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Raiders place third at NWCA National Duals

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Southern Oregon wrestling team finished third at the 2012 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals Tournament after the No. 3 Raiders closed out the weekend with a 32-9 victory over No. 4 Oklahoma City Sunday at Capital Prairie Convention Center.

Southern Oregon picked up the win in the third-place bout after the Raiders narrowly dropped a 19-18 semifinal bout to second-seeded and eventual champion Grand View Sunday morning.

The third-place finish marks SOU's highest finish since the Raiders won the 2009 championship.

Southern Oregon bounced back from a close defeat in the semi-final to win eight of 10 matches in the consolation final to clinch third place. Top-ranked Mitchell Lofstedt pinned No. 4 Kidd Gomez in 2:58 to win the 125-pound weight class. Miguel Baltazar decisioned Matt Kennedy 11-5 to take the 133 and No. 3 Kyle Wirkuty pinned Gage Harrison in 6:58 to win the 141.

The Raiders took an 18-0 lead following No. 4 Jimmy Eggemeyer's 9-4 decision over Hunter Muskratt before Oklahoma City won the next two matches to make it 18-9. Ninth-ranked Brock Gutches picked up a 3-1 upset win over No. 3 Derek Peperas in the 174 and No. 2 Austin Vanderford defeated No. 5 Andrew Pontikes by 16-1 technical fall to make it 26-9 SOU going into the final two matches.

Derek Rottenberg and No. 12 Bubba Owens finished out the bout for SOU with a pair of victories by decision in the 197 and 285.

Southern Oregon's hopes for the 2012 duals championship came to an end with a narrow defeat to eventual national champion Grand View. Lofstedt opened the bout with a strong showing for the Raiders, pinning Grand View's Alex Peitz in 4:44 to win the 125-pound weight class.

Grand View took the next three matches to take a 10-6 lead before Hooper pinned No. 11 Chad Lowman in 1:04 to win the 157 and put SOU back on top 12-10. Grand View's second-ranked Brad Lower decisioned Mestrovich in the 165 to push the score to 13-12, but SOU picked up a pair of decisions as Gutches upset No. 2 Ty Knowler in the 174 and Rottenberg picked up a win in the 184.

The Raiders held an 18-13 lead going into the final two matches, but No. 4 Derek Nightser decisioned Vanderford 9-7 to take the 197, and No. 2 Eric Thompson clinched the bout victory for Grand View with a 6-1 decision over Owns in the 285.

The Raiders return to action Jan. 14, when they host Pacific in a dual at 7 p.m. at Bob Riehm Arena.