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Raider wrestlers set to host SOU Open

ASHLAND — The Southern Oregon University wrestling team, ranked No. 8 in the NAIA, will host the annual SOU Open today and Sunday at Bob Riehm Arena.

Preliminary rounds are scheduled to get underway at 3 p.m. Saturday and will go for approximately five hours. Action resumes at 9 a.m. Sunday with the championship rounds, and the finals will begin at about 11 a.m.

Day passes cost $10. Alumni will be admitted free of charge on Saturday.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 wrestlers will represent 10 different schools: Highline Community College (Wash.), Lassen C.C. (Calif.), North Idaho, Oregon State's reserves, Pacific University, Sierra C.C. (Calif.), Simon Fraser (B.C.), Simpson (Calif.), Southwestern Oregon C.C. and SOU.

"This'll be good for us because the whole point is to get as many matches as you can, and we have guys who need that experience right now," SOU head coach Mike Ritchey said.

The Open will provide the Raiders with their last chances to prepare for a couple of enormous tests next week: Thursday at second-ranked Montana State-Northern and Friday at No. 6 Great Falls (Mont.). SOU had tight duals with both schools last year in Ashland, winning 25-18 and 23-17.

The Raiders started their season last Saturday in impressive fashion against 13th-ranked Menlo (Calif.) with a 30-18 dual victory. They tied it in the last two contested classes of the night — top-ranked Brock Gutches (174 pounds) won by technical fall and No. 6 Jacob Abrams (184) came through with a pin — then won with a pair of forfeits.