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Phoenix in second at district meet

KLAMATH FALLS -- Phoenix High wrestling coach Harry Mondale found himself in an unusual position after the first day of the Skyline Conference district tournament.

Mondale, whose teams have won eight straight conference titles, can normally get a restful night sleep after the first day of competition because Pirates have pretty much locked up the championship. But Mondale probably didn't sleep as well Friday night as in prior seasons.

There's a logjam at the top of the team scoring chart, with four teams in the hunt for a conference championship at Henley High.

Phoenix advanced nine wrestlers into today's semifinals and have 14 of its 17 grapplers still in action after the first of two days.

The Pirates scored 68 points and trail Rogue River by one point in the team standings, with South Umpqua five points behind Phoenix. Illinois Valley is fourth with 54.

It's a real ball game for all of us, Mondale said. Nobody is assured of anything. Definitely nothing is settled at this point except we're in the tournament.

South Umpqua also advanced nine wrestlers into the finals, while Rogue River leads the way with 10.

With this crew of young kids, we're pretty much where I thought we would be, said Mondale.

Phoenix has three key matchups with South Umpqua in the semifinals. At 112 pounds, Phoenix freshman Tyler McCarty, a No. — seed, faces second-seeded Hung Hoang. And at 135, top-seeded Tom Jones of South Umpqua goes against sophomore Bryon Monical and No. 2-seed Mark Williams of Phoenix wrestles unseeded Kevin Weaver.

If we happen to lose both of those, Mondale said, we could be in a lot of trouble.