Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
Each wrestling team left the Rogue Valley Championships with a little something to hang its hat on Saturday, but none more than Eagle Point.
The Class 5A Eagles crowned three champions and had two runner-up showings to run away with a tournament that went 20 teams deep, counting junior varsity squads, at North Medford High. Eagle Point's JV team actually held the No. 4 overall spot for most of the afternoon until it slipped behind North Medford's varsity for fifth place.
"It was a good performance on those guys scoring separately," EP head coach Kacey McNulty said of his varsity and JV each finishing among the top five. "Once we combine teams we'll really be pulling some points out, so that's exciting."
Eight schools had at least one champion in the 14 weight classes, with Eagle Point, Illinois Valley and Phoenix placing five varsity wrestlers in the finals to lead the charge. The Eagles actually had a sixth finalist with JV Damian Gonzalez at 126.
Eagle Point scored 200 points to win the team title, followed by Illinois Valley (170), Phoenix (150.5), North Medford (140) and the Eagle Point JV (114).
"Eagle Point's tough, they deserved it," said North Medford head coach Nolan Harris. "They wrestled well."
Mikey Johnson (106), Levi Pomeroy (126) and James McCoy (152) finished first for the Eagles, while Taylor Mitchell (138), Thane Baumer (160) and Gonzalez (126) placed second.
"We had an overall good team performance but we still need to get rid of some of the errors that we're making," said McNulty. "There were kids that I thought should have done better and are better than what they ended up today. We're still in the process of working and refining things and getting better. It's not all there yet but, overall, we had a lot of kids do pretty well today."
Johnson pinned South Medford's Brandon Wolf in 4 minutes, 25 seconds to secure his title, while Pomeroy received an injury default from his teammate at 126 and McCoy was especially impressive in scoring an 8-0 major decision over Phoenix's Kyle Bradfield.
"McCoy's doing well this season," said McNulty. "He didn't get a pin there but it's kind of a tough situation because the last time we wrestled (Bradfield) we got a pin and so he was really trying to avoid that this time."
Runner-up Illinois Valley crowned three champions as well in Gabe Miller (138), Logan Miller (145) and TJ Huey (160), while Brandon Parker (132) and John Britt (182) finished second for the Cougars.
"I feel good about it when you consider we only had 10 kids," said IV head coach Jay Miller of his team's finish. "We have some good kids so it's not a bad day for us. We had some really good things happen today."
Gabe Miller picked apart EP's Mitchell in the final for a 12-1 major decision and was named the outstanding wrestler for the lower weights.