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Raiders extend streak

It took 35 years for the Southern Oregon wrestling team to build &

The Streak&

and about two seconds for Abe Ewing to tack on year No. 36.

Smothered into the mat and facing what would have been a costly loss for the Raiders, Ewing broke free of Eddie Conner&

s grasp then flipped Conner on his back all in one lightning-quick motion. The two-point reversal gave Ewing a 4-2 lead with 10 seconds left and proved to be a triple clincher: It locked up the 197-pound match for SOU, secured the Raiders&

second dual victory over Menlo this season and clinched SOU&

s 36th consecutive winning season.

&

In the last few seconds, I originally hoped to get the escape and go into overtime, but (Conner) wasn&

t going to let go of my ankle, so I went for the reversal and the win instead,&

said Ewing, who eventually won 7-3. &

It wasn&

t the type of win I was looking for, but it worked out.&

The quick thinking highlighted SOU&

s 25-12 win over Menlo, Thursday night at McNeal Pavilion. It also allowed Raider head coach Mike Ritchey to breathe a little easier following a stressful night of ups and downs.

&

Now we can relax and enjoy the season,&

said Ritchey, in his 11th year as head coach. &

It&

s nice to get that (streak) behind us and now we can really focus on the season. &

133; We didn&

t wrestled great, but we wrestled tough and that&

s what counts.&

Ninth-ranked Menlo (9-10) won two of the first three matches and three of the first five to take a 12-6 lead, but the eighth-ranked Raiders (10-3) captured the last five bouts, including Rick Story&

s pin at 184, to win going away.

Story, a senior ranked sixth in the nation, earned two takedowns inside of 40 seconds against Jesse Vasquez before closing out the match in dominating fashion. With Ritchey imploring the crowd to make more noise, Story muscled Vasquez to the mat then overpowered him for a dominating 51-second victory.

— — SOU&

S JIMMY GROCHOWSKY manhandles Mike Wheeler — en route to a major decision.

The quick win extended the Raiders&

lead to 19-12 and set up Ewing&

s heroics.

&

I kind of changed my mindset a little bit because it&

s my last year and I have to step it up and start getting after guys,&

said Story, who improved to 22-5. &

Since I&

ve been doing that I&

ve actually have been wrestling better than ever. It&

s just expecting to win &

you just have confidence in your moves &

133; and just go out there knowing that you trained enough that you&

re going to beat that guy out there on the mat.&

SOU senior Jimmy Grochowsky lived up to his No. — ranking at 165 by earning a 16-7 major decision over the thoroughly overmatched Mike Wheeler. The Estacada High product seemed to toy with Wheeler while racking up takedowns in bunches &

he had four in the first round alone, two in the second and one in the third.

The win ran Grochowsky&

s record to a team-best 26-5 overall and 11-2 in duals.

Raider sophomore Taylor Wilkerson capped off SOU&

s big night with a 4-1 decision over Trevor Blackwelder in the 285-pound heavyweight match. Blackwelder wrestled in place of third-ranked Ben Flores.

Also for the Raiders, Trevor Lofstedt earned a 7-1 decision over Mike Rodriguez at 125 and Jimmy Ulrey won an 8-4 decision over Charles Hinricksson at 149.

The Raiders didn&

t have long to celebrate before heading out this morning for a match at San Francisco State. It marks the first of four straight SOU road tilts. The Raiders have only two more home matches &

Feb. 10 against UC Davis and Feb. 11 against Pacific.

&

We may lose some duals between now and (the NAIA Championships), but my dual record isn&

t what they put pictures on the wall for,&

Ritchey said. &

I&

m here to get the kids ready to compete at the national tournament, so that&

s what I want.&

TEAM SCORES &

Southern Oregon 25, Menlo 12.

125 &

Trevor Lofstedt, SOU, dec. Mike Rodriguez, 7-1; 133 &

Pablo Sanchez, MC, dec. Barry Johnson, 9-5; 141 &

Juan Roman, MC, pinned Nick Ripsom, 6:49; 149 &

Jimmy Ulrey, SOU, dec. Charles Hinriksson, 8-4; 157 &

Kyle Bickford, MC, dec. Jason Appleton, 6-0.

165 &

Jimmy Grochowsky, SOU, maj. dec. Mike Wheeler, 16-7; 174 &

Josh Fitzgerald, SOU, dec. John Sanchez, 7-1; 184 &

Rick Story, SOU, pinned Jesse Vasquez, 0:51; 197 &

Abe Ewing, SOU, dec. Eddie Conner, 7-3; 285 &

Taylor Wilkerson, SOU, dec. Trevor Blackwelder, 4-1.

Sports editor can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 3020 or joe.zavala@dailytidings.com.