ASHLAND — The second-ranked Southern Oregon wrestling team won the final four bouts to pull away in a 28-12 dual meet victory over No. 12 Menlo Tuesday night in a matchup of the top two NAIA wrestling programs on the West Coast at Bob Riehm Arena.
Southern Oregon (2-0) returns to action Thursday, when it arrives in Redding, Calif., to take on first-year program Simpson at 7 p.m.
"Those guys are tough to wrestle," SOU head coach Mike Ritchey said of Menlo. "That's the best I've seen them in a while, and it's a good program to wrestle against. The final score doesn't indicate how close each match really was."
Top-ranked Mitchell Lofstedt opened the dual in his usual fashion in the 125-pound bout, pinning No. 14 Edgar Paez in 1:18 to put the Raiders up 6-0. Fifth-ranked Prescott Garner followed that up with a come-from-behind upset of No. 2 Angel Garcia in the 133, claiming a 6-2 decision in the final minute of the third round to make it a 9-0 advantage.
Gustavo Lopez put Menlo on the board in the next bout, as the 13th-ranked senior earned a first-round pin over Justin Eldred. Christian Franks followed with a 3-1 overtime victory in the 149 over Craig Trask to tie the dual at 9-9.
The Raiders regained the lead following a 10-2 major decision victory by No. 7 Dalton Urrutia in the 157-pound match. No. 10 Eric Lopez nearly tied it back up in the 165, but a late escape by Brock Crocker pulled the sophomore back to within seven for the 12-5 decision loss to make it 13-12, SOU.
Freshman Reed Tennyson earned a decision victory over Joel Veloni in the 174 to put SOU up 16-12, and No. 8 Tyler Thomas made it 19-12 with a decision victory over Erick Parsons in the 184. A Menlo forfeit in the 197 clinched the dual win for the Raiders, and No. 10 Bubba Owens gave SOU its fourth consecutive bout victory with a comeback decision win over Justin Harrison in the heavyweight bout.
"We have to cut down on our mistakes, but I liked our aggressiveness tonight," Ritchey said. "A couple of guys were a little too conservative, and the guys that won got after it. That's our style, and you've got to get everything out of a tough match to find out where you're at and improve going forward."
Southern Oregon 28,Menlo College 12
125 — Mitchell Lofstedt, SOU, pin Edgar Paez, 1:18; 133 — Prescott Garner, SOU, dec. Angel Garcia, 6-2; 141 — Gustavo Lopez, M, pin Justin Eldred, 2:33; 149 — Christian Franks, M, dec. Craig Trask; 157 — Dalton Urrutia, SOU, maj. dec. Samuel Duchene, 10-2.
165 — Eric Lopez, M, dec. Brock Crocker, 12-5; 174 — Reed Tennyson, SOU, dec. Joel Veloni, 6-4; 184 — Tyler Thomas, SOU, dec. Erick Parsons, 7-5; 197 — Taylor Johnson, SOU, win by fofeit; 285 — Bubba Owens, SOU, dec. Justin Harrison, 7-5.