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OSAA State Wrestling Championships Sunday, February 18, 2007

Tyrel Albert of Crook County High School celebrates after winning the class 5A, 285-pound championship at the state wrestling tournament in Salem on Saturday. The junior beat Demerti Enesi of The Dalles-Wahtonka 5-4 to take the title.

As many of you know, I photographed the State Wrestling Championships in Salem for Trillium this weekend. I'll blog more on that experience later, but you can see a couple of my photos online (probably just today) at the East Oregonian's website, here and here.

They used several of my images over the weekend, but unfortunately you have to be a subscriber to read the stories.

In addition to Pendleton High School, the East Oregonian (Pendleton's daily) covers Hermiston HS, Riverside HS, and Irrigon HS, all of whom had wrestlers in the championship bouts at different classes. Hermiston, a perennial wrestling powerhouse, had five finalists. All told, I shot nine bouts in 14 rounds on Saturday night. (Fortunately for me, none of the finals conflicted with each other, so I was able to shoot them all.)

As I was downloading my images from the last match, I could see that the 285-pound title bout was coming down to the wire, so I grabbed my camera and waited for time to run out, hoping for a shot like this.

I know that the editors at the paper were expecting a Hermiston image like the above for the front page. However, it just didn't happen. It's not that I missed the opportunity. It's not that they all lost—three of the five finalists won—they just didn't visibly celebrate. (I did get a shot of one of their opponents celebrating a victory, but that wasn't the right story.) Maybe it's because they were favored. Maybe they just expected to win—the winners all had decisive victories. Or maybe they're all really humble, or perhaps more relieved than joyous. On the mats all around me (it seemed) wrestlers were pumping their fists, yelling skyward, or running around in circles while their opponents wept on the mat. But it wasn't to be.

In the end, it seems they went with the team trophy shot, which arguably tells the story even better, if not as dramatically. Most of their top wrestlers are in the shot, the trophy is there, and they're clearly happy about it.

Now, off to swimming ...