SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The second-ranked Southern Oregon wrestling team dominated a pair of duals Saturday afternoon, taking down No. 13 Missouri Baptist 42-6 in the opening round and defeating No. 12 Baker 34-11 in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals.
Southern Oregon improved to 5-0 in dual matches this season with the victories and will take on No. 3 Great Falls today at 11 a.m. CST with a berth in the championship dual at stake.
Top-ranked Mitchell Lofstedt led the way for the Raiders with pins in the 125-pound opener of both duals, taking down No. 6 Gabriel Roman in 4:19 during the first match and defeating unranked Alan Callahan in 1:42 in the quarterfinals. Brock Gutches followed suit, as the nation's top-ranked 174-pounder pinned Andrew Carter-Johnson of Missouri Baptist in five minutes flat before taking down sixth-ranked Parker Owen of Baker in 1:24.
Southern Oregon's other top-ranked wrestlers, 133-pounder Prescott Garner and 149-pounder Jimmy Eggemeyer, also posted undefeated marks on the day. Eggemeyer won bouts in both duals, including knocking off No. 8 Nick Haugen in a narrow 7-3 decision during the quarterfinals. Garner took down No. 9 Chris Padilla of Missouri Baptist by a 5-0 decision before No. 3 Miguel Baltazar took his spot to defeat Allen Gassman of Baker in the quarterfinals.
This morning SOU will take on No. 3 Great Falls, which lost to the Raiders on Nov. 6.
The winner will advance to the 3 p.m. CST championship match against either No. 1 — and defending NAIA champion — Grand View or No. 5 Campbellsville.
"We face an improved Great Falls team and are looking at a what on paper looks to be a tight dual," Ritchey said. "We have to fight for every point and avoid giving up bonuses to come out on top in the first dual. We are focused on the semis and we need to come out firing on all cylinders to get a win."