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Roseburg wraps up SOC title

Mail Tribune / Andrew Mariman

For the first time since 1977, a team other than Eagle Point or Crater wins the district crown

Mail Tribune

CENTRAL POINT - In the back of his mind, Steve Lander always knew he'd come back to Roseburg some day.

A standout wrestler for the Indians in his prep career, Lander finally made it back to his alma mater prior to this season after a 10-year run at Dallas High.

Under his guidance, the Indians showed a little more focus and a much-improved fitness level in posting one of the school's most impressive seasons in 25 years.

Roseburg led from wire-to-wire and capped its run in the Southern Oregon Conference wrestling meet with four champions Saturday at Crater High.

In the process of claiming the school's first district title since 1977, Roseburg halted Crater's streak of five straight titles and became the first team other than the Comets or Eagle Point to win since the aforementioned 1977 season.

Roseburg finished with 406 points, while Crater won all six of its championship finals to leapfrog Eagle Point for second place. The Comets scored 3781/2 points to Eagle Point's 362.

"Things worked out real well the last couple years to be able to make the move back to Roseburg," said Lander, who was also named SOC coach of the year. "It feels good to take the title home. For us to come down here to Crater and perform under the pressure is pretty special."

Adding to that feeling is how exhilarating it was for the Indians to become the best by beating the best, leaving no doubt in a conference dominated by Crater and Eagle Point.

"I got to wrestle in this league for two years and I gained a tremendous respect for Eagle Point and Crater," said Lander. "They were on top of the state and the league clear back in '86 and nothing's changed. I have a tremendous respect for those programs and their coaches and fans."

While Crater fell short in the team race, the Comets put themselves ahead of Roseburg heading into the state tournament Feb. 21-23 in Portland. Besides the six championships and two runners-up, Crater used an outstanding run in the third-fourth finals to advance five more to the state tourney for a total of 13.

"Anytime you qualify this many kids for the state tournament, especially since so many of them had to fight their way back, it's a great tournament," said 14th-year Crater coach Greg Haga. "Our kids did a great job. Sometimes you just run out of talent.

"The way I see it, if we were supposed to win it, we would have won it because we had a good tournament. Defeat's never easy to swallow but Roseburg wrestled a great tournament."

Roseburg advanced 11 to state, while Eagle Point countered with 10.

"I thought we came around and had a good day today," said third-year Eagle Point coach Brad McBee. "When you place 20 guys in the top six and 15 in the top four, you can't be disappointed. It's not like we were putting a lot of favored guys out there. We just had guys who had to battle and wrestle well, and I think for the most part we performed up to our capabilities."

The action at the district meet was so close, it led Lander to believe his team wouldn't be able to bask in Saturday's glory for too long.

"I think all three teams have numbers to do well at state," he said, "and it wouldn't surprise me at all if we were in the same boat in two weeks with the three of us battling it out. That would be awesome."

Roseburg came out strong in the morning consolation round, then faltered slightly in the third-fourth matches with five defeats. The Indians were still able to finish the meet off with championships from Brian Walker at 125 pounds, Joel Oiler at 152, Levi Thomas at 189 and Cody Parker at 215.

"Before the tournament, coach Lander told us if you don't believe now then you'll never believe that you can win it," said Wisdom, who earned his second straight district title. "I think that gave a lot of the kids on the team more confidence and a better mindset."

Even though the Indians had posted a 7-0 mark in the SOC dual-meet season, Wisdom said the team came into this weekend's tournament with something to prove.

"The duals meant nothing," he said. "It's all based on the tournament so it was all or nothing for us here. And you couldn't ask for much more at the end. With this conference, it's tough to make it (to state)."

Crater posted an equally strong morning round, advancing eight to the championship finals - including both finalists in two weight classes.

Bringing home titles for the Comets were Bryson Gutches (103), Nate Gipson (130), Jeremy McLaughlin (135), Josh King (140), Rudy Ramirez (145) and Chris Dearmon (275).

Finishing second were Kyle Marci (135) and Josh Wilder (140).

While the Comets weren't pleased with having their district streak snapped by Roseburg, there was a sense of understanding that the season didn't end Saturday.

"It's not an easy loss, especially at home, but it's a new season from now on," said Dearmon. "There's one tournament left and that's the big show. We're going to go up there and compete and show what we can do."

Also taking district titles were Justin Sheile (112), Joe Lewis (119) and Tyson Nelson (171) of Eagle Point and North Medford's Rob Folsom (160), who was the lone Black Tornado to make it to state.

Folsom credited second-year coach Kacey McNulty and his staff for mapping out the course toward his first district title.

"Every match I go out there and know exactly what I need to do to win, it's just a matter of whether I do it or not," he said, adding that hopefully his efforts paved a road for others to follow.

