Crater claims title
Comets claim four individual championships en route to SOC crown
KLAMATH FALLS ' A state championship may pale in comparison to a district championship, but don't tell the Crater High wrestling team that the latter doesn't matter.
The Comets, who lost the Southern Oregon Conference district title to Roseburg last season, then seized the Class 4A state crown two weeks later, reclaimed SOC bragging rights Saturday at Klamath Union High.
With Chase Maloney (160), Ron Lee (171), Cody Clark (215) and Charlie Alexander (275) claiming individual titles, the top-ranked Comets soared to their sixth district title in the past eight years.
The Comets finished with 408 points as they qualified 14 competitors to the Class 4A state tournament Feb. 17-19 in Salem. Roseburg finished a distant second with 315.5 points, followed by Grants Pass (251), South Medford (206.5), Eagle Point (182.5), North Medford (138.5) and Klamath Union (62).
— The top three finishers in each weight class advance to state.
This district is the toughest in the state and winning it is a big deal to us, said Maloney, who ran his season record to 35-0 with a 9-4 victory over North Medford's Ryan Folsom in the 160-pound final. It's like a mini state tournament here. You earn everything you get.
Crater had the title wrapped up before the championship finals were contested, thanks to a productive first day and solid performances earlier Saturday.
What pleased Crater head coach Greg Haga as much as anything was the way his second-line grapplers fared. Five of them ' Zach Kezer (103), Andrew Van Wey (112), Devon Mauck (130), Jon Bernhardt (145) and Mike Moberly (160) ' fought to third-place showings to punch their tickets to state.
We had some young kids step up, Haga said.
None stepped up bigger than Van Wey, a junior who earned a state tourney berth in a weight division ' 112 ' deemed the toughest in the SOC. Van Wey, who pinned eighth-ranked Aaron Suggs of Roseburg on Friday and lost 8-2 to top-ranked Tyler Baker of Grants Pass in Saturday morning's semifinal round, had to beat 17th-ranked Sirgeo Jefferson of Klamath Union to qualify for the big dance.
Van Wey trailed 2-1 late in the match, but registered a takedown with 24 seconds remaining and then withstood a controversial stalling call to secure a 3-2 win.
I'll be heading to Reno in a couple weeks to get a tattoo, Van Wey declared with a grin. My mom promised me if I made it to state, she'd pay for the trip and the tattoo.
For those taking inventory, Van Wey's impending body art will be a cross on his right shoulder.
Lee, a defending state champion along with Maloney, cruised to a 21-5 technical fall victory over teammate Chris Robertson in the 189-pound final. At 215, Clark pinned teammate Kyle Eding, while Alexander posted a hard-earned 6-4 win over North Medford's Tim Endecott in the 275-pound final.
The premier matchup in the championship finals came at 171, where top-ranked Chris Platt of North Medford turned a precarious 2-1, third-period lead into a last-second fall over second-ranked Collin Brooks of Crater.
I was doing all I could to keep him down in the third period, said Platt, who beat Brooks for the third time in four matchups to run his record to 37-2. Then we got in a scramble and I caught him with a whizzer.
He's a tough guy to wrestle, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him again (at state).
The only champions Roseburg crowned were 119-pound Trevor Lofstedt, who pulled out a 3-2 win over Crater's Tyler Weathers, and 130-pound Jake Spears, who had to work diligently for a 6-4 victory over Grants Pass' Richard Alves.
The Indians also got a runner-up finish from 103-pound Kerey Crinklaw, who was pinned by South Medford's Juan Aguilar in the finals.
Roseburg salvaged what could have been a bad tournament when five of its warriors won their third-place matches, bumping the Indians' state-meet contingent to eight.
Crater's a really tough team to beat, but I love having them in our league because they set the bar so high, Roseburg coach Steve Lander said. We'll get our eight guys ready to go and see what we can do up north.
Jake McCoy emerged as Eagle Point's lone champion. The talented senior churned to a 9-2 victory over Grants Pass' Chris Hotch in notching his third straight district title.
