By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It was a good learning experience for sophomore Sam Gagnon during her freshman year, finishing sixth at 110-pounds at the Girls South Regional Tournament this past Spring.
Gagnon walked in not knowing much about the High School scene as she does now as she now enters her second year in the Titans wrestling program.
“Last year was my first year so I came in not knowing anything. I just took in a lot of information and put it all into this year in the gym and try to move forward,” Gagnon said. “I’m looking forward to it (this year). I’m going to put in a lot of effort.”
Gagnon will be shooting for the 115-pound weight class this year that has seen Haley Vann of Cleveland finish third and first the last two years at 115. Vann is a junior this year as Gagnon is one of the strongest female wrestlers on their 10-member roster this Winter.
On the guy’s side, the Titans saw Zach and Kaleb Hendersen return after taking the Spring off to go with State participants in Conor Everetts (113) and Supa Nunok (145) as well as district-placer in Corban Taylor.
For Everetts, his fourth-place finish at the OWA 6A State Championships was nice in terms that he placed. But the senior isn’t satisfied as he enters his final prep season.
“I’m nowhere near satisfied from last year. I placed but it wasn’t my full (potential), I know this year I’m capable of doing it but that’s the goal of getting there and I’m ready. Same weight, different year,” Everetts said.
Those six lead a West Salem squad looking to make some noise in the Mountain Valley Conference this Winter as they kick off this Friday at Reynolds High School at the Kirk Morey Invitational up in the Metro area with a young squad.
“It’s a big deal having those returners,” Head Coach Mike Baker said. “Having those leaders in the room is huge. They set the tone in what drilling looks like, what live wrestling looks like and so on and so forth; so, it’s nice.”
Following Friday’s Invitational, the Titans head to North Bend for the North Bend Coast Classic on December 10 and 11 and the Larry Owings tournament in Canby on December 18 to close out the 2021 calendar year. The Titans host Sprague (January 5) and the MVC Districts (February 18/19).
Photos By Jeremy McDonald