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Fast starts propel Raiders

ASHLAND — Second-ranked Southern Oregon won four of the first five matches and held off No. 4 Montana State-Northern with wins in the final two matchs to claim a 25-18 wrestling victory Thursday at Bob Riehm Arena.

Southern Oregon improved to 3-0 this season, while Montana State-Northern dropped to 2-3.

"Hats off to Northern, as they competed well tonight," SOU head coach Mike Ritchey said. "They were the more aggressive team, but we found a way to win. We matched their pinneds, and that was important."

Top-ranked Mitchell Lofstedt gave SOU a 4-0 lead with a 14-3 major decision over Duell Stadel in the 125-pound match to open the dual.

Prescott Garner followed with a big, 3-0 win over No. 3 Cameron Neiss at 133. It was Garner's first match since climbing to No. 1 in the national rankings. He picked up a takedown in the final 20 seconds of the third period to claim the first two points of the match and added one more at the conclusion with riding time advantage to make it 7-0 Southern Oregon.

Tenth-ranked Tanner Canaday put Montana State-Northern on the board at 141, pinning Tanner Canaday early in the second period to pull MSUN to within 7-6.

Jimmy Eggemeyer responded quickly for the Raiders, as the NAIA's No. 1 149-pounder pinned Trevor Goss in 46 seconds.

The Raiders' Dalton Urrutia, ranked eighth, earned an 8-5 victory over No. 16 Micky Cheff at 157 to make it 16-6, SOU, but No. 1 Ethan Hinebauch of the Lights pinned Derek Mestrovich in 1:43 to win at 165.

The second one-versus-three matchup of the night proved to be just as dramatic as the first as top-ranked Brock Gutches scored five quick points before No. 3 Max Payne battled back to claim a 15-12 upset of the former Crater standout at 174.

Montana-Northern took its first lead, 18-16, after the 184 match when No. 2 Koby Reed scored a late takedown for a 5-4 win. He staved off the upset bid by SOU's Jacob Abrams, who led until the final 30 seconds.

At 197, No. 6 Taylor Johnson of the Raiders ended the MSUN streak with a first-round pin, taking down No. 9 Toby Cheff in 1:21 to push SOU back ahead, 22-18.

In the heavyweight match to end the battle, SOU's Tanner Marval scored four quick points against Tucker Erickson and held off the Lights' heavyweight for a 5-3 decision.

"We were a little sluggish tonight as it's been awhile since we've wrestled and made weight," Ritchey said. "But we'll take it. It's a great win and it could've gone the other way very easily."

The Raiders will head to Reno this weekend for Sunday's Reno Tournament of Champions.

125 — Mitchell Lofstedt, SOU, maj. dec. Duell Stadel, 14-3; 133 — Prescott Garner, SOU, dec. Cameron Neiss, 3-0; 141 — Hunter Azure, MSN, pinned Tanner Canaday, 3:24; 149 — Jimmy Eggemeyer, SOU, pinned Trevor Goss, 0:46; 157 — Dalton Urrutia, SOU, dec. Micky Cheff, 8-5.

165 — Ethan Hinebauch, MSN, pinned Derek Mestrovich, 1:43; 174 — Max Payne, MSN, dec. Brock Gutches, 15-12; 184 — Koby Reed, MSN, dec. Jacob Abrams, 5-4; 197 — Taylor Johnson, SOU, pinned Toby Cheff, 1:21; 285 — Tanner Marval, SOU, dec. Tucker Erickson, 5-3.

Southern Oregon University's Mitchell Lofstedt, back, wrestles Montana State University-Northern's Duell Stadel in the 125-pound match on Thursday in Ashland. - Jamie Lusch