PORTLAND — It seemed like the good ol' days for Crater High and wrestling coach Greg Haga on Saturday at the Class 6A state wrestling tournament at Memorial Coliseum.
The Comets placed three wrestlers in the championship finals and crowned one champion Saturday to clinch a trophy for the first time since Crater was the Class 5A runner-up in 2009, which marked a 12th straight state trophy for the Comets.
Morgan Walters' championship effort at 120 pounds allowed Crater to secure third place, just a half-point behind second-place David Douglas (102 points) but well behind Roseburg (237 points) as the Indians claimed a third straight 6A title and their fifth in six years.
"I thought our kids, geez, they wrestled tough up here," said Haga, who had five state placers among eight qualifiers. "That's some stuff back like it used to be with aggressiveness, knocking off seeds and doing everything we can. I'm real proud of our kids."
Crater senior Chance Fahndrich finished second but tested the mettle of four-time state champion Brandon Griffin of Sprague at 182, while junior teammate Kody Gray lost 14-3 to two-time state runner-up Reed Van Anrooy of Roseburg in the finals at 145.
In Class 5A action, Eagle Point senior heavyweight Manny Valdovinos waged a fourth tight battle with Churchill's Will Dawson but fell 2-1 in the championship final on a locking hands penalty in the third period.
"He outwrestled him," Eagles head coach Kacey McNulty said of Valdovinos, who beat Dawson in the regionals and was 2-2 against Dawson this season. "He didn't score but he was in on some shots, just couldn't finish. He did a good job, lots of effort. I'm proud of him, bummed that he couldn't win it."
Walters provided a spark with his upset of No. 1 seed Jeramiah Baker on Friday and kept up that magic Saturday, dominating Roseburg's Toby Dill with a 13-4 win in the semifinals and then capping his weekend off with a pin in 5 minutes, 27 seconds against Sprague's Yasyf Sorenson in the championship final.
Walters and Sorenson provided an exciting finish, with one scoring and then the other answering in short order. The match was tied 2-all through one period and Walters went up 6-2 on a reversal with two back points in the second, but Sorenson used a reversal to make it 6-4 15 seconds later.
Sorenson's reversal to open the third evened the match at 6-all and the fifth-ranked sophomore later took an 8-7 lead with a takedown with 1:15 to go. Undaunted, Walters worked his way through a tight grip for a reversal 30 seconds later and secured Sorenson's head and shoulders for a pin soon after.
"It scared me," the 10th-ranked junior said of trailing late in the back-and-forth match. "I was a little bit worried at the end but that's wrestling, you don't know. I just saw an opportunity on bottom and I took it."
That Walters could finish such a tough match was a testament to his will power. He missed team workouts the last two weeks after suffering a broken left hand in the regional tournament. A bone in his hand is pulled down and twisted, causing a fracture, but he taped it up and was all business at the state tourney.
"The adrenaline kind of took over," Walters said of handling the injury, which will require a surgery he opted to delay. "It hurts at night and after the match but I don't really think about it."
Fahndrich utilized a cautious approach that seemed to frustrate Griffin through the better part of three periods. The Comet trailed only 2-1 heading into the second period and 4-3 going into the third, with Fahndrich able to stay out of trouble and thwart Griffin's advances.
It was 6-3 after Fahndrich was called for stalling when Haga finally gave his senior the go-ahead to get aggressive on a restart with 23 seconds to go. Fahndrich went in for a double-leg takedown and Griffin blocked it, squeezed his opponent's head and then folded him back to the mat for a pin with 13 seconds left in the match.
"I thought he wrestled a great match," said Haga. "You're wrestling a guy that's already Mr. All-World and this and that, and he's coming in as a heavy underdog and he wrestled an underdog's match, which is you keep it close until the end. I think he frustrated the heck out of the guy because the guy couldn't have his way with him."
"At the end," he added, "you're within three (points), you've got to take some risks so then he shot in there and got overpowered. Obviously you can see they're two different sizes — Chance is probably a weight lower — but I thought he did a great job."
Crater junior Derek Turituri placed fourth in his first-ever state tournament, advancing to the third-place final at 220 with a 3-1 overtime win over Ben Goirigolzarri of Roseburg before finally being edged 3-2 by Cody Patterson of David Douglas. Freshman Nate Walters placed fifth for the Comets with a 4-1 win over Hillsboro's Alex Harsnberger at 132.
Junior Reid Shipley (170) was the lone North Medford wrestler to win his opening consolation match on Saturday, scoring a fall in 4:38 against Brandon Ferington of Clackamas. Shipley went on to wrestle in the third-place final, where he suffered an 8-3 loss to West Linn's Ryan Harman. Harman had beaten Shipley 5-2 in their opening match.
Black Tornado senior Marlon Campos faced a tall order in a matchup with defending state champion and No. 2-ranked Jared Groner and lost 9-0 to cap a gritty season that saw Campos wrestle with severe ligament damage in his right knee. North junior Kaden Johnson also suffered a tough defeat, 3-1 to Century's Chris Lindholm.
Grants Pass finished ninth overall and crowned a champion at 106 in top-ranked Casey Coulter, who scored a 5-2 win over Oregon City's Devin Poppen in the finals.
Luke Collins placed fourth at 138 for the Cavemen, while Ryan Shean beat teammate Chad Lowe in the fifth-place final at 170 and Zach Nance (113) placed sixth.
Eagle Point's struggles in the 5A tournament continued through Saturday, with only Valdovinos able to advance out of the semifinals when top-ranked senior Aaron Lorenz (120) and No. 1 junior Johnny Wilkerson (182) each came up short.
