PORTLAND — Sweet Home High’s wrestling season ended with redemption, perfection and history being made.
The Huskies went into Saturday night’s finals in the OSAA 4A tournament with three entrants and came home with three titles and a third-place team finish.
It’s the seventh straight year Sweet Home has earned a team trophy by placing in the top four.
Colton Schilling, Tyler Cowger and Wade Paulus took the mat having lost at the championship level in 2012.
All came away champions.
“They won by being offensive wrestlers and taking the match to that guy,” said Sweet Home coach Steve Thorpe, whose team had seven of its 13 wrestlers place in the top six. “When you do that, you create opportunities for yourself to win.”
Schilling joined Clint Sieminski as the only two Huskies to win three state titles. Schilling won at 103 pounds as a freshman and 112 as a sophomore.
His match at 132 with Henley junior Zech Bresser on Saturday brought physicality in the sport not often seen.
Schilling took headbutts from Bresser and swinging slaps that connected. In fact, Schilling was awarded a point for Bresser’s shove to the face in the third period.
But, as Schilling said afterward, the match turned out the way he wanted — with a win.
“That’s about as close as it gets to UFC, street fight, whatever you want to call it,” Schilling said.
He did his best to keep his composure, not letting it get to his head.
“He’s a great wrestler, he’s good on his feet, but I outconditioned him,” Schilling said.
Cowger waited a lot longer than he ever wanted for his state title.
The senior was a runner-up two straight years before getting what he came to state for on Saturday.
Cowger took a 5-1 decision against Cascade’s Spencer Crawford to win the 152 title.
“I really worked that last four years,” said Cowger, who jumped into Thorpe’s arms immediately after the match and later shared an emotional hug with Schilling, his four-year training partner.
Cowger, who said doubts crept in that he would get his championship after losing twice in the finals, always took breaks with his training in the past. But not this time.
“This year I just kept my nose to the grindstone, working my butt off every day,” he said.
Paulus had no lack of motivation after losing last year’s 195-pound championship match.
He didn’t even break a sweat when he got his next opportunity.
Paulus pinned Crook County’s Gunner Crawford in just 45 seconds in the 195 final.
“Last year was a huge disappointment,” Paulus said. “I didn’t dwell on that loss. I used that loss to motivate me.”
And of Saturday’s final: “Right off the whistle I could feel (Crawford) wasn’t going to be aggressive. Then something clicked in my mind: get mean with him.”
Paulus did that, wrestling with a purpose.
He kept himself from thinking anything but victory.
“That wasn’t here. This time around it was, ‘he’s not going to win and I’m not going to lose,’ ” Paulus said.
Sweet Home’s Tyler Schilling (106) and Zach Gill (285) were third, with Justin Nicholson (113) fourth and Trever Olson (145) sixth.
How Locals Fared (seeds in parenthesis)
1. Crook County 290, 2. Henley 196, 3. Sweet Home 161, 4. Cascade 126, 5. Tillamook 104
132: (3) Colton Schilling, Sweet Home, dec. (1) Zech Bresser, Henley, 6-0
152: (1) Tyler Cowger, Sweet Home, dec. Spencer Crawford, Cascade, 5-1
195: (1): Wade Paulus, Sweet Home, p. (2) Gunner Crawford, Crook County, :45
113: Quinton Hook, Henley, dec. (2) Justin Nicholson, Sweet Home, 9-8
132: (3) Colton Schilling, Sweet Home, maj. dec. (2) Miguel Vasquez, Madras, 9-0
145: (2) Cole Hannan, Brookings-Harbor, dec. (3) Trever Olson, Sweet Home, 8-6
152: (1) Tyler Cowger, Sweet Home, p. (4) Travis Cole, Estacada, :57
195: (1) Wade Paulus, Sweet Home, p. Mitch Mirande, Klamath Union, :41
106: (2) Tyler Schilling, Sweet Home, dec. (4) Kurt Mode, Scappoose, 8-6
113: Logan Humphrey, Cascade, dec. (2) Justin Nicholson, Sweet Home, 5-1
285: Zach Gill, Sweet Home, p. (1) Gabriel Gonzalez, Ontario, 1:55
145: (4) Dawson Barber, Crook County, dec. (3) Trever Olson, Sweet Home, 6-3