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As if hanging tough with the No. 5 West Linn Lions weren’t proof enough that Canby wrestling is for real, their win over 21 other teams at the Bill Geister Invitational Tournament in Clackamas showed how good the Cougars can be.
After blowing by most Three Rivers League competition, Canby faced the best school in the TRL in West Linn, ranked No. 5 in the state. All year, the Cougars have relied on their depth to wear down opposing teams, and against West Linn it was no different.
Their match against Lions went down to the wire before the Lions ended up on top, 39-36.
“It was a close dual, and we had a couple of matches that could have gone either way,” Canby wrestling head coach Jeremy Ensrud told the Current. “We know we are close with them and we have more depth.”
While Canby would pin five wrestlers to West Linn’s four, the Lions would squeak by thanks to three wins by majority decisions.
Though they may have lost their first TRL dual of the season, Canby would not have to wait long to enact their revenge. West Linn — along with other highly ranked schools in No. 7 Aloha, No. 8 Clackamas, No. 9 Reynolds and No. 10 Tigard — would be taking part in the tourney.
Canby fittingly held off second-place West Linn to take down the 21 other schools to win the Geister tournament. The Cougars scored 218 points, as opposed to West Linn’s 211.5, and pinned an otherworldly 33 other wrestlers over the course of the two-day tourney.
Eleven different Cougars placed in the tournament hosted by Clackamas High School, while two Cougars (Craig Williams and Tyler Hedburg) qualified for the finals. While neither of the two managed to win, wrestling is a team sport and the points they’d previously earned pushed the Cougars over the top.
Notably, Ty Ewers was absent from the championship round. The star Cougar lost his first match of the year to West Linn’s Henry Dillingham. While Ewers may have lost, he still remains 19-1 on the year and was integral to the Cougs’ overall victory.
“The Geister tournament demonstrated what we are capable of,” Ensrud said, “and we will need to take that momentum into the league tournament.”
Canby has two TRL duals for the week — one against reigning league champ Tualatin and the other versus No. 10 Tigard, a team Canby just defeated at Geister. Both duals will be good tune-ups for the upcoming TRL tournament on February 18 and 19.
While the boys are otherwise engaged, Canby wrestler Lexli Lopez-Zuriaga will be competing for a state title of her own. The 170-class wrestler qualified after finishing 3-1 and nabbing third place at the Special District Northwest tournament in Hillsboro over the weekend, defeating Sunset’s Arianna Boyd by fall.
She is the lone Cougar girl to qualify for state this year. The girls wrestling state tournament will be held at Culver High School on February 24.
“We are very proud of Lexli qualifying for the state tournament,” said Ensrud. “We have lost several of girls due to injury or other reasons. We are hoping Lexli can be our first girl’s state placer.”
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