When he was putting together his initial football staff at North Medford High, Mike Mitchell put a particularly different spin on his...
Eagle Point advanced nine wrestlers to the championship finals and crowned six champions — with teammates squaring off at one weight — to outdistance the field Saturday in the Rogue Valley Championships at North Medford High.
The Eagles had matters sewn up well before the finals but used the last round to show just how formidable the Class 5A squad looks to be this season.
Mikey Johnson (106 pounds), Levi Pomeroy (126) and James McCoy (160) paved the way for Eagle Point with their second straight individual title at the Rogue Valley Championships, with teammates Alek Callahan (132), Loren Denn (138) and Ethan Pomeroy (195) also finishing on top.
"We had a great performance today," said Eagle Point head coach Kacey McNulty. "The kids came out of Christmas in pretty good shape and ready to go."
Christian Torrico (113), Eddie Perez-Rivera (126) and Kaden Crandall (145) finished as runners-up for the Eagles, who earned their second straight RV Championships title by scoring 286.5 points to finish ahead of Phoenix (201.5).
"They're tough," Phoenix head coach John Farmer said of the Eagles. "I'm never happy with second but it turned out OK."
Illinois Valley (169), North Medford (114) and Gold Beach (102.5) rounded out the top five. South Medford finished sixth at 101.5 and Ashland used championship efforts by Mason Montgomery at 220 and Cody Eisenberg at 285 to place seventh.
Montgomery wrestled in only one match Saturday to earn his second straight tournament title, needing 2 minutes, 57 seconds to pin North Medford's Skyler Black. The only other repeat champion was Illinois Valley's Logan Miller, who was named outstanding wrestler for the lightweight divisions after pinning Crandall in 2:48 in the 145 finals.
The tournament's outstanding wrestler for the heavyweight divisions went to Gold Beach's Derek Carl, who authored the biggest upset of the event when he scored an 8-3 decision over Phoenix's Izzy Rubio at 170. Rubio was coming off a championship effort at the 86-team Sierra Nevada Classic, while Carl finished fourth in that same event and has finished second and third, respectively, in the past two Class 2A state tournaments.
"I knew (Carl) was tough and it was going to be a really good match," Farmer said of the 170-pound tilt. "It was a good match, we just weren't as focused maybe at times as we needed to be."
Carl opened the scoring in the second period with an escape and then dragged his toes for a takedown of Rubio on the edge of the mat for a 3-0 advantage. The Gold Beach senior was patient and steady to produce a methodical final that was largely defensive with only a few bursts of activity.
"He got our timing off a little bit and that kinda slowed us down and then he took advantage of us not being able to get our rhythm going," added Farmer. "(Carl) did a great job, it was a good match. Izzy wrestled tough and he's the type of kid that he'll take what he can learn from that match and just use it for later on this season."
The Pirates were able to crown a pair of champions in Richard Orndoff, who scored an 8-0 major decision over North Medford's Caleb Dix at 120, and Kyle Bradfield, who pinned North Valley's Jake Roberts in 1:31.
"They've been in the money a lot but this was their first time standing on top of the podium so that was really good to see," said Farmer, who also had runner-up showings from Braden Vega (160) and Trace Vega (182).
Despite a scoreless first period, North Medford's Henry Cox steamrolled his way to the title at 113 with a 14-1 major decision over Torrico.
John Britt joined Miller in finishing first for Illinois Valley, with Britt stopping Trace Vega in 1:44.
Johnson got the Eagles going at 106 with a quick pin of Sheldon's Gary Thayer in 1:14 and, after Levi Pomeroy's 5-0 decision over his teammate, Callahan picked up the pace again with a pin of North Valley's Luke Valle in 1:15. Denn followed with a crushing pin of Lakeview's Connor Lysne in 2:55 that saw Lysne go for a throw and miss and wind up with Denn falling down on him in perfect pinning position.
