Senior Nathan Bell’s victory in the 160-pound weight class provided Columbia High’s top highlight at the Washougal River Rumble last Saturday.
Bell went 3-0 in his bracket to earn his second consecutive tournament championship.
Senior Austin Walker was on top of his game as well last Saturday. Wrestling at 182 pounds, Walker claimed third place with a decisive victory in the consolation match.
Senior Matt Bergstrom (220), junior Austin Morris (145), and freshman Fletcher An-drews (120) each won one match before being eliminated from the double-elimination competition. Morris and Andrews had to wrestle up one class because they failed to make weight at their usual weights of 138 and 113 respectively. Moreover, wrestlers only competed for first through fourth places as opposed to the typical eight.
“This greatly affected their ability to be successful,” noted Bruins Coach Stoner Bell.
Bell and Walker faced no such difficulties in their bids for tournament titles.
“Nathan was in a small bracket, but was fortunate enough to wrestle three solid matches,” his coach said. “Due to the draw of the matches, he was able to wrestle the next three best wrestlers in his weight class again, like he did at Wahkiakum.”
Bell won his first match of the day (against Brendan Dahmen of Skyview) by decision, 10-3, and never trailed. He won a major decision, 15-3, in his second bout, outscoring Trevor Mattson of Hockinson, 10-1, in the second period.
In the match for the 160 championship, Bell started out behind after his opponent from Battle Ground, Justin Smalley, scored the first takedown. (It was the only time Bell got behind on the scoreboard.) Bell got a point back when his opponent shoved him off the mat after the whistle signaling out of bounds had blown. Bell gained the lead for good with a takedown moments later and was ahead, 9-5, in the second before pinning Smalley at the 3:15 mark.
Walker won his three bouts by first-period fall. His lone loss came in his first match of the day, against eventual 182-pound champion Kyzer Bailey of Centralia.
“Austin wrestled strong, getting the first takedown, and had a 4-3 lead at the beginning of the second period,” Coach Bell noted. “Bailey controlled him from the mid-second period on, though Austin avoided getting pinned and gave up only 2 back points in the entire match.”
Bailey prevailed by decision, 10-4, but that was the last time on Saturday that Walker trailed on the scoreboard. In his second match, Walker scored a quick takedown for a 2-0 lead, then pinned Joe Davis of Hockinson at 44 seconds of the first period.
Walker’s third match, against Ridgefield’s Lane Anderson, went pretty much the same way: takedown, followed by pin inside the first minute of action. Officially, Walker’s fall came with just 30 seconds gone in the bout.
In his consolation match, Walker held a 10-0 lead over Gage Brown of Skyview after the first period and led 12-0 before Brown scored his only point with an escape. Walker went right after him, though, scored a takedown, then pinned him at the 1:25 mark of the second period.
“Austin again appeared to be the second-best wrestler in his weight class,” Bell said, “but because of a lack of seeding criteria, he was on the same side of the bracket as Bailey.”
Bergstrom opened against eventual 220 champion Sheldon Michaelios of Battle Ground and went the distance before losing by decision, 8-0. The first-year wrestler regrouped in his second bout, which ended with his pin of Washougal’s Jacob Brown at 2:03. Brown led 2-0 after one period, but Bergstrom tied it up in the second with a takedown of his own that led to Brown’s demise.
In his final match, Bergstrom battled Hockinson’s Aaron Burns for three periods before losing on score, 6-4, “when he failed to complete a takedown and gave the 2 points to Burns instead,” his coach noted.
Morris earned his one win against Tyler Hansen of Skyview. Morris got the first takedown and led 2-0 after one period. He made it 3-0 with an escape move in the second, then maintained his advantage to the end for a 3-1 decision.
Andrews defeated Battle Ground’s Sierra Joner, 10-4, for his win. He built a 5-0 lead in the first period and was ahead 7-0 in the second before Joner reversed positions with her opponent for 2 points. Two more reversals followed before Andrews scored the final point of the bout with an escape.
Regina Bell (126), Michael Waldron (126), and Miguel Lemmon (138) also wrestled for CHS but did not factor in final placings or scoring.
As a team, Columbia placed ninth out of 12 with 53 points. Battle Ground captured the team championship with a score of 213.5, in a field that featured a mix of Class 3A, 2A, and 1A programs.