards.
“This is just the beginning,” Delgado said. “I’m glad I was here to be a part of it.”
Howington said his teammates have been grinding it out in the wrestling room and on the mats all year long for a moment like this. He also thanked all the people who packed the warehouse and witnessed their crowning achievement.
“Everyone pulled through when it was tight,” Howington said. “The community really came out and cheered loudly. I’m really thankful for them. These are long days. It’s great that they stuck it out just like we did. In the end, we were all rewarded.”
Head coach Cory VomBaur kept an eye on the team scores throughout the rounds, but his main focus was on the Camas wrestlers.
“We were down by three early in the day. The next time I checked, we were up. And after a huge semifinals when we beat a lot of Union kids, we were up by like 30,” VomBaur said. “It was becoming more real. This can actually happen.”
He thanked the junior varsity level wrestlers for stepping into these district championship brackets and scoring big points for the Papermakers.
“Every single bracket was filled with two wrestlers. That doesn’t happen very often, and it’s a big reason why we won today,” VomBaur said. “This coaching staff brings a lot of tools, but in the end, the wrestlers are the ones who responded and performed as well as they could.”
After winning their first district championship in 22 years, the Papermakers host the regional tournament Saturday at Camas High School. Wrestling starts at 9 a.m.
As always, VomBaur had a new challenge for his wrestlers.
“We are either going to see a dip in practice or an elevation in practice,” he said. “You guys have to decide what road to take. We want to shoot for the stars.”
Delgado took those words from his coach to heart.
“Saturday was great,” he said. “Today, there’s no more celebration. We’re back on the mats working hard.”