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West Region Championships
February 11, 2018 Clackamas, OR
Report from Head Coach Scott Norton
We had the national qualifier this past weekend. Highline was led by Austin Lister at 133.
He was the only champion that we had. Lister was also joined by 3 other Highline wrestlers in the finals. We had Jacob Mendoza in at 125, Liam Corbett 157, and 197 Emmanuel Daigbe. We also had Tucker Wooding, Adrian Avena, and Ben Gore finish 3rd. Patrick Wheeler 165, Mitchell Owens 184, and Mario Luevano Hwt. placed 4th. Overall, our team placed 3rd behind North Idaho and Clackamas.
At 133, Austin Lister pinned Nick Hara of North Idaho in the semi-finals and then beat Christian Balagso of SWOOC in the finals.
Austin will go into the National tournament without a loss to a junior college wrestler. We are excited to see how he finishes at the Nationals.
At 125, Jacob Mendoza received a medical forfeit from #3 Devaugh Sapien of Clackamas who Jacob had beat earlier. He then struggled a bit against #6 Esco Walker of NIC in the finals who he is yet to beat. Jacob didn’t follow the game plan and we got beat. I’m confident that we will make some adjustments over the next week and have him ready to go.
We had Liam Corbett knock of Thomas Stevenson from North Idaho at 157, who has been ranked #6 most of the year. He used some good riding to keep him down. Liam has really been coming on as of late. He is in a good place and training hard. Unfortunately, Liam lost to Isaiah Diggs in the finals.
Emmanuel Daigbe pinned North Idaho’s Christian Glover in the semi-finals. He then took on #3 ranked Gage Harrah of Clackamas in the finals. Daigbe slapped on an odd cradle and turned him. Ironically, Emmanuel was reversed and caught on his back. All of this happened in about 30 seconds. We need to make some adjustments to have Emmanuel ready for nationals.
Tucker Wooding did a good job for us at 141. He lost to the Clackamas kid in the championship side of the bracket, but came back to finish 3rd over the SWOOC opponent. Adrian Avena was pinned by Josiah Williams at 149, but came back with a pin of his own to finish 3rd. Ben Gore also finished 3rd at 174.
Overall, I think our guys wrestled pretty well. I would have liked to have seen more of our guys get into the finals because the tournament is set up to where the top 2 placers go. After that the coaches vote on the top 8 wild cards. I left this weekend puzzled. Our team has the smallest budget of all 4 teams, and we didn’t receive 1 of the 8 Wild Cards which seems completely ridiculous. The wildcards were given as follows:
125 3rd Francisco Barrera (Southwestern Oregon CC)
125 4th Devaughn Sapien (Clackamas CC)
157 3rd Cade Hite (Southwestern Oregon CC)
157 4th Thomas Stevenson (North Idaho College)
165 3rd Austin Howard (Southwestern Oregon CC)
184 3rd Nick Maximov (Clackamas CC)
197 Christian Glover (North Idaho College)
Hwt. JJ Perez (Southwestern Oregon CC)
The only thing left is the national tournament. The guys we are taking are capable of going deep into the tournament. It should be fun watching our wrestlers put the finishing touches on a good season.
Winning on the Road
Highline 60 Green River 54
Feb. 17 – Aileen Kaye broke out of her shooting slump to score 22 points as part of a balanced Highline attack as the Thunderbirds defeated the Green River Gators 60-54 (box). Kanani Kremers hit for 11 points and Peightyn Perrien and Sharon Ajayi contributed 10 points each. Ajayi and Aolani Medrano added 12 rebounds apiece. Green River’s Ariana Dougall had 22 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Gators. The win broke Highline’s four game losing streak and puts the T-Birds at 9-15 for the season and 5-6 in league play.
With both team pretty even in shooting, rebounds, and turnovers, the difference in the game proved to by at the free throw line. Highline took advantage of constant trips to the line to outscore Green River 15-7, accounting for the margin of victory.
The Thunderbirds return home to take on Pierce College on Feb. 21.
Another Road Win
Highline 68 Green River 63
Feb. 17 – Highline won its second consecutive road game by edging past the the Green River Gators 68 – 63 box. With the win Highline moves to 10-15 for the year and 5-6 in league play, with three games left in the regular season. David Harris was his usual consistent self with 26 points and 8 rebounds, with Weston Vandenhazel going for 12 points on 6-7 shooting from the field. the Gators were led by Alex Sommerfield with 25 points.
While the T-Birds were once again outrebounded, they compensated by outshooting Green River in three-point shots, hitting 11-29 from behind the arc, compared to Green River only hitting 4-20.
Highline next hosts Pierce College on Feb. 21.
Women’s Soccer Takes First Championship
Defense Stifles Peninsula For 1-0 Win in Overtime
In the end, it took grit, perseverance, an unbreakable defense, and a jewel of a kick in overtime for Highline to win its first ever championship. After playing to a scoreless tie in regulation time, it was Jewel Boland, Highline’s top goal scorer, playing with a heavily wrapped left leg, who hit a rocket from 20 yards that caromed off the top crossbar into the Peninsula goal at 1:06 into overtime to bring the long-awaited championship to the Women’s program. It was the first loss for the Pirates, who entered the game a perfect 19-0-0. Highline finished the season as the league’s only unbeaten team at 18-0-2, and the 2017 NWAC Women’s Soccer Champions.
In addition to the winning goal by Boland, assisted by Bella Keane, the story of the game was Highline’s defense, which had surrendered only five goals all season, best in the NWAC Conference. Although constantly tested by Peninsula, with the league’s most prolific offense averaging seven goals a game, and hanging on by its collective fingernails at the end of regulation time, the Thunderbird defense, with Jocelyn Hanrath in goal, kept Peninsula at bay just long enough for Boland’s jewel of a kick.
See the full report and photos from the game at the Women’s Soccer page.
T-Birds Edge Whatcom For Men’s Soccer Title
Kasim Sparkles in Goal; Evanger Gets Game Winner
When your goalkeeper is named Most Valuable Player in the Championship game, chances are you walk away with the title. And so it was with Highline defeating the Whatcom Orcas 1-0 behind Akili Kasim’s spectacular play in net and Dane Evanger’s goal at 58:39, assisted by Ryley Johnson. For the Thunderbirds it was their first championship since 2014, and the second for Head Coach Steve Mohn. Despite the lack of goal scoring the game was wide open, with Whatcom getting the majority of the better scoring chances, especially in the waning moments as it pressed the Highline defense in looking for the equalizing goal. In the end it was a contest between Whatcom, with the league’s best offense (65 goals scored) against Highline, with the league’s stingiest defense (11 goals against). In this case, defense won out. And as for Highline’s offense, while it was Ryley Johnson, the team’s top scorer and Adama Kante (3 goals in the semifinal win over Spokane) who put the most pressure on the Whatcom defense, it was Evanger, the team’s third leading scorer, who boomed in what proved to be the game winner off an opportune bounce. For the Thunderbirds and its defense, that is all it took.
See the full report and photos from the game at the Men’s Soccer page.