Randy Pershall, the Eagles' other finalist, dropped a 9-7 decision to Grants Pass' Tyler Stewart.
SOC District Wrestling
TEAM SCORES ' Crater 408, Roseburg 315.5, Grants Pass 251, South Medford 206.5, Eagle Point 182.5, North Medford, 138.5, Klamath Union 62.
' Juan Aguilar, SM, pinned Kerey Crinklaw, Ros, 1:57; 112
' Tyler Baker, GP, dec. Jake Vizzini, Cra, 8-3; 119
' Trevor Lofstedt, Ros, dec. Tyler Weathers, Cra, 3-2; 125
' Tyler Stewart, GP, dec. Randy Pershall, EP, 9-7; 130
' Jake Spears, Ros, dec. Richard Alves, GP, 6-4.
' Seth Hernandez, SM, dec. Chris Helman, SM, 9-8 (2OT); 140
' Eric Sedivey, GP, pinned Travis Harvey, SM, 3:11; 145
' Jake McCoy, EP, dec. Chris Hotch, GP, 9-2; 152
' Josh Smith, NM, dec. Dan Swift, SM, 8-3; 160
' Chase Maloney, Cra, dec. Ryan Folsom, NM, 9-4.
' Chris Platt, NM, pinned Collin Brooks, Cra, 5:51; 189
' Ron Lee, Cra, tech fall over Chris Robertson, Cra, 21-6; 215
' Cody Clark, Cra, pinned Kyle Eding, Cra, 1:47; 275 '
Charlie Alexander, Cra, dec. Tim Endecott, NM, 6-4.
' Zack Kezer, C, major dec. Mitchell Lofstedt, R, 16-7; 112
' Andrew Van Wey, C, dec. Sirgeo Jefferson, KU, 3-2; 119
' Ben Sharp, R, dec. Kevin Leonardo, EP, 7-6; 125 '
Jake Wilton, R, dec. Bryon Kezer, C, 10-6; 130
' Devon Mauck, C, pinned Colton Major, NM, 1:29.
' Nick Hamilton, EP, dec. Arin Zon, C, 6-0; 140
' Ricky Fletes, EP, pinned Darwin Durchanek, R, 5:31; 145
' Jon Bernhardt, C, dec. Dustin Bryson, R, 6-1; 152
' Tanner Marval, GP, major dec. Steve Higdon, 10-0.
' Mike Moberly, C, dec. Kenny Licea, SM, 9-2; 171
' John Forrester, R, dec. Mike Gilinsky, C, 9-7; 189
' Eli Peterson, R, dec. Jon Lang, SM, 5-0; 215
' Joe Smith, R, pinned Tyler Dungey, GP, 3:52; 275
' Tyler Cam, EP, pinned Albert Wessels, GP, 3:03.
' Cody Knudson, SM, major dec. Mike Cowell, GP, 8-0; 112
' Dennis Clifford, EP, pinned Aaron Suggs, R, 4:30; 119
' Jerry DeBoer, SM, major dec. Brady Holland, EP, 11-2; 125
' Ace Snyder, SM, injury default over Colin Hanlin, GP; 130
' Luke Matthews, R, injury default over Zack Holcomb, C.
' Tyler Moug, R, injury default over Richardson, R; 140
' Chris Sandoe, KU, dec. Will Smith, C, 9-6; 145
' Brad Meredith, GP, injury default over Jesse Warren, C; 152 '
Adam Lindgren, C, injury default over Brandon Price, EP.
' Garrett McGraw, R, major dec. Kelsey Dobner, GP, 13-0; 171
' Dennis Orvis, EP, pinned Aaron Berger, KU, :52; 189
' Justin Stancliff, NM, dec. Travis Shrum, R, 7-1; 215 '
Jason Troxel, R, major dec. Brian Henrichs, SM, 15-4; 275
' Nick Grabowski, C, pinned Steve Gaither, KU, 3:05.
Reach reporter Don Hunt at 776-4469, or e-mail