McCoy left himself open for danger early in his match against Braden Vega when he pulled the Phoenix wrestler backwards on top of him before completing a rollover for a takedown in the first period. That seemed to kickstart the Eagle Point standout, who added a three-point near fall just before the end of the period and then picked up where he left off to open the second and dispatch Vega in 2:28.
"I think James McCoy just felt him out there early and then took care of business," said McNulty. "He opened it up at the end of the first round with a turn and then I really think Vega went for a big move and it didn't work for him."
Farmer agreed, and gave full credit to McCoy for sweeping through the 160-pound division.
"I've always thought McCoy was a really, really tough wrestler and he proved it," said the Phoenix coach. "He deserved it, he's a good wrestler. Braden had a good tournament, too, he just ran into a really tough kid in the finals."
Ashland's Montgomery received byes and/or forfeits up until facing Black in the finals at 220 and the long wait was evident early. Montgomery opened a 2-0 lead but a pair of escapes — one in each period — allowed Black to square the match at 2-all before the Ashland standout locked him up and secured a pin.
Eisenberg had a similarly close match in which he was tied with North Bend's Mason Laird through two periods but gained an early escape in the third for a 3-2 advantage that he was able to hold onto.
Rogue Valley Championships
TEAM SCORES — Eagle Point 286.5, Phoenix 201.5, Illinois Valley 169, North Medford 114, Gold Beach 102.5, South Medford 101.5, Ashland 91, North Bend 76, Lakeview 70.5, North Valley 63.5, Hidden Valley 56, Mazama 55, Sheldon 43, Rogue River 27.
106 — Mikey Johnson, EP, pinned Gary Thayer, She, 1:14; 113 — Henry Cox, NM, major dec. Christian Torrico, EP, 14-1; 120 — Richard Orndoff, Pho, major dec. Caleb Dix, NM, 8-0; 126 — Levi Pomeroy, EP, dec. Eddie Perez-Rivera, EP, 5-0; 132 — Alek Callahan, EP, pinned Luke Valle, NV, 1:15.
138 — Loren Denn, EP, pinned Connor Lysne, Lak, 2:55; 145 — Logan Miller, IV, pinned Kaden Crandall, EP, 2:48; 152 — Kyle Bradfield, Pho, pinned Jake Roberts, NV, 1:31; 160 — James McCoy, EP, pinned Braden Vega, Pho, 2;28.
170 — Derek Carl, GB, dec. Izzy Rubio, Pho, 8-3; 182 — John Britt, IV, pinned Trace Vega, Pho, 1:44; 195 — Ethan Pomeroy, EP, dec. Thomas Keeler, GB, 7-4; 220 — Mason Montgomery, Ash, pinned Skyler Black, NM, 2:57; 285 — Cody Eisenberg, Ash, dec. Mason Laird, NB, 3-2.
106 — Taylor Bright, GB, pinned Makai Jacob, RR, :54; 113 — Zack Clark, IV, pinned Johnny Hulseman, RR, :21; 120 — Wes Turner, GB, pinned Mark Deane, NB, 1:35; 126 — Eric Miller, IV, pinned Anthony Neuenschwander, SM, 3:57; 132 — Mack Crandall, Lak, dec. Cedar King, Pho, 9-5.
138 — Davin Nichols, Maz, pinned Ben Haley, HV, 1:04; 145 — Cole Hornbrook, NM, tech. fall Jessie Daniels, Pho, 15-0; 152 — Phillip Kuckuck, NB, dec. Noah Sitzer, EP, 7-6; 160 — Ruben Mendez, SM, pinned Sam Gostnell, Ash, 3:49.
170 — Hunter Hoeptner, EP, pinned Brandon Brooks, SM, 2:30; 182 — Blain Cloney, EP, pinned Chance Swenson, Ash; 195 — James Jarrett, IV, pinned Brandon Wrezinski, HV, 1:24; 220 — Julian Northrup, IV, won by forfeit over Zach Hester, SM; 285 — Taylor Stone, NM, pinned Andrew Aguilar, HV, 1:15.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry