From cancer survivor to district champion.
That’s the path Richard Bylund took this past year, finishing the journey Saturday night on top of the 170-pound victory stand at the Mid-Willamette Conference district title.
Bylund, a Corvallis High senior, started to have throat problems during last year’s state tournament, and soon after he couldn’t breathe.
He was diagnosed last May with Burkett’s lymphoma, a rare and aggressive cancer.
For the next three months, Bylund spent two weeks in the hospital and two weeks out. On Aug. 15, he was swimming across the Willamette River with his friends.
“It’s like wrestling. You’ve just got to keep going,” Bylund said after defeating Silverton’s Randy Stocker, 15-7, for the title. “Things kind of blur together when you’re lying around in a room.”
Bylund took the diagnosis and battled. He took it in stride, knowing that other young people “have it way worse.”
Bylund didn’t play football this past fall due to concussion issues.
But he was determined to have a successful wrestling season.
“It’s remarkable because even when he was in stage three, he never had a negative attitude,” said CHS coach Ron Sather, noting Bylund’s discipline and work ethic. “It’s just amazing, his drive and his determination.”
Dallas dominated the team competition with 494 points to win its third straight title. Lebanon was second with 309, West Albany third (261), CHS fifth (184.5), South Albany sixth (181) and Crescent Valley seventh (141).
The top four placers in all 14 weight classes advance to the 5A state tournament, held next Friday and Saturday at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum.
West Albany junior Jackson Soto won his second straight district title with a pin of Triston Ringhouse of Dallas in 41 seconds in the 195 bout.
But after finishing runner-up at state in the same weight class in 2012, Soto tried his best to focus on the next match ahead of him.
“Anybody can beat anyone on any given day, so you can’t really look past it,” Soto said.
West junior Steely Smith was also second at state last year but took a different route to get to the tournament this time around.
Smith was fourth in the district meet at 220 in 2012. Saturday, he kept his season unblemished at 45-0, defeating West’s Devon Wade, another junior, by fall in 4:08.
“I just wrestled it like it was any other match. But it was tough because Devon is a really good friend,” Smith said.
Crescent Valley sophomore Alex Rich got his second district title and will chase a second state championship next week.
Rich pinned CHS senior Clayton Lopez in the first round.
“I just know that I’m better than everybody else and I’ve got to show it on the mat,” Rich said. “I thank my coaches. I wouldn’t be here without them.”
West senior Carson French pulled an upset at 145, knocking off top seed David Holmquist of Dallas, 8-5.
French, the top seed, scored an escape, takedown and two nearfalls to go up 7-0 in the second period.
“It just feels good putting in four years of work and having it pay off,” he said.
Lebanon junior Charlie Vandetta made quick work of South Albany’s Chris Morgan in the 120 final, getting the pin in 1:29.
The top seed in the bracket, Vandetta said it was a little different as the favorite.
“The whole time I was thinking, ‘don’t mess up, don’t mess up. Don’t let him catch ya. Don’t do anything dumb,’” Vandetta said.
Lebanon senior Tamen Privratsky and Dallas’ Wyatt Passantino met for the third time in a district final, with Passantino getting the upper hand Saturday with a 4-3 win.
Passantino got the winning point on an escape with about 1:20 left in the third period.
Privratsky defeated Passantino in the 145 final in 2012, while Passantino took the 135 title in 2011.
Lebanon was on the losing end of three other finals.
Andrew Nelson was pinned by Matt Hofenbredl of Dallas in the second round of the 113 final. KiAnte Davis lost 2-0 to Scotty Dunagan of Dallas at 160.
Silverton’s Quinn Dreher pinned Lebanon’s Tim Ferrell in the second round of the 182 final.
Team scores: Dallas 494, Lebanon 309, West Albany 261, Silverton 208, Corvallis 184.5, South Albany 181, Crescent Valley 141, Woodburn 135.5
Championship finals (Seeds in parentheses)
106: (3) Cody Bibler, Dallas, dec. (1) Nolan Miller, Dallas, 10-2
113: (1) Matt Hofenbredl, Dallas, p. (2) Andrew Nelson, Lebanon, 3:19
120: (1) Charlie Vandetta, Lebanon, p.(2) Chris Morgan, South Albany, 1:29
126: (1) Alex Rich, Crescent Valley, p. (2) Clayton Lopez, Corvallis, :44
132: (1) Izaak Tobin, Silverton, dec. (2) Brady Anderson, Dallas, 2-0 OT
138: (1) Garrett Lawrence, Dallas, dec. (2) Gunner, Wyatt, Dallas 2-1
145: (2) Carson French, West Albany dec. (1) David Holmquist, Dallas, 8-5
152: (1) Wyatt Passantino, Dallas, dec. (2) Tamen Privratsky, Lebanon, 4-3
160: (1) Scotty Dunagan, Dallas, dec. (2) KiAnte Davis, Lebanon, 2-0
170: (1) Richard Bylund, Corvallis, dec. (3) Randy Stocker, Silverton, 15-7
182: (1) Quinn Dreher, Silverton, p. (2) Tim Ferrell, Lebanon, 3:29
195: (1) Jackson Soto, West Albany, p. (3) Tristan Ringhouse, Dallas, :41
220: (1) Steely Smith, West Albany, p. (3) Devon Wade, West Albany, 4:08
285: (1) Camryn Clokey, Silverton, dec. (2) Jacob Rorem, Dallas, 6-3
106: (2) JT Lacy, Lebanon
113: (3) Temoatzin Lopez, Woodburn
120: (4) Stanfur Lassen, Crescent Valley
126: (3) Jacob Brundridge, Silverton
132: (3) Rodolfo Hernandez, Woodburn
138: (4) Adrian Lyons-Lopez, South Albany
145: (4) James Lutz, Lebanon
152: Nick Bradford, Dallas
160: (3) David Horsey, Silverton
170: (2) David Rebischke, Dallas
182: (3) Mack Weninger, Dallas
195: (2) Carlos Hernandez, Corvallis
220: (2) Riley Sipe, Dallas
285: Stephen Urdiales, Dallas
106: (6) Joel Martinez, West Albany
113: Alec Lathrop, Lebanon
120: Marco Santos, Woodburn
126: (4) Cayman Goin, Silverton
132: (5) Ryan Spencer, Dallas
138: (3) Austin Kleint, Lebanon
145: Tyson Janssen, Dallas
152: (3) Christian Armatas, Crescent Valley
160: Arturo Perez, Woodburn
170: (5) Nick Smith III, South Albany
182: (6) Brice Hogan, West Albany
195: Colton Sallee, Lebanon
220: (5) Kyle Snyder, Dallas
285: (4) Jacob Jones, West Albany