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Crater reclaims crown at Classic

CENTRAL POINT — If Crater is to claim its fourth straight Class 4A state wrestling title, it won't be because Shane Webster runs the table at 171 pounds or Ben Tibbetts steals the heavyweight crown from Blake Cam of Eagle Point.

The difference will be in how well the remaining Comets perform under pressure situations.

Crater got a glimpse of what could be Saturday in reclaiming the Crater Classic title a year after Sprague shocked the Comets on their home turf.

Crater placed a wrestler in 11 of the 14 weight class finals, including both competitors at 140 pounds. Of those 11 weights, however, only four titles went to the Comets as a lack of primetime exposure hurt during a handful of close championship matches.

It was a frustrating final maybe but earlier in the day we wrestled all right, said Crater coach Greg Haga.

The Comets earned points from nearly every wrestler it put out on the mat in amassing 409 points to trounce Sprague (283?) for the team title. Marshfield was third at 246?.

A year ago it was the Olympians who stormed through the tournament, crowning five champions and four runners-up. Sprague may not have had the depth this year, but the Olys were able to post six champions — four at the expense of Crater wrestlers.

All of this stuff is learning a lesson, Haga said of the Comets? inability to finish in the finals. It's all training for district and state. I'd rather have the mistakes here and go back into the mat room and do a little training to put them in the same situation and say, ?Now, what would you do different??

Webster (171), Tibbetts (275), Brandon Anders (130) and Bob Pool (140) won't need to change a thing as the Crater foursome easily won individual titles.

Webster ran his record to 25-0 with a pin of Sprague's Cole Cote at 1:46, while Tibbetts crushed Victor Garcia of Marshfield at 3:42.

Anders and Sprague's Stan Taylor had a spirited match that included two penalty points, but Anders gradually was able to pull away for an 11-5 decision.

Pool and teammate Josh Wilder took their mat-room challenge match to center stage in the 140-pound final, with Pool earning a 25-10 tech fall.

The rest of the championship matches, however, found a way to elude Crater's grasp. Four finals lost by the Comets were decided by three points or less.

We had a couple close matches that could have gone either way, said Webster, who was named outstanding wrestler of the Classic along with Sprague 135-pounder Noah Cinquini. A little more work and they?ll be there.

Cody Ponder opened the run of hard luck for Crater at 103 by falling behind 5-0 to Sprague's Ryan Wilder. The freshman Ponder responded with four unanswered points but couldn't get over the hump against the Oly senior.

Jason Licato picked up the gauntlet for Crater at 119, managing a 4-1 lead before Nick Gerritson of Marshfield tied the match at 5-all.

Licato earned a late escape to take a 6-5 lead, only to allow a takedown by Gerritson in the final five seconds.

He has him beat if he just stays after him, Haga said of Licato, who was in his first varsity final.

Crater missed out on two more prime chances at 189 and 215, with Brenden McLean of North Valley and Norris Bier of North Medford the benefactors of untimely lapses.

Justin Samples built a 5-2 edge on McLean at 189 and appeared destined to ride out for the win until a stalling point, late takedown and near fall by McLean sealed the match.

Samples has been wrestling real well, he just made a mistake and that cost him, Webster said of his teammate.

Bier earned all his points the hard way for a 9-6 win at 215, reclaiming the momentum over Aaron Harleman. Two weeks ago at the Rogue Valley Classic, Harleman beat Bier, 5-3, for the first time in their history and went on to win the tournament.

Saturday's encounter provided more scoring as Bier broke a 5-all tie with a reversal and third-period takedown. Harleman managed an escape but couldn't mount much of an offensive attack after that.

That Bier kid is tough but we didn't wrestle very smart, Haga said of the 215 match.

I think it's lack of experience in some of our kids. They never got to wrestle in the finals with the heat on like Webster and Tibbetts and Pool. They're learning their lessons.

Which is exactly where Haga wants his Comets to be with the district tournament a month away.

They know we're not where we want to be but they know we're headed in the right direction, said the coach. Everybody knows they have to contribute in a month and that's what we're trying to get done. We're going to be OK.

