PORTLAND — Elkton junior Tayla Swearingen has been wrestling for roughly four months. Saturday night, she found herself on the verge of a state championship.

Swearingen, competing as part of the North Douglas/Elkton cooperative team, pinned her first two opponents in the 235-pound bracket to reach Saturday night’s championship match. She beat Aloha’s Jennifer Cazares with a second-round pin and No. 2 seed Tupuo Fononga of Centennial in just 1:14 in the semifinals.

That set her up against reigning girls heavyweight champion Raina Herzog of Cottage Grove.

Herzog, with a distinct length advantage, got the best of Swearingen, scoring the pin 56 seconds into the second round.

“I’m still ecstatic about it,” said Swearingen, a three-year varsity letter-winner in football as well. “Four months ago, we had no idea about the structure of the sport. This was really cool and I’m really thankful.”

Swearingen said the best part of the tournament was the Parade of Champions, where all of the tournament’s medal winners march into the arena prior to the start of Saturday night’s championship finals.

“We did the Parade of Champions and that was one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced,” she said.

With wrestling camps lined up for the summer, Swearingen was looking forward to a short break, but “softball starts tomorrow.”

Douglas sophomore Zoey Smalley also had a successful tournament, wrestling to a third-place finish in a stacked 170-pound division which featured a pair of wrestlers ranked among the top 10 in the nation.

Smalley opened her tournament with a second-round pin of Baker’s Bailey Cole in the opening round, but dropped a 6-3 decision in the semifinals to Glencoe senior Olivia Robinson, who is ranked No. 4 in the nation.

Smalley rebounded with a pin in the consolation semifinals over Oregon City’s Sydney Carter, then stuck North Eugene’s Maya Lindskog in 3 minutes, 9 seconds to claim third place.

Robinson beat Madras’ Bailey Dennis, a three-time state champion and ranked sixth nationally, 2-1 in overtime to claim the 170-pound title.

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Donovan Brink is the cops and courts reporter for The News-Review.

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