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Crater reclaims its spot as best in SOC

EAGLE POINT ' It didn't take the Crater High wrestling team long to re-establish its dominance at the Southern Oregon Conference district meet.

One year after relinquishing the district title to upstart Roseburg, the Comets regained control Saturday night in a jam-packed Eagle Point High School gym.

Crater crowned five champions, registered three runner-up finishes and qualified 12 wrestlers to the Class 4A state meet in a dominating performance that made coach Greg Haga proud.

In winning its 11th district championship in the past 14 years, and sixth in seven years, Crater amassed 389.5 points. The defending champion Indians were second with 342, followed by Eagle Point (281.5), Grants Pass (182.5), North Medford (123), South Medford (111.5), Klamath Union (87) and Ashland (7).

The Comets trailed the Indians by 25.5 points after Friday's action, but the Central Point bunch ruled the mats Saturday. They won eight of 13 semifinal bouts Saturday morning and continued their surge into the consolation rounds.

We took 25 kids to this tournament and 22 of them placed, Haga said. Our second varsity (junior varsity) wasn't that good at the start of the season, but those kids came on strong the last month or so.

When you place at district you win a varsity wrestling letter, and that's a pretty big deal at our school.

Bryson Gutches (119), Nate Gipson (130), Chase Maloney (135), Jeremy McLaughlin (140) and Clayton Tankersly (145) all won individual titles for the Comets, who will shoot for their fourth state title in the past six years Feb. 20-22 at Portland's Memorial Coliseum.

The Comets nearly nabbed another title in the 275-pound match when Taylor Wilkerson led top-ranked Justin Troxel of Roseburg 1-0 in the final seconds, only to give up an escape that forced overtime.

Troxel then muscled his way to a takedown in the opening seconds of the extra session to post a 3-1 victory.

I knew time was short and I had to get away (to tie the match), said Troxel, who beat Wilkerson for the third time this season. In the overtime he tried to go for an over-under body lock, but I slipped it and got him with a double under lock.

Gutches pinned Roseburg's Kevin Beavers, Gipson pinned Grants Pass' Eric Sedivy and McLaughlin slammed Roseburg's Isaac Hebert to put exclamation points on Crater's day.

Maloney also wrestled impressively in the finals with a 5-0 victory over Eagle Point's Andrew Larsen. The sophomore is one of Crater's most improved wrestlers since last season.

I wrestled constantly last summer to get better, said Maloney, who boosted his season record to 30-3 with the win over Larsen. I would come down to the school and one of my coaches (Haga, Nathan Winner or Danny Walters) would always be there to wrestle me.

I was too aggressive last year and it cost me some matches, Maloney added. This year I'm still able to keep my momentum going, but I'm thinking more and not making stupid mistakes.

The Comets won four of five third-place matches that boosted their state tournament qualifiers from eight to 12. The big surprise came at 171 pounds, where freshman Cody Clark stunned Roseburg's Josh Osborne, 6-4, in overtime.

The fifth-ranked Osborne dropped another OT heartbreaker in the semifinals, 7-5 to Eagle Point's Tyson Nelson, and was deprived of a trip to state.

I just went out there and wrestled hard, shrugged Clark, who pinned Roseburg's Moses Perez the previous day. I just tried to go hard and get after it.

Clark was aggressive in the overtime, scoring a single-leg takedown without hesitation.

I just decided to make the first move, he said. I wasn't going to stand back and let him do it.

Along with Troxel, Roseburg's only other champion came at 103 pounds, where Trevor Lofstedt pinned Grants Pass' Tyler Baker.

Eagle Point sophomore Jake McCoy had an impressive tournament and finished it off with a fall over Grants Pass' Tyler Baker at 112 pounds. The Eagles' other champion was Nelson, who cruised to an 8-2 victory over teammate Kevin Miers at 171 and will now gun for a state championship for the second straight year.

North Medford also crowned a pair of district champs ' Jimmy Ulrey at 152 pounds and Rob Folsom at 160.

Ulrey, a senior who had never placed higher than fourth at district, posted a 5-4 victory over Crater's Ron Lee in the finals.

I've been waiting four years for this, a jubilant Ulrey said after beating Lee for the third time this season. My work ethic went up by 100 percent this season and it paid off tonight.

The second-ranked Folsom, meanwhile, churned out a 5-1 win over Eagle Point's Christian Mannenbach.

SOC District Wrestling

Saturday's Results

TEAM SCORES

' Crater 389.5, Roseburg 342, Eagle Point 281.5, Grants Pass 182.5, North Medford 123, South Medford 111.5, Klamath Union 87, Ashland 7.

Championship Finals

103

' Trevor Lofstedt, Ros, pinned Tyler Baker, GP, 3:48; 112

' Jake McCoy, EP, dec. Chris Hotch, GP, 8-2; 119

' Bryson Gutches, Cra, pinned Kevin Beavers, Ros, 1:14; 125

' Zach Steddum, GP, dec. Nick Alexander, EP, 5-0; 130

' Nate Gipson, Cra, pinned Eric Sedivy, GP, 3:09.

135

' Chase Maloney, Cra, dec. Andrew Larsen, EP, 5-0; 140

' Jeremy McLaughlin, Cra, pinned Isaac Hebert, Ros, 5:42; 145

' Clayton Tankersly, Cra, major dec. Chris Platt, NM, 10-1; 152

' Jimmy Ulrey, NM, dec. Ron Lee, Cra, 5-4.

160

' Rob Folsom, NM, dec. Christian Mannenbach, EP, 5-1; 171

' Tyson Nelson, EP, dec. Kevin Miers, EP, 8-2; 189

' Robert Kincaid, KU, dec. Brian Alves, GP, 3-2; 215

' Andrew Ditty, GP, dec. Brandon Rauls, Cra, 7-1; 275

' Justin Troxel, Ros, dec. Taylor Wilkerson, Cra, 3-1 OT.

Third-Fourth Finals

103

' Tyler Weathers, Cra, dec. Chris Doran, EP, 4-3; 112

' Jeremy Firestone, Cra, dec. Bryon Kezer, Cra, 16-9; 119

' J.P. Sheile, EP, pinned Mike Cortez, SM, 3:12; 125

' Jake Spears, Ros, dec. John Bernhardt, Cra, 6-2; 130

' Josh Stratton, Cra, pinned Matthew Leonardo, EP, 3:48.

135

' Josh Smith, NM, dec. Tyler Spears, Ros, 7-3; 140

' Stephen Price, EP, pinned Alex Gilmore, SM, :11; 145

' Matt Jacobson, Ros, major dec. Dan Swift, SM, 15-6; 152

' Seth Thomas, Ros, pinned Robbie Johnston, EP, 1:42.

160

' Austin Shoptaw, Ros, pinned Nick Shaffer, Ros, 4:44; 171

' Cody Clark, Cra, dec. Josh Osborne, Ros, 6-4 OT; 189

' Nick Trowbridge, Ros, dec. Alex Beale, Ros, 5-1; 215

' Nick Smith, EP, dec. Jacob Cole, Cra, 5-4; 275

' David Folsom, Ros, dec. Tyler Cam, EP, 8-1.

Fifth-Sixth Finals

103

' Joe Brandsness, KU, dec. Jon Ulrey, NM, 6-3; 112

' Richard Alves, GP, dec. Andrew Hooke, EP, 5-5 2OT; 119

' Chris Hellman, SM, pinned Tyler Stewart, GP, 2:46; 125

' Jon Penney, NM, dec. Sylvan Ulrey, NM, 8-6; 130

' Shane Kell, EP, dec. Mark Haner, Ros, 4-2.

135

' Adam Lingren, Cra, dec. Art Maldonado, Ros, 7-6; 140

' Mike Moberly, Cra, major dec. Mitchell Nelson, Ros, 11-0; 145

' Jordan Godley, Cra, pinned Josh Groat, KU, 1:39; 152

' Jon Lang, SM, dec. Colby Callahan, Cra, 4-3.

160

' Collin Brooks, Cra, dec. Kyle O'Shea, SM, 6-4; 171

' Moses Perez, Ros, pinned Zane Yarnell, Cra, :49; 189

' Mike Gilinsky, Cra, dec. Jason Green, KU, 6-0; 215

' Denver Lancaster, KU, dec. Matt Engstrom, Ros, 6-5; 275

' Joe Ramirez, SM, dec. Ryan Sapp, GP, 3-2.

Reach reporter Don Hunt at 776-4469, or e-mail