ASHLAND — The gap between two teams was larger than Southern Oregon University's No. 7 and Simpson's No. 9 spots in the NAIA wrestling rankings indicated Thursday night at Bob Riehm Arena.
After nearly a month off, the Raiders were back and dominant in a 42-3 trumping of the Redhawks, evening their dual record at 2-2 on the season.
Taylor Johnson, the top-ranked 197-pounder in the country, returned to the lineup in midseason form and recorded one of SOU's two wins by fall. Johnson — a junior who last year won a West Region title — hadn't wrestled this season due to injury but took care of Christian White in 1 minute, 13 seconds.
Jacob Stigall, the No. 4 125-pounder in the NAIA, started the night with the Raiders' other pin, 2:44 into the first round against Mason Sauseda. Top-ranked Brock Gutches improved his record to 8-0 by taking a 10-1 major decision from Simpson's Brady Beamon, who came into the match ranked second to Gutches in the West Region.
SOU heavyweight Clayton Burtis pulled off the upset of the night by knocking off Austin Lobsinger, who is ranked second in the West and fifth in the NAIA. Burtis took Lobsinger down with 10 seconds remaining to seal a 7-3 decision.
Rhett Breed, No. 6 in the West at 157 pounds for the Raiders, also put himself in position to climb the rankings by defeating No. 4 Richard Ortiz, 5-1, with a first-round takedown and a near fall.
Jacob Abrams, No. 5 in the NAIA at 184 pounds, maintained his perfect record by handily defeating the fifth-rated wrestler in the West, Marcus Zachary, in a 12-4 major decision. Freshman 149-pounder Tyler Cowger earned SOU's other decision, while Johnathon Gay (141) and Brock Crocker (165) both received forfeit victories.
The top-ranked 133-pounder in the NAIA, AJ Valles, scored Simpson's only points, but even he had to work for those as Trevor Hancock held him to a decision.
The Raiders will remain at home for today's 7 p.m. dual against NCAA Division II foe Simon Fraser. Preceding that will be a 5 p.m. exhibition against Clackamas Community College.
125 — Jacob Stigall, SOU, pinned Mason Sauseda, SI, 2:44; 133 — AJ Valles, SI, dec. Trevor Hancock, SOU, 5-0; 141 — Johnathon Gay, SOU, won by forfeit; 149 — Tyler Cowger, SOU, major dec. Marco Fratantoni, SI, 13-2; 157 — Rhett Breed, SOU, dec. Richard Ortiz, SI, 5-1.
165 — Brock Crocker, SOU, won by forfeit; 174 — Brock Gutches, SOU, major dec. Brady Beamon, SI, 10-1; 184 — Jacob Abrams, SOU, major dec. Marcus Zachary, 12-4; 197 — Taylor Johnson, SOU, pinned Christian White, SI, 1:13; 285 — Clayton Burtis, SOU, dec. Austin Lobsinger, Simpson, 7-3.