— TEAM SCORES- Crater 409, Sprague 283?, Marshfield 246?, South Umpqua 94?, South Medford 70?, North Valley 67, North Medford 44, Sutherlin 35, South Albany 33.

— CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS

103- Ryan Wilder, SP, dec. Cody Ponder, C, 5-4; 112- James Montgomery, SP, dec. Ty VanBurger, M, 11-2; 119

— — Nick Gerritson, M, dec. Jason Licato, C, 7-6; 125- Gabe Gurule, SP, dec. Wes Hunt, C, 8-4; 130

— — Brandon Anders, C, dec. Stan Taylor, SP, 11-5.

— 135- Noah Cinquini, SP, pinned Jeremy McLaughlin, C, 2:54; 140- Bob Pool, C, tech fall Josh Wilder, C, 25-10; 145- Chris Mortensen, SP, dec. Cole Spilman, M, 10-8; 152- Steve Hunter, SP, pinned Levi Wisdom, C, 1:33; 160- Scott Johnson, M, dec. Charles Lendgren, SU, 11-4.

— 171- Shane Webster, C, pinned Cole Cote, SP, 1:46; 189- Brenden McLean, NV, dec. Justin Samples, C, 7-5; 215

— — Norris Bier, NM, dec. Aaron Harleman, C, 9-6; 275- Ben Tibbetts, C, pinned Victor Garcia, M, 3:42.

— THIRD-FOURTH

103- Evan Norris, SM, pinned Chris Boggs, SP, 2:00; 112- Nate Gipson, C, pinned Ben Kuntz, SU, 1:27; 119

— — Nick Cook, C, dec. Trevor Caldwell, SP, 5-4 OT; 125- Dustin Anders, C, dec. Brady Hampton, M, 15-9; 130- Jarod Enright, M, dec. Trevor Likens, S, 7-3.

— 135- Bo Hampton, M, dec. Josh King, C, 10-6; 140- Joel Britt, SU, dec. Blain Cote, SP, 7-6; 145- Ken Myers, SM, dec. Nick Dent, SP, 11-7; 152- Lee Mason, M, dec. Andrew Peterson, SA, 13-8; 160

— — Rob Swearingen, SM, pinned Bill Gilpin, M, 2:22.

— 171- Dan Geise, SU, pinned Trey McLean, NV, 1:17; 189- Ryan Shurtz, SP, pinned Marcus Heyer, M, 3:52; 215

— — Aaron Heyer, M, pinned Brandon Rankin, NV, 1:30; 275- Darrin Crouch, SU, dec. Tim Nelson, SP, 7-2.

— FIFTH-SIXTH

103- Joe Augsburger, SU, won by forfeit; 112- Jeremy Firestone, C, dec. Milo Lehrmann, NV, 12-11; 119

— — H.D. Bragg, NM, dec. Vinnie Martinez, M, 8-6; 125- Mark Williams, SM, pinned Virgil Downs, M, 2:44; 130- Josh Stratton, C, dec. Nick Ruvalcaba, SP, 11-10.

— 135- Matt McCoy, SM, dec. Jake Kightlinger, NV, 8-1; 140- Tommy Webe, M, dec. Jimmy Ulrey, NM, 5-3; 145

— — Rudy Ramirez, C, dec. Jordan Godley, C, 16-8; 152- Brandon Jones, C, dec. Adam Shurtz, SP, 10-1; 160- J.D. Monroe, C, pinned Noah Olsen, SP, 3:05.

— 171- Covey Baack, C, pinned Kevin O'Shea, SM, 1:06; 189- Jared Green, S, pinned Jacob Cole, C, 3:59; 215

— — Jesse Pittman, M, pinned Clint Kerr, C, 1:29; 275- Scott Geiszler, SA, pinned Travis Wheeler, NV, 2:31.

Reach reporter at 776-4488, or e-mail khenry@mailtribune.com

North Medford's Norris Bier (top) wraps up Crater's Aaron Harleman in the 215 pound weight class Saturday at the Crater Classic. Bier won the championship match 9-6. - Alex Szlachtianshyn