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Crater rises to Indians' challenge

Top-ranked Comets outlast Roseburg in battle of conference heavyweights

CENTRAL POINT ' Roseburg did its best to lull Crater to sleep Thursday night, but in the end the top-ranked Comets still had enough firepower to prevail in a battle of Southern Oregon Conference wrestling heavyweights.

The primarily defensive effort by the Indians made them appear as if they were stuck in reverse for most of the dual meet, but also served to bridge the talent gap as Crater was forced to settle for a 31-25 triumph in their own gym.

Their whole plan was to come in and kinda wrestle like Newberg, said Crater senior Chase Maloney. To try to take our upper weights and stall them out and keep it low scoring and then try to win it with the lighter weights.

The plan was all well and good until Crater sophomore Jake Vizzini threw a monkey wrench into the mix, rallying with a takedown in the third period to tie his 112-pound match with Aaron Suggs and take matters into overtime.

— Given an opportunity to help keep the Indians at bay with a key victory, Vizzini aggressively pursued Suggs early in overtime and tossed him for a 7-5 triumph. With the Comets already planning a forfeit to two-time state champion Trevor Lofstedt of Roseburg at 119, the Indians could have tied the match at 25-all with two weights to go had Vizzini not stepped up for Crater.

Vizzini was a big match, said Roseburg head coach Steve Lander. He beat us by a point (4-3) in Hillsboro (last weekend) so we were hoping to get that one, but we couldn't close him out.

Vizzini was one of six Comets to win individual titles as the Comets claimed the Reser's Tournament of Champions in Hillsboro, and Crater head coach Greg Haga said he had complete faith that the sophomore would come through in overtime.

When we went in overtime I felt pretty good because Jake's pretty heady and knows what he needs to do, said Haga. He did a great job at the end of attacking and putting himself in position to win. Those kind of pressure situations where you have to perform are going to help us later.

Tyler Weathers' 5-1 win at 125 helped put the match out of reach for Crater at 31-22, with Roseburg's Jake Spears capping the night with a hard-fought, 5-2 decision over Devon Mauck for the final tally.

We would've liked to get this one, said Lander, but Crater's got an awesome program.

The Comets fell behind 6-0 early in the dual until their talented upper weights took charge, with Jon Bernhardt scoring a major decision at 145, Adam Lindgren a clutch 2-1 decision over Steve Higdon at 152 and Maloney keeping his undefeated record intact with a bruising 22-7 technical fall over Garrett McGraw at 160.

He just wouldn't wrestle me and I was getting a little mad from it, Maloney said of his physical match which featured the defending state champ in knee-high, tie-dyed pink socks.

Known to march to the beat of his own drummer, Maloney has taken to the look of his personal creations but hadn't pulled out the pink until Thursday night.

I figured if I'm going to go out and look kinda ridiculous, I might as well go all the way, he said of the look, which admittedly has yet to take off but gives him a future business interest should wrestling not pan out. I've got something to fall back on now.

The Comets figured to fall back on a sweep of weights 160-275 with everyone in that range ranked either first or second in the state, but Roseburg's John Forrester had other ideas at 171 with an upset of Collin Brooks in a pin at 1:25.

Brooks led 2-1 when Forrester caught him off balance, threw the junior to the mat and scored a surprising fall.

The kid (Forrester) kinda has one move and we fell for it, said Haga. That's the way it goes sometimes.

Ron Lee (189), Cody Clark (215) and Charlie Alexander (275) picked up 13 points for the Comets over the next three matches, with a second-period pin by Alexander pushing Crater's cushion to 25-12.

Roseburg's Kerey Crinklaw scored a major decision at 103 to make it 25-16, but wins by Vizzini and Weathers halted any attempt of an upset by the Indians.

The teams have one more week to fine tune before squaring off again at the SOC district tournament next Friday and Saturday in Klamath Falls.

I still think we have a lot of work to do for district and state, said Maloney. When it comes around that time, that's when people start coming out of the woodwork so we have a ways to go. We had people lose tonight that shouldn't have lost so we still have a lot of improvement we can make.

Lander said the same goes for his team.

As a team we're not doing everything right and that's not going to beat the best team in the state, he said. We've got to change some habits if we can deserve to have a chance to win. Getting close isn't acceptable for our program.

TEAM SCORE ' Crater 31, Roseburg 25.

103

' Kerey Crinklaw, R, major dec. Zack Kezer, 13-5; 112

' Jake Vizzini, C, dec. Aaron Suggs, 7-5 OT; 119

' Trevor Lofstedt, R, won by forfeit; 125

' Tyler Weathers, C, dec. Jake Wilton, 5-1; 130

' Jake Spears, R, dec. Devon Mauck, 5-2.

*135

' Tyler Moug, R, dec. Arin Zon, 15-8; 140

' Darwin Durchanek, R, dec. Will Smith, 6-3; 145

' Jon Bernhardt, C, major dec. Dustin Bryson, 14-5; 152

' Adam Lindgren, C, dec. Steve Higdon, 2-1.

160

' Chase Maloney, C, tech. fall Garrett McGraw, 22-7; 171

' John Forrester, R, pinned Collin Brooks, 1:25; 189

' Ron Lee, C, major dec. Eli Peterson, 12-3; 215

' Cody Clark, C, dec. Jason Troxel, 5-2; 275

' Charlie Alexander, C, pinned Joe Smith, 3:38.

JV score ' Crater 34, Roseburg 34.

* ' denotes starting weight

Crater?s Ron Lee, top, gets the best of Roseburg?s Eli Peterson during their 189-pound match. Lee won, 12-3.