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Gutches, Johnson lead Raiders to eighth at Reno TOC

RENO, Nev. — Brock Gutches claimed third place and Taylor Johnson took fourth to highlight the Southern Oregon University wrestling team’s successful showing Sunday at the Reno Tournament of Champions.

The second-ranked Raiders placed eighth as a team, their second-ever finish in the top-10 at the TOC. They were 15th last year.

Gutches rode two pins and a decision into the 174-pound semifinals, where he was defeated 13-3 by Andrew McCulley of Wyoming, which won the team title. Gutches pinned Colorado Mesa’s Randy Boerner in the consolation semifinals and won a 7-4 decision over Oklahoma State’s Jordan Rogers in the third-place showdown.

Colorado Mesa would ultimately finish just behind SOU in the team standings.

Johnson, a 197-pounder, reached the quarterfinals with wins by decision against Boise State’s Colton Grossaint and Oklahoma’s Andrew Dixon. He fell 13-7 to Oregon State’s Cody Crawford in the quarters before pulling off three consecutive consolation wins — pinning Oklahoma State’s Austin Schafer, taking a 5-2 decision against Montana State-Northern’s Garrett DeMers (whom he also defeated on Thursday) and winning 4-2 against CSU Bakersfield’s Matt Williams. Bakersfield’s Reuben Franklin defeated him for third place, 11-6.

Tyler Cowger also reached the quarterfinals at 149. Three straight decisions, the last against Jonce Blaylock of Oklahoma State, got him there. Oregon State’s Jordan Hendrickson got Cowger in the quarterfinals, 10-6, and Wyoming’s Jake Elliott knocked him out 5-2 in the consolation bracket.

Devin Poppen contributed three wins at 133 pounds with two consolation pins and a decision. Dalton Urrutia won three times at 157 by fall, major decision and decision, and Clayton Burtis went 3-2 with a pin in the heavyweight division.

Nine of 10 Raiders in action brought home at least one win.

The Raiders, who improved to 5-1 in dual action with three straight wins earlier in the week, will be back on the mats next Saturday and Sunday at the Midlands Championships.