oregon wrestling

Remembering Rick Sanders

Oregon wrestling great was international star, Olympian
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Rick Sanders put Portland and Oregon on the international wrestling map with national titles and a pair of Olympic silver medals before dying tragically at a young age.

Born in 1945, Sanders finished with a high school record of 80-1 and three state titles while at Lincoln High. He won at 98 pounds in 1961, 108 pounds in ‘62 and 115 pounds in ‘63.

After graduating from Lincoln, Sanders trained for the ’64 Olympics at a camp that included legend Dan Gable. Gable credits Sanders with teaching him specific moves that helped him finish his college career with just one loss.

After that intensive training, Sanders enrolled at Portland State and won national titles at the NAIA, NCAA Div. II and Div. I championship meets, earning the outstanding wrestler at each level.

Sanders qualified for both the 1968 and ’72 Olympic Games, and won silver in each. In between those Olympics, Sanders became the first American to win a title at the world championships, taking the 52kg title in 1969 just hours before American Fred Fozzard won at 82 kg. He won five U.S. freestyle titles, six international medals and is credited with having once beaten Gable 6-0 – the lone shutout Gable suffered in his career.

Following the ’72 Games in Munich, Germany, he was killed in an auto accident in Yugoslavia at the age of 27.

Sanders was inducted to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1983, and into the Portland State Athletics Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural class in 1997 – along with the ’67 national championship wrestling team.

He is a distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Class of 1987.

Class of 1963 still rates as state's best

Four of the state champion wrestlers went on to international glory
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

There are few years - in any state - when a group of high school wrestling champions go on to future greatness at the national and international level more than Oregon saw in 1963.

This year marks the 57th anniversary of a group that included two future World Champions, and three future Olympians - one of whom played in the NFL for a season.

And, the year also included the first cultural exchange team from the state to go abroad - to Japan for a monthlong tour.

Rick Sanders, then a senior at Lincoln, Henk Schenk, then a senior at Silverton, Fred Fozzard, a junior at Marshall, and Jess Lewis, a sophomore at Cascade all won titles in 1963.

All would go on to national and then international success on the mat, and on the football field with Lewis’ career at Oregon State and into the NFL.


Wrestlers hit big stage

Five classes move toward state titles
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - It's always one of the most exciting days of the year for high school sports in Oregon - the first day of the state wrestling meet.

Memorial Coliseum gets filled with 10 mats and hundreds of wrestlers from across the state head out for two, sometimes three matches as the 12-hour session takes place.

As the day works its way along, team scores begin to showcase which squads have been best prepared to stand atop the team podium and the Indians of Roseburg were working their way back to that spot in Class 6A having qualified a tournament-best 22 wrestlers.

Roseburg had plenty of competition, though, from Sprague, Newberg and David Douglas with the big points set for Saturday's semifinals and finals.

At 5A, Dallas and Crater, which finished second and first, respectively last year, had separated themselves.

At 4A, Crook County led Sweet Home and Tillamook.

At 3A, Harrisburg led through most of the day with its goal of winning a title for the first time.

And at 2A, four-time champion Culver, which has won 10 times in the past 11 years, already had a dominant lead.


Wrestling begins to heat up

West Linn takes Rose City, Crook County dominates the South
Dec. 15, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

The prep wrestling season hit full speed Friday and Saturday with West Linn earning a solid tournament victory in Portland, while Crook County turned some heads in two two tournaments.

The Lions won the Rose City Championships at Westview High, earning a trio of individual titles.

But, the Cowboys were the big winners of the weekend, taking the North Bend Coast Classic in Coos Bay while finishing second at the Culver Invitational in Central Oregon.

Crook County narrow missed winning at Culver, finishing behind Glide by just 9.5 points (258.5-249). The team had 10 wrestlers finish in fourth place or higher, including Brent Bannon, who won at 126 pounds.

In Coos Bay, the Cowboys dominated the field with 299 points, easily outdistancing Roseburg with 219.5 points. The team had nine wrestlers place third or higher, including four champions:  Trayon Libolt at 120, Collbran Meeker at 152, Tyler Berger at 160 and Gunnar Robirts at 195.



Who'll be smiling this year?

Class 6A is an open space as only one individual champion returns
Dec. 11, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

There was a significant changing of the guard in high school wrestling last season, and it's likely to continue this year, especially at Class 6A.

With the season gearing up, the 6A ranks return only one champion - Roseburg junior Chad Jones, who won at 120 pounds. The other 13 weights were all won by seniors, including three from David Douglas, which won the state title for the first time since 1966.

Overall, the state champions of all five classes were won by a team that hadn't won the year before - the first time that had happened since the OSAA expanded to six classifications in 2006-07.

Hermiston won its sixth title in seven years at Class 5A, but figures to get a significant push from the rest of the state, led by 2012 champion Dallas.

At Class 4A, Crook County enters the season as the defending champion, when it had 11 underclass wrestlers finish within the top 6. The Cowboys would be the first repeat champion at the state meet since 2007, when Nyssa's run of seven-straight titles came to an end.

Glide won its first title at Class 3A last year with just one individual champion. Willlamina, which finished second, returns two state champions.

At 2A, Lowell returns three champions from its first title team in 22 years. Much of the team reached the state finals in Class 1A football, too, before losing to imbler.


David Douglas, Glide break through

The Scots reclaim history, while the Wildcats make theirs at state wrestling
Feb. 23, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

David Douglas culminated five years of championship planning with its first state title in 47 years, while Glide capped a drive from the past seven years with its first title at the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tires Wrestling State Championships Saturday night at the Rose Garden.

The Scots got three individual wins to outpoint upstart Oregon City for the Class 6A title, while the Wildcats eased past Willamina for the Class 3A title.

Hermiston reclaimed the Class 5A title, making it's run six in seven years since the OSAA moved to six classifications, and five for wrestling, in 2006-07. Crook County won its first title since 1975 at the Class 4A tournament, while Lowell won its first state title since 1991 at Class 2A.

There were no repeat champions.


List of contenders begins to fill

Multiple district champions have several schools pegged as state favorites
Feb. 19, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

With two days until the state wrestling championship begins, the schools with large numbers of district champions have emerged as either favorites or contenders to win a team title at Memorial Coliseum.

Crook County leads all teams with nine district champions at Class 4A, a class that's seen significant power shifts since the state moved to six classes in 2007. Five schools have won the 4A title in those six years, with only Sweet Home winning twice. Last year, the title was decided by just three points, with Cascade edging Henley.

Sweet Home is back with seven district champions, Henley, which finished third, has six and Cascade has four. Crook County finished fourth last year.

Glide, at Class 3A, has eight district champions, while four other schools have seven - half the number of champions available in each district tournament. In addition to Sweet Home and Hillsboro, Hermiston, Culver and Willamina all have seven.

The state championships begin with first-round matches in the 16-wrestler brackets at 8:30 a.m. Friday. Finals are set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Subscribe to Oregonsports Journal for advanced coverage of the tournament, including a special print issue.




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