Lorenz lost 16-3 to Wilson's Austin Wallace-Lister and seemingly never recovered, losing his next two matches to place sixth after being a state runner-up last year. Wilkerson was about 10 seconds away from rallying for a semifinal victory over Sandy's Manny Dickinson before letting him get around for a deciding takedown in a 3-2 match. He regrouped, however, to win his next two matches to place third, capped by a 5-3 win over Nick Morgan from Hood River Valley.
Orlando DeLaCruz was the only other Eagle to place, finishing fourth at 113 after a 19-11 loss to second-seeded Tyler Renfro of Dallas. As a team, Eagle Point finished seventh.
Ashland sophomore Mason Montgomery, ranked No. 1 at 195 for most of the season, dropped a 7-4 decision to second-ranked Brian Wojahn of Wilson in the 5A semifinals but rebounded to take third with a 6-3 win over Mountain View's Trevor Roberts.
Hermiston had its string of five straight 5A titles snapped by Dallas, which scored 164 points to finish ahead of Pendleton (150) and the Bulldogs (134.5).
State Wrestling Results
TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — Roseburg 237, David Douglas 102, Crater 101.5, Sprague 95, Oregon City 90, Hillsboro 84, Redmond 81, Barlow 74, Grants Pass 69.5, West Linn 63.
OTHER LOCAL SCORES — North Medford 24, South Medford 1.
106 — Casey Coulter, Grants Pass, dec. Devin Poppen, Oregon City, 5-2; 113 — Garret Rider, Newberg, dec. Dauki Willburn, Hillsboro, 12-10; 120 — Morgan Walters, Crater, pinned Yasyf Sorenson, Sprague, 5:27; 126 — Peter Russo, Newberg, pinned Ryan Haney, Redmond, 1:44; 132 — Devin Reynolds, McNary, dec. Colby Winnett, 9-2.
138 — Josh Reyes, David Douglas, dec. Brody Faas, Roseburg, 10-3; 145 — Reed Van Anrooy, Roseburg, dec. Kody Gray, Crater, 14-3; 152 — Hector Mandera, Roseburg, dec. Ian Thomas, Roseburg, 3-2; 160 — Boomer Fleming, Redmond, pinned Tyler Chay, West Linn, 2:43; 170 — Jake Bennett, Forest Grove, dec. Jacob Childs, Barlow, 3-0.
182 — Brandon Griffin, Sprague, pinned Chance Fahndrich, Crater, 5:47; 195 — Jacob Turek, Hillsboro, dec. Austin Faunce, Lake Oswego, 16-7; 220 — Mick Dougharity, Barlow, pinned Michael McCoy, Oregon City, 3:46; 285 — Marq Randall, Roseburg, dec. Chet Spears, Sheldon, 6-2.
170 — Ryan Harman, West Linn, dec. Reid Shipley, North Medford, 8-3; 220 — Cody Patterson, David Douglas, dec. Derek Turituri, Crater, 3-2.
113 — Cameron Baldwin, Reynolds, pinned Zachary Nance, Grants Pass, :22; 132 — Nate Walters, Crater, dec. Alex Harnsberger, Hillsboro, 4-1; 170 — Ryan Shean, Grants Pass, dec. Chad Lowe, Grants Pass, 11-8.
TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — Dallas 164, Pendleton 150, Hermiston 134.5, Churchill 132.5, West Albany 96.5, Lebanon 89.5, Eagle Point 86, Sandy 85, Hood River Valley 79.5, Silverton 78.
OTHER LOCAL SCORES — Ashland 16.
106 — Matt Hofenbredl, Dallas, dec. J.T. Ayers, Mountain View, 8-4; 113 — Thaddeus Nelson, Marshfield, dec. Isaac Aguilar, Hermiston, 4-0; 120 — Austin Wallace-Lister, Wilson, dec. Izaak Tobin, Silverton, 4-3; 126 — Alex Rich, Crescent Valley, dec. Housten Ezell, Churchill, 3-0; 132 — Tyler Berger, Hermiston, dec. Daniel Leonard, Sherwood, 10-3.
138 — Joey Delgado, Hermiston, dec. Pyper McCallum, Pendleton, 17-3; 145 — Joe Potts, Churchill, dec. Wyatt Passantino, Dallas, 9-5; 152 — Abraham Rodriguez, Hermiston, dec. Chase Kearney, Churchill, 7-3; 160 — Garrett Urrutia, Lebanon, dec. Kyle Bateman, Sandy, 9-5; 170 — Zac Brunson, Churchill, dec. Quinn Dreher, Silverton, 24-10.
182 — Ryker Smith, West Albany, dec. Manny Dickinson, Sandy, 4-3 OT; 195 — Brian Wojahn, Wilson, dec. Jackson Soto, West Albany, 7-3; 220 — Ben Rebischke, Dallas, dec. Steely Smith, West Albany, 8-1; 285 — Will Dawson, Churchill, dec. Manny Valdovinos, Eagle Point, 2-1.
113 — Tyler Renfro, Dallas, dec. Orlando De La Cruz, Eagle Point, 19-11; 182 — Johnny Wilkerson, Eagle Point, dec. Nick Morgan, Hood River Valley, 5-3; 195 — Mason Montgomery, Ashland, dec. Trevor Roberts, Mountain View, 6-3.
120 — Cody Renfro, Dallas, pinned Aaron Lorenz, Eagle Point, 4:35.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry