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...
CENTRAL POINT — Whatever momentum Eagle Point had gained by storming through the Rogue Valley Championships in convincing fashion last Saturday was completely wiped away by a determined Crater effort Thursday night in nonleague wrestling.
Celebrating senior night under a spotlight that also saw youngsters from each area's mat club square off before the main event, the Comets completely dominated the Eagles for a 54-12 triumph at Crater High.
Crater won the opening nine matches of the night, allowing only one takedown and six points overall in the process, and routinely earned back points to overwhelm its longtime rival.
"Unfortunately we wrestled like we've been practicing," said EP head coach Kacey McNulty. "We can't live on our laurels, we have to come back and wrestle every week and they took it to us."
"In every aspect of that wrestling match, they beat us, even with guys that we should've clearly won the matches they kept them tight and they destroyed us in every position," added McNulty. "They scored lots of back points, our guys weren't moving, they weren't active and just not prepared."
The Eagles were coming off a resounding effort that saw their varsity team finish first at the Rogue Valley Championships and their second-teamers place fifth overall, but Crater wasn't having any of that Thursday.
"I thought we wrestled pretty good," said Crater head coach Greg Haga. "In a lot of cases it's kind of the glass is half full or half empty. In a couple matches even that we won, we'd been working on things and we didn't do that thing correct and that kinda upsets you, but all in all that's a pretty good performance. They have some tough kids that we beat tonight so that's a good job by our kids."
"It was a long night with some of the little guy stuff but that was a fun match," added Haga, whose team next hosts the Crater Classic on Saturday. "It's always a heated match with Eagle Point and I wouldn't expect anything else."
Jarrett Baker set the tone in the first match at 220 pounds when he pinned Jake Lilley in 82 seconds and, after Derrick Turituri was granted a forfeit at heavyweight, the Comets built their lead to 16-0 when Luke Mackey scored a 10-0 major decision over Mikey Johnson at 106.
Eagle Point scored its first points of the night when Christian Torrico patiently worked through a stalemate for a takedown with 45 seconds to go in the first round against Walter Kurz at 113. Those points, however, would be the only ones earned by the Eagles for quite some time after as Kurz responded with a strong second round and pinned Torrico in three minutes.
Crater's Tyler Thomas (120) and Morgan Walters (126) each picked apart their opponents for technical fall victories, with Thomas using four near-fall efforts to score a 17-0 win with 10 seconds to go against Loren Denn.
Walters was a little quicker in gaining his 16-1 rout of Orlando DeLaCruz, scoring four near-fall efforts as well before having the match capped with an escape only 38 seconds into the third round. The only point allowed by Walters, one of seven seniors celebrated prior to the match, was for a dangerous hold.
Nate Walters picked up where his brother left off at 132, building a 14-0 cushion on Eddie Perez-Rivera before dropping the hammer for a pin in 4:36.
The Comets pushed their lead to 41-0 at 138 when Dillon Ulrey scored a 4-1 decision over Alek Callahan, who managed an escape with 30 seconds to go in the second round but was denied any further scoring.
Crater's Tommy Winningham opened a 7-0 lead on Taylor Mitchell before the Eagle wrestler scored a pair of third-round escapes in a 9-2 decision to make it 44-0 for the Comets.
Eagle Point's Thane Baumer finally broke the drought for his team, in scoring and in final outcome, when he built a 6-1 lead with three takedowns on Jerry DeLaFuente and then sealed the match with another takedown and eventual pin with three seconds left in the second round.