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For North, youth is served

Littered with freshmen and sophomores in its lineup, the Black Tornado downs rival South Medford, 38-31

With a half-dozen freshmen and a couple of sophomores in its starting lineup, the North Medford High wrestling team is among the youngest in the state.

But don't be fooled.

The baby-faced Black Tornado is rapidly becoming the real deal.

Freshmen Josh Smith, Chris Platt and Ryan Folsom notched three straight victories in the middle weights Thursday night as the Tornado erased an early 10-0 deficit and went on to a 38-31 dual-meet victory over crosstown rival South Medford in the North gym.

The win boosted the Black Tornado to 2-1 in the Southern Oregon Conference, while the Panthers fell to 1-2.

Our ninth-grade class is the best in the state, North Medford coach Kacey McNulty said. They took second at the junior high state meet last year, but we've had a couple new (ninth-grade) kids move in that have made that class even tougher.

The young guys have taken some lumps in the early going, but they're a real competitive group, and now they're gaining their confidence.

The match began at 125 pounds, and it was the visiting Panthers who got the early jump. Seth Hernandez registered a 13-5 victory over Jon Penny, and then Travis Harvey pinned Henry Olsen ' another Tornado freshmen ' at 130 with 36 seconds remaining in the second round.

That gave South Medford a quick 10-0 lead, but it didn't last. Smith got North Medford on the board with an impressive 8-2 victory over Evan Norris, Platt recorded a third-round fall over Sean Enloe and Folsom followed with a 5-2 upset victory over South sophomore Dan Swift.

Swift placed fifth at district last season and won a tournament in Camas, Wash., last weekend, but Folsom showed no fear. He earned a takedown with one second left in the first period, a penalty point in the second and a reversal in the third to post the win.

Folsom credited North Medford assistant coach Brandon Keosky with preparing him for Thursday's tussle.

He worked with me for 30 or 40 minutes after practice the last three days, said Folsom, who admittedly wrestled poorly at the South Coast Classic last weekend. He taught me to shoot, re-shoot and then re-shoot again.

He told me I was a mental midget after the Coast Classic, and then he pounded on me all week in practice.

Tonight, I was ready to go.

Said Keosky: Ryan has all the skills to be a great wrestler, but like most freshmen, he came to this level a little starry-eyed. He just needed to break out of that.

Senior Jimmy Ulrey and junior Rob Folsom ' Ryan's older brother ' kept the momentum in North's favor with falls over Mike Parsley and Jon Lang, respectively.

The five consecutive victories boosted the Tornado from a 10-0 deficit into a 24-10 lead.

South Medford's Kyle O'Shea stopped the bleeding with an 8-5 win over Justin Stancliffe at 171, and Thom Whiteaker drew the Panthers within 24-19 when he pinned Tim Endicott, another of the Tornado's fine freshmen.

But Keith Hall (215) , Jon Ulrey (103) and Sylvan Ulrey (119) notched victories down the stretch to push North Medford over the top, negating Joe Ramirez's fall at 275 and a South Medford forfeit victory at 112.

We're a little sick in a couple places but no excuses ' they just beat us, South Medford coach Ken Thompson said.

103 '

Jon Ulrey, NM, won by tech. fall over Juan Aguilar, 15-2; 112 '

Jerry DeBoer, SM, won by forfeit; 119 '

Sylvan Ulrey, NM, pinned Chris Helman, 3:28; *125 '

Seth Hernandez, SM, d. Jon Penny, 13-5; 130 '

Travis Harvey, SM, pinned Henry Olsen, 3:24.

135 '

Josh Smith, NM, d. Evan Norris, 8-2; 140 '

Chris Platt, NM, pinned Sean Enloe, 5:16; 145 '

Ryan Folsom, NM, d. Dan Swift, 5-2; 152 '

Jimmy Ulrey, NM, pinned Mike Parsley, SM, 5:07; 160 '

Rob Folsom, NM, pinned Jon Lang, 4:44.

171 '

Kyle O'Shea, SM, d. Justin Stancliffe, 8-5; 189 '

Thom Whiteaker, SM, pinned Tim Endicott, 4:43; 215 '

Keith Hall, NM, d. Nick Griffin, 13-8; 275 '

Joe Ramirez, SM, pinned Brandon Weston.

* ' starting weight

North Medford?s Ryan Folsom, bottom, locks up with South Medford?s Dan Swift during their 145-pound match Thursday. Folsom won, 5-2. Photo by Monica M. Arman