By Micah Rice, Columbian sports editor
Samuel Malychewski rose to the occasion.
His Camas teammate Rylan Thompson went down in weight and had his best match of the season.
And Union was steady as ever.
Camas wrestlers won the two most compelling matches while Union won its ninth district title in the past 10 years Saturday at the 4A Greater St. Helens League district wrestling championships at Camas High School.
Malychewski beat Skyview’s Jackson McKinney 8-6 in a clash of the state’s top-ranked 195-pound wrestlers at Class 4A.
It was the third time the seniors had faced off this year. Malychewski, who won at an early-season dual meet, avenged a loss at the Pacific Coast Championships in late December.
Camas coaches asked Malychewski if he wanted to drop down to 182 pounds, where he placed fourth in state last year. Malychewski would have none of it.
“If he wins a state title, he wants to make sure he earns it,” Camas coach Cory VomBaur said. “He likes to blow through challenges and knock down doors.”
Malychewski took a 4-0 lead midway through the second round. Down 7-3 after two, McKinney rallied within 7-6 late in the third round. But Malychewski denied McKinney’s last shot.
Malychewski said the measure of his senior season won’t be in the titles he wins, but in the effort he gives.
“Especially with this being my senior year, whether I win or not I want to go out and give 110 percent in practice,” he said. “No matter how I perform at state, I can feel good knowing I didn’t hold back anything.”
Thompson didn’t hold anything back in his 132-pound title match. He went overtime against teammate Tanner Craig, the state’s top-ranked 4A wrestler in that weight class, winning 5-3 on a sudden-victory takedown 1:28 into the extra period.
Thompson placed sixth, third and seventh, respectively, the past three years at Mat Classic. He wrestled much of this season at 145 pounds.
“Hopefully that will be a really good drop for him,” VomBaur said. “Today, that was the best that we’ve seen him wrestle as a coaching staff. Rylan wants to be a state champion. As a coaching staff, we felt like he has a better shot at that weight.”
VomBaur said Thompson and Craig are not only evenly matched, but make each other improve upon their weaknesses.
“In the wrestling room, we push each other and make each other better every day,” Thompson said. “I see improvement from both of us.”
Camas had six district champs, the most of any team. Jack Latimer (126), Isaac Duncan (145), Gideon Malychewski (160) and Kolby Stoller (182) also triumphed for the Papermakers.
But Union’s depth won the day in the team competition. The Titans had five champions and six runners up among their 16 wrestlers who placed fourth or better.
For 152-pound champ Danny Snediker, Union’s team culture is the reason it has remained Southwest Washington’s most consistently dominant program over the past decade.
“We take amazing pride in what we do and how we do it,” Snediker said. “Our coach (John Godinho) always says we’d rather produce great people than great wrestlers. I think we take more pride in how we carry ourselves when we lose than how we can flaunt around how we win.”
Snediker joined Brandon Esperto (113), Noah Talevera (138), Josh Joo (170) and Marvin Barber (285) as Titans atop the podium.
4A GSHL DISTRICT CHAMPIONSHIPS
Team scores – Union 374.5, Camas 358.5, Heritage 176.5, Skyview 171.5, Battle Ground 143.
106 – 1st: Sanry Nguyen (H) def. Ryan Esperto (U) 11-2. 3rd: Matthew Victorano (BG) def. Miguel Victorano (BG) 11-2.
113 – 1st: Brandon Esperto (U) p. Jacob Tabor (H) 0:51. 3rd: Samuel McCormick (C) def. Andres Nicacio (U) 9-6.
120 – 1st: Daniel Joner (BG) p. Aaron Avery (U) 2:56. 3rd: Dilyn Jimenez (U) p. Bodie Parker (H) 3:56.
126 – 1st: Jack Latimer (C) p. Kyle Moore (C) 1:32. 3rd: Calvin Bahl (U) def. Draven Burton (H) by injury default.
132 – 1st: Rylan Thompson (C) def. Tanner Craig (C) 5-3, OT. 3rd: Logan Smith (S) def. Juan Castillo (H) 11-3.
138 – 1st: Noah Talavera (U) def. Isaac Salon (U) by forfeit. 3rd: Jonah Sullivan (C) def. Cole Miller (H) 14-3.
145 – 1st: Isaac Duncan (C) def. Karter Leifson (C) 9-4. 3rd: Miles Hartwig (U) def. Liam Ewing (S) 7-3.
152 – 1st: Danny Snediker (U) p. Chris Johnson (S) 4:42. 3rd: Spencer Inserra (BG) p. Mason Gross (C) 4:49.
160 – 1st: Gideon Malychewski (C) def. Kyle Brosius (U) 5-1. 3rd: Kyle Cantu (H) def. Ruben Kovalenko (U) 11-4.
170 – 1st: Josh Joo (U) def. Noah Rank (BG) 6-2. 3rd: Nick Oien (S) def. Dustin Hubbard (C) 11-5.
182 – 1st: Kolby Stoller (C) p. William Pettersen (S) 2:45. 3rd: Anthony Choi (C) p. Thomas Rodda (S) 0:28.
195 – 1st: Samuel Malychewski (C) def. Jackson McKinney (S) 8-6. 3rd: James Cook (H) def. Levi Hams (U) 10-6.
220 – 1st: Austin Stewart (BG) p. Dumitru Salagor (U) 5:38. 3rd: Brian Lloyd (S) p. Quentin Wolford (H) 1:31.
285 – 1st: Marvin Barber (U) p. Giovanny Rojo (U) 0:47. 3rd: Josue Espinoza (C) p. Cade Gardiner (H) 1:33.