Six Cougs Medal in Spokane Open

Team Hanging out
The Clackamas CC Team hanging out and relaxing with Coach Vigorito during a water break during Practice (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

By Jeremy McDonald

OREGON CITY, Ore.–  With the goal of finishing matches this past weekend at the Spokane Open, Clackamas Community College Head Coach Josh Rhoden was happy how his team competed as six wrestlers medaled in the tournament.

But Rhoden knows that there’s a long road ahead for his young Coguar squad

“We wrestled pretty hard this weekend and had some guys get quite a few matches,” he said.  “We have to mature a bit more as some of our young guys did rather poorly.”

It might’ve been the fact that they were defending Spokane Open Champs from last year entering the meet in 2015 that had them facing some tough competition early; but the first round of the meet was rough for CCC.

“Part of it was we drew some tough kids but none that we should not have been able to overcome and earn a win,” said Rhoden.  “We have to start more quickly in that first round.  We bounced back pretty well.”

Rebound they did, Tyler Wicken won the 141-pound class.  Brandon Johnson (285), Michael Knoblach (133) finished third in their respective classes.

DeVaugh Sapien (125), Haszell West (184) and Blake McNall (133), all finished sixth in the Open.

Now it’s off for Thanksgiving for the Wrestling Cougs, they are off this week and won’t have a dual meet until December 4 when they lace up the wrestling shoes against Southwest Oregon.

But the break is much needed with the team going through some early season bumps and bruises.

“The break is vital to this time of year and this group,” started Rhoden.  “Other groups we have practiced this week through Wednesday but this group needs some time off.

“We will be getting treatment from the Athletic Training staff here and back home to help with recovery.”

Even though they’re no “structured” practice for the team this week, Rhoden will still demand his team to be doing something during the down time.

After meeting with the team Monday, as a whole and individually, the goal is to challenge them this week said Rhoden.

“The  goal is to challenge them to manage their own training,” he said.  “The as a result the outcomes they will get following that break.

“It’s hard as a coach to let some of that control go but these guys need to learn to manage themselves in this sport.”

The team will be back at it in the mat shortly after the holiday to prepare for the Lakers.

But for right now, it’s time to recover, heal up and eat some turkey, in moderation of course!

Jeremy McDonald is a professional sports journalist in the Salem/Portland area and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalist in Oregon with B.S. degrees from Southern Oregon University in Journalism (2011) and Health/PE (2013).  Got a story idea? Email him at or on Twitter at @J_McDonald81!

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