Artoff, Gutches help Comets take second at Crater Classic
CENTRAL POINT — A little worn down but still more than capable, the Crater wrestling team used a late surge to pull into second place and finish as runner-up to Roseburg in the Crater Classic on Saturday.
The Comets crowned a pair of individual champions in 112-pounder Jeremy Artoff and 152-pound standout Brock Gutches, who was named outstanding wrestler for the upper weights.
Those efforts, along with a second-place run by Zach Young at 171, were impressive but simply not enough to challenge a deep and talented Roseburg squad. The Class 6A Indians won the 13-team tournament with a score of 261 points, followed by Crater (172.5), Sprague (168), Arlington, Wash. (156) and Culver (135) to round out the top five.
Grants Pass tied Clackamas for sixth place at 128.5 points.
"I thought we wrestled pretty good," said Crater coach Greg Haga. "This is our fifth weekend in a row and it's wearing us down a little bit, but I saw some spark in some kids. But Roseburg's just nails right now."
The Indians won three weight classes thanks to the efforts of Mitchell Lofstedt (119), Tyler Lander (130) and Dylan Westwang (145), and finished second in two others (Drew Van Anrooy at 103 and Tony Castro at 152).
"This is a tough tournament so it's one we're always looking forward to coming to," said Roseburg coach Steve Lander. "The first two rounds we were real good. I think we lost one match total so that gave us a pretty good jump on everybody point-wise. We also had a lot of guys in the semis and so forth."
Artoff provided a big boost for the 5A Comets, sporting a 4-0 record in his first action of the season at 112. The 17-year-old junior was coming off a 6-0 run at 119 in the Oregon Classic last weekend in Redmond.
"This week I felt that I had to come out and actually prove to everyone else that I deserve what I'm going to get," said Artoff.
He also felt he had something to prove in the championship finals against Eric Van Wagoner of Westview. The two met up in the semifinals of this same tournament last year, with Van Wagoner pulling out a 9-8 victory.
On Saturday, however, it was all Artoff as he scored an early takedown and then finally worked his way to a cradle and a pin in 1 minute, 25 seconds.
"That's actually my specialty," Artoff said of the finishing move. "I'll use an arm bar every once in a while, but I like using the cradle a lot."
Regardless of the move, Haga said he liked what he saw of Artoff at the lower weight.
"I think that's the weight for him," said the coach. "I think he just wrestles better there. He had to work out a little more and watch what he ate, but today was his reward. He did great."
The same could be said for Gutches, who was dominant even though he was wrestling up a weight. The 16-year-old junior earned a pin in all four of his matches, with two coming in under 50 seconds.
"I just went out there and wrestled as hard as I could," said Gutches, adding that he's using last weekend's loss to Bo Christianson of Corvallis as extra motivation heading into the stretch run of the season.
Castro proved no match for Gutches in the 152-pound final, with the Comet scoring an early takedown before using a single wing to turn his foe. Gutches then used his other arm to put Castro in a headlock and let gravity do the work for him on top.
"I just cinched it up and waited," said Gutches, whose final pin came in 1:22.
Young ran into a bit of a buzz saw in Cory Middleton of Clackamas at 171. Middleton built a 6-2 lead in the first period and kept the pressure on for a 15-5 major decision.
"The guy that beat Zach Young is tough ... really tough," said Haga.
The Comets also received third-place efforts from Mike Macuk and Skyler Prislac on a double forfeit at 103, Brent Espinosa at 119, Tyler Winner at 145 and Darrio Mobley at 189.
"I think we did all right," said Gutches. "I think a lot of us have worked hard this year and I think everybody pretty much did the best that we could today."
R.J. Pena of Sprague was named outstanding wrestler for the lower weights after cruising to the title at 140.
Other winners included Alex Kostenborder of Sprague (103), Miguel Baltazar of Culver (125), Spencer Kaufman of North Salem (135), Tim Love of Clackamas (160), Nick Shoesmith of Grants Pass (189), Richard Perkins of Arlington (215) and Eric Perry of Westview (285).
TEAM SCORES — 1, Roseburg, 261; 2, Crater, 172.5; 3, Sprague, 168; 4, Arlington, Wash., 156; 5, Culver, 135; 6, (tie) Grants Pass, 128.5, and Clackamas, 128.5; 8, North Salem, 99; 9, Westview, 93; 10, Lebanon, 76.5; 11, West Linn, 68; 12, Enterprise, 62; 13, Woodburn, 39.5.
103 — Alex Kostenborder, Sprague, major dec. Drew Van Anrooy, Roseburg, 13-4; 112 — Jeremy Artoff, Crater, pinned Eric Van Wagoner, Westview, 1:25; 119 — Mitchell Lofstedt, Roseburg, tech. fall Jake Nelson, Culver, 16-0; 125 — Miguel Baltazar, Culver, major dec. Justin Eldred, GP, 18-11; 130 — Tyler Lander, Roseburg, major dec. Dylan Fauver, GP, 11-3.
135 — Spencer Kaufman, North Salem, dec. Eric Stewart, GP, 6-3; 140 — R.J. Pena, Sprague, pinned Jeremy Moreno, Enterprise, 1:06; 145 — Dylan Westwang, Roseburg, pinned Bryce Whitehead, Sprague, 3:59; 152 — Brock Gutches, Crater, pinned Tony Castro, Roseburg, 1:22.
160 — Tim Love, Clackamas, dec. Chris Myers, Arlington, 11-9; 171 — Cory Middleton, Clackamas, major dec. Zach Young, Crater, 15-5; 189 — Nick Shoesmith, GP, dec. Austin Alley, Culver, 10-4; 215 — Richard Perkins, Arlington, pinned Bryan Cooper, Clackamas, 2:42; 285 — Eric Perry, Westview, pinned Mark Davis, Arlington, 1:15.
103 — Mike Macuk, Crater, and Skyler Prislac, Crater, double forfeit; 112 — Steven Evans, Roseburg, pinned Matt Callison, Clackamas, 5:42; 119 — Brent Espinosa, Crater, dec. Dalton Urrutia, Lebanon, 4-2; 125 — Seth Thomas, Roseburg, dec. Yulerik Sorenson, Sprague, 11-10; 130 — Logan Krellwitz, West Linn, pinned Jared Schehen, Culver, 4:17.
135 — Jay Tovey, Roseburg, dec. Tyson Giza, Sprague, 10-6; 140 — Sam Mecham, Roseburg, pinned Ruben Hernandez, Woodburn, 5:10; 145 — Tyler Winner, Crater, dec. Joel Aranda, Lebanon, 5-4; 152 — Spud Smith, Culver, dec. Zach Reser, Westview, 10-6.
160 — Kyle Russell, Woodburn, pinned Devan Fors, Roseburg, 2:37; 171 — Ken Kelley, Roseburg, dec. Javier Garcia, North Salem, 4-1; 189 — Darrio Mobley, Crater, major dec. Brandon Romano, Roseburg, 20-10; 215 — Forrest Lammert, Lebanon, pinned Adam Puelen, Sprague, 1:27; 285 — Brandon Galvez, Roseburg, dec. Brandon Hesse, Crater, 7-1.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail email@example.com