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Southwestern Oregon Community College advanced six wrestlers to the NJCAA national championships, including regional wrestler of the year Tanner Harvey.

The Lakers finished fourth in the West Region team race behind Clackamas, North Idaho and Highline.

The top two wrestlers advanced to nationals, as well as others picked as wildcards.

Harvey was the champion at 184 pounds.

Christian Balagso finished second at 133 pounds for the Lakers.

Wild-card qualifiers for the Lakers included Fransisco Barrera at 125 pounds, Cade Hite (157), Austin Howard (165) and JJ Perez (285).

SWOCC coach Adam Whitlatch pointed to Hite, a Marshfield graduate, as one of the big highlights for the Lakers, saying that Hite had a big win over a North Idaho wrestler to earn his wild-card berth to nationals.

He had hopes the Lakers might get all or nearly all of their 10 wrestlers to nationals.

“I wish all could have made it,” he said. “They are a good group of kids.”


SWOCC’s basketball teams split at Mount Hood on Saturday with the men winning 87-75 and the women losing 62-51.

In the earlier women’s game, Jessica Matheson led all scorers with 19 points, and SWOCC got double-figure scoring from Madison Bell (10), Raelyn Freitag (10) and Anna Hall (10), who provided almost all of SWOCC’s bench scoring.

Rachel Watson led Mount Hood with 14 points, and McKenzie Long and Jessica Parker each had 13.

The Lakers shot just 29.5 percent for the game, 17.6 percent from 3-point range and 44.4 percent from the free throw line. Mount Hood out-rebounded SWOCC 62-43.

“Really what the game comes down to is we didn’t shoot free throws very well,” SWOCC coach Jeff Johnson said. “We missed 15 and ended up losing by 11. We make those and it’s a different game down the stretch.”

SWOCC cut the once-sizable Saints lead down to seven in the fourth quarter and forced a turnover on its next defensive possession, but gave it right back without a shot and lost all momentum, Johnson said.

The Lakers played without Lose and Eniketi Fonua, the team's best two true post players. 

“It was a really hard-fought game considering we didn’t have the Fonua sisters and were down to nine players,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, I can get the ladies to bounce back against Umpqua on Wednesday.

In the later men’s game, Skyler Bradford scored 24 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and dished four assists in SWOCC’s tie-breaking win with Mt. Hood. Peyton Christman added 17 points, Moses Miller had 15 and James Walljasper had 11.

“We came out in the second half, we caught fire,” Lakers coach Trevor Hoppe said. “We didn’t shoot it great in the first half, definitely shot it better in the second half. We made nine 3s in the second half and that definitely got us over the hump.”

SWOCC shot just 39.2 percent from the floor for the game, but turned in a 41.2 percent effort from 3-point range.

Steven Fair let Mount Hood With 17 points and Kyler Haynes added 16. Vlad Ketin had 14 off the bench for the Saints.

The Lakers forced 15 Mount Hood turnovers and dished 19 assists with Walljasper finishing with six and Miller had four, as well. Six different Lakers hit 3-pointers. SWOCC also had just two turnovers in the second half. 

“I just can’t say enough about the defensive intensity in the second half and our rebounding,” Hoppe said. “And we really shared the ball. We really made the extra pass and that’s what got us the open 3s for those guys that got us the lead.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the way we battled.”

The win kept SWOCC in the hunt in what has become an even tighter South Region playoff chase.

Portland leads the division at 9-2. Clackamas and Umpqua both are 6-4, Linn-Benton is 6-5, Chemeketa is 5-5 and SWOCC is 5-6. Lane and Mount Hood both are 4-7. 

The Lakers host Umpqua on Wednesday at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.