It’s an experiment that has true benefit and merit, but also one with a big hill to climb before permanent implementation throughout...
GRANTS PASS — Six top-four showings allowed Crater to finish third overall Saturday in the conclusion of the Grants Pass Winter Kickoff, which featured 35 wrestling programs at the two-day event.
Morgan Walters (126 pounds), Tommy Winningham (152) and Kody Gray (170) each reached the finals but had to settle for second place for the Comets, who scored 164.5 points to finish behind only Henley (210.5) and Ponderosa High (203.5) of Shingle Springs, Calif.
Dillon Ulrey added another strong showing with a third-place finish at 145 for Crater, while fourth-place efforts were turned in by Luke Mackey (106) and Nate Walters (138).
Morgan Walters fell prey to a first-round pin by Henley standout Ronnie Bresser 1 minute, 56 seconds into their championship match, while Grants Pass' Kjell Thorsen topped Winningham 7-0 in their final.
Making his first-ever appearance in the championship finals after upsetting Coquille's Sye Yates, 6-3, in the 170 semis, Phoenix junior Izzy Rubio broke a 1-all tie with Gray with a second-round takedown and then tacked on a penalty point for an illegal hold in the third round to secure a 4-1 triumph.
Gray had advanced to the championship finals with a 5-3 decision over Illinois Valley's John Britt. Yates finished runner-up at last week's Army Strong Coast Classic.
"It was a tight match in the middle of the second round and Izzy made a really nice shot and just took him down," said Phoenix head coach John Farmer. "Then Gray rode him out in the third round but couldn't turn him."
"He's just somebody who's coming into his own every time he steps onto the mat," Farmer added of Rubio, the Pirates' lone wrestler to advance beyond the quarterfinals. "He works hard in practice every day and it's starting to come through for him."
Of the 10 wrestlers entered in the tourney by Phoenix, four placed among the top four and another (145-pounder Braden Vega) had to be pulled from action after injuring his knee. Kyle Bradfield (152) scored an 8-6 decision over Hidden Valley's Chance Anderson to take third with his fifth straight win after suffering a first-match defeat, while Richard Orndorff (113) and Austin Snow (132) each placed fourth.
Ashland's Mason Montgomery cruised through the 195-pound bracket to claim the championship, while teammate Cody Eisenberg was fourth at 220 after suffering an 8-6 overtime loss to Ponderosa's Henry Sharoyan.
Host Grants Pass secured a pair of individual titles with Thorsen and Casey Coulter (113) while heavyweight Manuel Davila finished second to help the Cavemen finish sixth overall in the team race.
Illinois Valley finished seventh thanks to a first-place finish by Gabe Miller (138), a third-place showing by Brandon Parker (132) and fourth-place efforts by Eric Miller (120) and Logan Miller (145).
Eagle Point's Hunter Hoeptner was fourth at 160, while HIdden Valley's Brad Hyatt placed third at 195 with an 11-8, double-overtime victory.
TEAM SCORES — Henley 210.5, Ponderosa 203.5, Crater 164.5, Tillamook 151.5, Klamath Union 126.5, Grants Pass 118, Illinois Valley 115, Phoenix 111.5, North Valleys 107.5, Coquille 102, Eagle Point 98, Corvallis 86, Oakland 72, Mazama 67, Ashland 62, Gold Beach 58, Hidden Valley 55, Anderson 54, Modoc 43.5, South Umpqua 43, Douglas 42, South Medford 41, Brookings-Harbor 38, Lakeview 36, North Bend 35.5, South Eugene 33.5, North Valley 32, Corning 25.5, Glendale 21, Etna 16.5, Del Norte 16, Sheldon 8, Reedsport 7, Tulelake 4, McKinleyville 0.
ROSE CITY CHAMPIONSHIPS — At Beaverton, North Medford captured fourth place in the 15-team meet at Westview High. Reid Shipley pinned Willamina's Trevor Hunt in 3 minutes, 8 seconds to claim first at 170 pounds.
Henry Cox (106) and Avion Maloney (285) were third, Austin Mitchell (113) and Kaden Johnson (182) fourth and Trent Wilson (182) and Cole Hornbrook (138) fifth for the Black Tornado.
TEAM SCORES — Glencoe 313.5, Churchill 296, West Linn 230.5, North Medford 230, Lebanon 196.5, Willamina 196, Sumner (Wash.) 169, Southridge 144, Newberg 137, Westview 125.5, Hudson's Bay (Wash.) 124.5, Sherwood 113, West Albany 86, Beaverton 84, Sunset 81.5.
NORTH MEDFORD 4, SOUTH MEDFORD 1 — Jeremy Wu had a goal and an assist and Lindsey Courtney scored her first varsity goal as North Medford handed South Medford its first loss of the season in a Southern Oregon League showdown at The RRRink.
Wu assisted on Will Spence's goal, which gave the Black Tornado a 2-0 lead late in the first period, then scored off assists by Joshua Wu and Eric Skogseth to increase the lead to 3-0. Michael Fthenakis' shorthanded goal, off another Joshua Wu assist, made it 4-0.
Courtney scored the first goal of the game with 10:42 to go in the first, capitalizing off assists by Hagan Arient and Mario Filippi.
Preston Carney scored South Medford's lone goal with 10:12 to play off an assist by Cy Jenson.
North Medford goalie Calvinn Casady had 35 saves, while South Medford goalie Jon Lines had 20.
South Medford 0 0 1 — 1
North Medford 2 2 0 — 4