"This shows everyone that we've got everything we need except for kids. The school's behind us and I know coach McNulty's in it for the long haul, we just need more bodies."

All eight SOC teams will be represented at state, with South Medford's Kevin O'Shea finishing second at 171 and teammate Ben Vandagrift third at 215.

Ashland's James MacCormack advanced to the championship finals at 215 before forfeiting his match to not risk further injury to his knees. MacCormack said he expects to be fine in two weeks.

TEAM SCORES - Roseburg 406, Crater 3781/2, Eagle Point 362, South Medford 1281/2, Klamath Union 104, Grants Pass 1011/2, North Medford 361/2, Ashland 22.

CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS

103 - Bryson Gutches, C, major dec. Trevor Lofstedt, R, 15-2; 112 - Justin Sheile, EP, dec. Dean Cornelison, KU, 4-0; 119 - Joe Lewis, EP, dec. J.P. Peckham, R, 5-2; 125 - Brian Walker, R, dec. Andrew Larsen, EP, 2-0; 130 - Nate Gipson, C, major dec. Stephen Price, EP, 12-2.

135 - Jeremy McLaughlin, C, dec. Kyle Marci, C, 11-9 OT; 140 - Josh King, C, dec. Josh Wilder, C, 5-3; 145 - Rudy Ramirez, C, dec. Morgan Edenstrom, EP, 7-4; 152 - Joel Oiler, R, pinned Jason Adams, EP, 3:54.

160 - Rob Folsom, NM, dec. Nick Shaffer, R, 13-5; 171 - Tyson Nelson, EP, dec. Kevin O'Shea, SM, 9-6; 189 - Levi Thomas, R, dec. Jake Phillips, EP, 9-2; 215 - Cody Parker, R, won by injury default over James MacCormack, A; 275 - Chris Dearmon, C, dec. Justin Troxel, R, 3-1.

THIRD-FOURTH FINALS

103 - Tyler Baker, GP, dec. Chris Hotch, GP, 8-4; 112 - Jeremy Firestone, C, dec. Kevin Beavers, R, 5-4; 119 - Cody Ponder, C, dec. Matt Leonardo, EP, 8-2; 125 - Art Maldonado, R, dec. Kris Armstrong, KU, 9-8; 130 - Chase Maloney, C, dec. Tyler Spears, R, 8-6.

135 - Seth Thomas, R, dec. Jacob Leonardo, EP, 3-2; 140 - Daniel Rullamas, EP, dec. Isaac Herbert, R, 12-11; 145 - Matt Jacobson, R, tech. fall Robbie Johnston, EP, 17-1; 152 - Ron Lee, C, pinned Trevor Knight, GP, 3:21.

160 - Victor Shelton, EP, dec. Christian Mannenbach, EP, 3-1; 171 - Brian Alves, GP, dec. Josh Osborne, R, 8-4; 189 - Robert Kincaid, KU, pinned Cuauhtemoc Gomez, R, 1:22; 215 - Ben Vandagrift, SM, dec. Brandon Rauls, C, 10-4; 275 - Taylor Wilkerson, C, pinned Nick Smith, EP, 1:30.

FIFTH-SIXTH FINALS

103 - Nick Alexander, EP, pinned Andrew Hooke, EP, 1:38; 112 - Jerry DeBoer, SM, pinned John Vickoren, GP, 2:38; 119 - Ian Rasmussen, SM, dec. Brian Stallsworth, C, 10-9; 125 - Zack Steddum, GP, pinned Jason Licato, C, 3:21; 130 - Mark Haner, R, dec. Brock Olsen, EP, 9-8.

135 - Jeremy Jones, R, major dec. Shane Kell, EP, 18-8; 140 - Dan Swift, SM, tech. fall Josh Groat, KU, 18-3; 145 - Jimmy Ulrey, NM, pinned Jordan Godley, C, 1:46; 152 - Clayton Tankersley, C, dec. Austin Shoptaw, R, 4-3.

160 - Nick Jacobson, R, dec. Kyle O'Shea, SM, 11-9; 171 - Brian Mahoney, KU, dec. Alex Beale, R, 7-2; 189 - Randy Stepp, EP, pinned Jordan Fisher, SM, 3:00; 215 - Jacob Cole, C, dec. Dominic Rodriguez, KU, 5-1; 275 - David Folsom, R, pinned Joe Ramirez, SM, 2:16.

Crater's Rudy Ramirez, top, grapples with Eagle Point's Morgan Edenstrom in the 145-pound championship at the SOC district championship on Saturday. Ramirez won the match, 7-4, to claim the individual title. His victory was not enough for Crater to win its sixth straight district team title. The Comets finished second behind Roseburg.