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Crater puts squeeze on EP

CENTRAL POINT ' The Crater wrestling machine has been a little out of sync this season, but the Comets had most of their parts oiled and revved up for their archrival on Wednesday night.

The three-time defending state champion Comets used falls from Brock Gutches (112 pounds), Andrew Vanwey (119), Cody Clark (215) and Charlie Alexander (275) to post a 35-29 victory over Eagle Point in front of a standing-room only crowd estimated at 1,900 at Crater High.

The top-ranked Comets and fourth-ranked Eagles each won seven matches. Crater's 4-2 edge in falls proved to be the difference.

They're a tough team, and we knew that going in, said Eagle Point second-year coach Kacey McNulty, whose Eagles (7-0, 2-1 SOC) suffered their first dual meet loss of the season. We needed to spring an upset somewhere along the line, and couldn't get one.

They've got five or six kids who could be in the state finals. That tells you something. They've got some ponies.

— The Eagles held a 26-17 lead following back-to-back major decisions by Chris Platt (171) and Josh Smith (189), but Crater (16-4, 2-1 SOC) countered with falls from Clark and Alexander that pulled the Comets in front, 29-26.

Eagle Point's Spenser Doran defeated Zack Kezer 6-1 in the 103-pound match that tied the score at 29-all. The only match remaining was at 112, and Comets freshman Brock Gutches, who's been wrestling since he was 3-years-old, needed just 27 seconds to pin Josh Winter and seal the deal for Crater.

I just went out there and did my thing, shrugged Gutches.

So did Alexander, the Comets' stout heavyweight who pinned Tyler Cam in a battle of two state-caliber heavyweights.

Alexander, the state's No. 1-ranked heavyweight, padded his record to 21-0 with the victory.

I had him in a single (leg takedown), trapped his shoulder and just circled to his head, Alexander said.

It feels good to beat these guys. They got us last year and so we owed 'em.

Crater has been competing all season without Tyler Weathers (130) and Collin Brooks (189), two of their top competitors, who've been out with injuries.

Brooks, a state champion in 2005, was still sidelined Wednesday while Weathers, a state runner-up, dropped a 9-3 decision to Randy Pershall.

Just having the two senior grapplers ratchet up the intensity level in practice has been a big plus, Crater coach Greg Haga said.

Brooks is a rough-and-tumble guy who sets the tone, and the other kids feed off that, Haga said. We haven't had our normal spark, but you could see it come back tonight.

Eagle Point's big production came from Robby Mannenbach, who pinned Bryon Kezer at 135, and from Jake McCoy, who stuck Chris Brown at 160.

Crater and Eagle Point head to the Oregon Classic Friday and Saturday in Redmond. The event is the unofficial dual meet state tournament, and the two schools are likely to meet in Saturday's semifinal round.

TEAM SCORE ' Crater 35, Eagle Point 29.

103 '

Spenser Doran, EP, dec. Zack Kezer, 6-1; 112 '

Brock Gutches, Cra, pinned Josh Winter, 1:33; *119 '

Andrew Vanwey, Cra, pinned David James, 1:15; 125 '

Jake Vizzini, Cra, dec. Kevin Leonardo, 8-4; 130 '

Randy Pershall, EP, dec. Tyler Weathers, 8-2.

135 '

Robby Mannenbach, EP, pinned Bryon Kezer, 1:45; 140 '

Adam Lindgren, Cra, dec. Garrett Davis, 13-2; 145 '

Ricky Fletes, EP, dec. Will Smith 8-2; 152 '

Jon Bernhardt, Cra, dec. John Platt, 13-4.

160 '

Jake McCoy, EP, pinned Chris Brown, 1:01; 171 '

Chris Platt, EP, dec. Nick Ryan, 16-5; 189 '

Josh Smith, EP, dec. Kyle Eding, 14-5; 215 '

Cody Clark, Cra, pinned Jesse DeVette, 1:25; 275

' Charlie Alexander, Cra, pinned Tyler Cam, 2:50.

*Starting weight.

Crater puts squeeze on EP"dhunt@mailtribune.com.

Crater?s Charlie Alexander takes down Eagle Point?s Tyler Cam for a pin Wednesday in Central Point. Crater won the match 35-29. Mail Tribune / Roy Musitelli - Mail Tribune Roy Musitelli