PORTLAND — Alex Rich got the revenge he so desperately coveted.
A Crescent Valley High sophomore and the defending state 5A champion at 126 pounds, Rich was facing an opponent in Saturday’s 126-pound final who had gotten the better of him this season.
Wilson senior Austin Wallace-Lister was the 120-pound state champion last year, and defeated Rich, 11-9, in the finals at the Hood River Elks Invitational this January.
But Rich erased that loss Saturday with a late second-round pin of Wallace-Lister to capture his second straight title.
“It’s the greatest feeling alive,” Rich said after sealing the win with a cradle in 3 minutes, 50 seconds.
In the first 30 seconds of their match in January, Wallace-Lister lat-dropped Rich, knocking the CV sophomore unconscious for a few seconds.
Rich was able to finish that match, and was thrilled to get the opportunity for revenge in the state finals.
“It was about conditioning,” Rich said. “I was in better shape, I worked harder than he did. And it showed.”
Steely Smith’s season was just one win short of perfection.
Unfortunately for the West Albany junior, that hiccup came on state championship night.
Smith finished second in the 220-pound division for the second consecutive year, losing 7-5 to Redmond’s Sumner Salsbury.
Smith scored a takedown late to close within two points, but there wasn’t time to do much else.
“We were a little tentative at first, then he started realizing he could go with this kid a little bit. But it was a little too late,” West Albany coach Casey Horn said. “It’s tough. You get to that last match and can’t get over that hill. But we’re going to keep working.”
Smith, disappointed by last year’s title loss, dedicated his entire offseason to improving his performance on the mat.
“I don’t expect anything different,” Horn said. “I think he’s going to come in with engines blowing and work even harder.
Corvallis senior Richard Bylund couldn’t quite finish a life-changing year with an even more improbable finish.
Bylund, who spent three months on chemotherapy to battle a rare and aggressive cancer, was pinned in the third round of his 170-pound championship match with Sandy’s Kyle Bateman.
Bylund, who won the Mid-Willamette Conference title a week earlier, never led but kept the score close through most of two periods.
Bateman led 4-2 before scoring five points late in the second. He got Bylund to his back and worked the pin with 1:07 left on the clock.
It was during the state tournament last year when Bylund’s throat was scratchy and he later had trouble breathing. He learned in May he had Burkitt’s lymphoma.
Lebanon’s Austin Kleint (138) and West Albany’s Jackson Soto (195) were third, and Lebanon’s Andrew Nelson (113) was fourth.
Charlie Vandetta (120) and Kiante Davis (160) of Lebanon were fifth, while teammates JT Lacy (106), James Lutz (145), Tamen Privratsky (152) and Colton Sallee (195) were sixth.
Carlos Hernandez of Corvallis defeated Sallee for fifth at 195. South Albany’s Adrian Lyons-Lopez was sixth at 138.
How locals fared (seeds in parentheses)
1. Hermiston 246, Dallas 181.5, Redmond 167.5, Sandy 96, Eagle Point 89, 6. Lebanon 87, 11. West Albany 46, 17. Crescent Valley 33, 18. (tie) Corvallis 31
126: (2) Alex Rich, Crescent Valley, p. (1) Austin Wallace-Lister, Wilson, 3:50
170: (1) Kyle Bateman, Sandy, p. (3) Richard Bylund, Corvallis, 4:53
220: (3) Sumner Salsbury, Redmond, dec. (1) Steely Smith, West Albany, 7-5
120: (2) Isaac Aguilar, Hermiston, maj. dec. (3) Charlie Vandetta, Lebanon, 12-2
126: (2) Alex Rich, Crescent Valley, p. (3) Kaleb Winebarger, Mountain View, 1:24
138: (1) Tyler Berger, Hermiston, tech. fall Austin Kleint, Lebanon, 5:23; (2) Gunner Wyatt, Dallas dec. Adrian Lyons-Lopez, South Albany, 5-4
152: (3) Sarek Shields, Redmond, maj. dec. Tamen Privratsky, Lebanon, 13-5
170: (3) Richard Bylund, Corvallis, dec. (2) Joaquin Reyes, Summit, 3-2
195: (3) Mason Montgomery, Ashland, dec. (2) Jackson Soto, West Albany, 11-7
220: (1) Steely Smith, West Albany, dec. Riley Sipe, Dallas, 2-1
113: Jasiah Williams, Franklin, dec. Andrew Nelson, Lebanon, 3-2
138: Austin Kleint, Lebanon, dec. Andrew DeHart, Hood River Valley, 8-2
195: (2) Jackson Soto, West Albany, dec. (4) Ryan Jurgens, Sherwood, 9-4
106: Halen Jolley, Mountain View, dec. JT Lacy, Lebanon, 7-0
120: (3) Charlie Vandetta, Lebanon, def. Orlando De La Cruz, Eagle Point, forfeit
138: Sherman Hammond, Eagle Point, dec. Adrian Lyons-Lopez, South Albany, 8-2
145: AJ Antillon, Liberty, dec. James Lutz, Lebanon, 13-6
152: (2) Tyler White, Sandy, dec. Tamen Privratsky, Lebanon, 3-1
160: KiAnte Davis, Lebanon, p. Caleb Ash, Eagle Point, 3:45
195: Carlos Hernandez, Corvallis, dec. Colton Sallee, Lebanon, 12-4