By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.— West Salem was wrapping up a long day at Stayton High School in their team duals at the SCTC Duals Saturday.
After wrapping up pool play with Sisters, they were in the Championship bout versus a tough 3A Willamina squad and though fatigue was setting in for both squads as many of their wrestlers had wrestled two or three matches already.
The Bulldogs took the 285 pound match before the Titans took the 106 and 113 pound classes before both sides trading matches to close out the third week of the season as the 160 pound match rolled around.
West Salem’s Copper Johnson took a 1-0 lead into the third round of the match after a late escape in the second round of the match as both wrestlers looked for their shot and looking for a quick run on the other.
“He was really strong there in the beginning, but then I noticed about 30 seconds in he started to get a little weaker, so it was easier to work stuff on,” said Johnson.
But the third set, after working his game in the second to see what he can do, Johnson was able to take advantage of the opportunities given to him with a two-point take down in the third that was followed by a three-point near-fall that pushed Johnson’s lead from 1-0 to 6-1 as the match slowly drew to an end.
His opponent scrapped until the end, looking to force overtime or a quick pin, getting a quick escape but that was about it in the 6-2 win for the West Salem High School wrestler.
“It was good, it was the first time I’ve gone all three rounds and have that outcome right there. That was a nice match for me and I feel like Willamina is a really great school,” said Johnson. “I feel like getting my cradle better, I feel like I should have gotten a pin right there but at least got some points. I feel like that was a good experience for me.”
And with most of these matches just serving as practice in the grand scheme of things leading up to each team’s District Matches at the end of the year, any live action in practice, dual meets and tournaments serves just that. Getting some more experience.
For Jack Livengood, who looked more like Hannibal Lecter with his facemask on after suffering a Lacrosse Injury a few days ago, he was given opportunities to work on his base and ground work as during the Sisters dual before the Bulldogs Saturday that gave him the practice he was looking for to help him improve.
“I think I shouldn’t have been in those situations anyway,” laughed Livengood as he slipped out of a few tough pickles in avoiding being turned around and pinned. “But to overcome those makes you a lot better and that’s what practice does.
“Like you work from the bottom a lot, so it’s just goes into our practices. Every match makes you better, every match you’ll get better. Even if it’s just one thing, so if your down on the bottom, every match you get up.”
West Salem went 3-0 in pool play before falling to Willamina 40-33 in the finals of the SCTC Finals.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald