Palluck Wins State Wrestling Championship
Cottage Grove sophmore Allison Palluck is a state champion after defeating Courtney Hall of Scappoose in the OSAA wrestling girls 115-lb. finals (decision 6-4). This comes on the heels of a snow storm that hit through the Portland area, where the championships were being held.
“I knew going in that I was going to be exhausted no matter what. I had to push through it and just be smart,” said Palluck. “I remembered I looked at the clock with like 1:20 to go and it was 4-4 and I was like, ‘I’ve got to do something and it’s got to be good. I’m going to have to pull out enough energy to hold it down.’ Then I got a reversal and just held on for dear life.”
Cottage Grove also qualified Nathan Abrams, Daniel Hernandez and Carter Bengtson for state, but it was Palluck who walked away as a champion.
“I was so excited, that was the hardest I think I’ve ever wrestled,” she said. “Just realizing as a sophomore that I just won state. It was emotional, I don’t think I’ve ever cried happy tears like that. I’ve got ugly pictures of just pure happiness.”
The team was supposed to wrestle on Thursday and Friday, but due to weather the schedule was shuffled around and the entire event was held on Friday for 4A teams.
“I’ve been thinking about that a lot. Not wrestling Thursday, I think helped because I got to sit in a hotel room with my friends and just relax and forget about everything else in life. Everything got to go away,” she said.
Palluck was 14-0 heading into the weekend and ranked second in the state. “The only reason she’s in second in state is because the girl (Hall) who is number one is a returning state qualifier finalist. Allison, if she does her part and gets there, should be a great finals match,” Lions coach Rich Herzog said before the weekend.
“I never knew that I was first or second or even ranked,” Palluck said. “But my coach was telling me what could happen and how high I could be placed. I was like, ‘Uh, I want to do that.’”
Palluck, who is a multi-sport athlete, began wresting in seventh grade and says some friends that were involved helped nudge her towards the sport.
“There are just so many different aspects to it compared to so many other sports. I started off with that natural talent and took it to the next level by practicing with as many people as I could, going to mat clubs, and trying to get as good as I could as fast as I can,” Palluck said.
Palluck spent part of her summer at a wrestling camp in Iowa, sharpening and expanding her wrestling skills.
“That was terrifying,” Palluck said. “It was a real experience, I went in without my parents, a few of my friends, and it was only boys. There were maybe three girls, so it was a giant ball room full of 300 boys, three times a day, for two hours each. It was just exhaustion, mental exhaustion, physical exhaustion, and there was no break. It taught me a lot of things, like how to push through it when you have no other option.”
“This is her breakout year. Last year she took the last spot to qualify for state, but then she didn’t place in state,” Herzog said. “She wrestled, some tough girls and had a good season. But then she went to the Iowa wrestling camp this summer and she put her focus on doing well this year.”
When asked when she realized this season when she might have a shot at a state championship, Palluck responded “Probably after the Coast Classic, which is the second tournament of the year. I won the first one and I was like, ‘Oh, that has to be some sort of coincidence, I don’t know if I can do that again.’ But then I won the Coast Classic, which is the second biggest tournament besides state. I realized I might have a shot at first.”
Palluck was named the OSAA Athlete of the Week following her victory at the Coast Classic after pinning the defending champion. She then continued to roll through her season undefeated.
While Palluck’s championship is big, the possibility of what the sophomore could achieve moving forward is also looming.
“I’m still willing to put in the work. I know it’s not going to come easy, once you win it’s still not going to be easy the next year, I know that. I still want to win but I’m willing to put in all the work, just like this year and last year,” Palluck concluded.