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Beavers too much for Raiders

ASHLAND — The odds certainly weren't in Southern Oregon's favor Saturday afternoon as the Raiders entertained NCAA Division I Oregon State in a wrestling dual at McNeal Pavilion.

Still, Southern Oregon won two of the first three matches in convincing fashion and maintained an 8-7 lead through four weight classes.

But just before the faithful Raider fans could get too excited, the Beavers stepped up and put a halt to all the drama by shutting out SOU from there en route to a 29-8 triumph.

Oregon State wound up winning the final seven matches overall to improve to 3-2 on the season and earn its first road victory. The Beavers' only other road tests were last week at No. 6 Nebraska and No. 12 Wisconsin.

"It's nice to get that out of the way," said Oregon State coach Jim Zalesky.

Of Oregon State's eight wins in the 10 weight classes, five came by major decision against the occasionally overmatched Raiders, ranked No. 4 among NAIA schools.

"We wanted to come out and try to set the pace and just wrestle seven minutes hard," added Zalesky. "That's our philosophy no matter who you're wrestling."

Mitchell Lofstedt turned that philosophy against the Beavers in the first match of the day at 125 pounds, with the true freshman for SOU racing out to an 11-0 lead by the end of two periods before finally settling for a 13-5 major decision over senior Jake Gonzales.

"That was impressive," said SOU coach Mike Ritchey of Lofstedt's effort. "You'd like to be aggressive and get more bonus points there but you also want to hang on to the ones you have."

Lofstedt used a three-point near fall to help take a 5-0 lead after one period, then tacked on six more points in the second in a dominant showing. Gonzales, who entered with a 7-2 record, scratched back with a late takedown and a three-point near fall to close the gap, but Lofstedt would not be denied.

"I've wanted to wrestle that kid for a while," said Lofstedt, who was a three-time state champion at Roseburg High. "He's beaten my brother (Trevor), and when I was recruited by Oregon State they told me I was going to have to redshirt under that kid. I said I think I can beat him, so I chose to go to Southern Oregon instead."

SOU's 4-0 lead was erased in the next match when Oregon State redshirt freshman Kelly Kubec used several quick heel grabs to top fourth-ranked Trevor Lofstedt, 12-4.

Raider junior Barry Johnson, ranked No. 2 at 141 pounds, broke the 4-all tie with a dominating 15-1 major decision over OSU junior Ryan Harold, but that was the only other win SOU could muster.

Heinrich Barnes opened a 5-1 lead and outlasted SOU senior Seth Roy for a 7-4 decision at 149, and the snowball kept rolling from there for the more aggressive and physically imposing Beavers.

It didn't help matters that the Raiders were without a handful of wrestlers due to illness, including former Eagle Point High standout — and Oregon State transfer — Chris Platt and redshirt freshman Tommie Hooper of Burns.

"I thought our guys were competitive," said Ritchey. "I think the kids we wrestled and what we threw at them, we had a pretty good showing. We were a little overmatched and everything had to go right for us, but that's the way it is."

The lineup changes mainly involved the landscape in the middle of the match, most notably with true 174-pounder Shaun Ceremello having to bump up to 184 and true freshman Tyler Thomas taking his spot at 174.

Still, Ceremello fared extremely well in his matchup with OSU senior Kyle Bressler, ranked No. 9 in the nation at 184. The wrestlers battled to a stalemate in the three-minute first period before Bressler's two-point reversal provided the key to his 3-0 victory in a defensive standstill.

Overall, Ritchey said having the Beavers come to town was a win-win situation for all involved.

"This is a great test for us right now," said the SOU coach. "In some ways Oregon State taught us a few lessons that are going to help us down the road."

"It's just great to have Oregon State in the valley," added Ritchey. "Hopefully we can keep this thing going. Zalesky's a class guy to bring his team in here and let the valley watch them wrestle."

For the Beavers, it was another chance to stretch their legs as they continue a full December slate. Oregon State next faces its first Pac-10 opponent in No. 14 Boise State on Friday before hosting No. 5 Missouri in the Beavers' home opener on Sunday at Gill Coliseum.

"We've got a lot of wrestling before the break yet to go," added Zalesky. "We've just got to keep improving and keep getting better."

SOU (2-1) returns to the mat next Saturday when it plays host to San Francisco State and Oklahoma City.

TEAM SCORE — Oregon State 29, Southern Oregon 8.

125 — Mitchell Lofstedt, SOU, major dec. Jake Gonzales, 13-5; 133 — Kelly Kubec, OSU, major dec. Trevor Lofstedt, 12-4; 141 — Barry Johnson, SOU, major dec. Ryan Harold, 15-1; 149 — Heinrich Barnes, OSU, dec. Seth Roy, 7-4; 157 — Jon Brascetta, OSU, major dec. Justin Mills, 12-2.

165 — Keegan Davis, OSU, major dec. Mike Lauer, 21-8; 174 — Ben Harris, OSU, major dec. Tyler Thomas, 12-3; 184 — Kyle Bressler, OSU, dec. Shaun Ceremello, 3-0; 197 — Chad Hanke, OSU, dec. Chase Locke, 9-3; 285 — Clayton Jack, OSU, major dec. John Bates, 10-1.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail khenry@mailtribune.com

Southern Oregon’s Tyler Thomas gets held up by Oregon State’s Ben Harris in the 174-pound weight class during a match Saturday at McNeal Pavilion in Ashland. - Jamie Lusch