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Comets take second in Crater Classic

CENTRAL POINT — With a host of wrestlers gathered around the mat for the final match of the day, Crater senior Brandon Hesse didn't waste his time in the spotlight at the 17th annual Crater Classic on Saturday.

The 6-foot-2, 260-pounder shrugged off an early takedown by West Linn's Mitch Gaulke to put an exclamation mark on his run through the heavyweight bracket with a pin in 5 minutes, 14 seconds — much to the delight of the hometown crowd.

"He just gassed after a little while," Hesse said of his opponent. "That was the big difference. I was happy to get the pin like that."

Hesse and Gutches proved to be the standard-bearers for the Comets as they each won individual titles to help their team finish runner-up to Roseburg for a second straight year at the Classic. The Class 6A top-ranked Indians used nine finalists and four champions to post 285 points to easily outdistance top-five finishers Crater (191), West Linn (166.5), Grants Pass (150) and Clackamas (143).

"Really I'd never say I'm wrestling for second," said Crater coach Greg Haga, "but you beat West Linn, you beat Grants Pass and Clackamas and North Salem, who both have some pretty good individuals, I felt pretty good about our performance today. There's a couple things I think we could've maybe snuck in there a little bit better but that's the way it goes."

Crater, ranked third in Class 5A, advanced four wrestlers to the championship finals but only Hesse and Gutches could seal the deal against top competition. Gutches was especially impressive at 160 pounds, being taken to the second period only once and capping his four-fall run with a pin of Roseburg's Devin Fors in 1:02.

"Brock's tough," Haga said of the senior, who was also named outstanding wrestler for the upper weights. "It's going to take somebody really good to whoop him. He's wrestled some of the best in the country and he goes out there and just does what I expect him to do."

Hesse was forced into working a little harder in his run to the title, using a 4-2 decision over Westview's Kevin Montague to advance to the semifinals, where he dispatched Aaron Stine of Grants Pass with a fall in 1:56.

Facing a body type similar to his own — which is saying something given Hesse's sturdy build — the Crater senior had his work cut out against him in Gaulke. The West Linn standout, who hadn't lost to an Oregon wrestler until Saturday, caught Hesse a little off-guard with a first-period takedown but was unable to do further damage.

Hesse scored an escape late in the first period, then added another to start the second and tie the match at 2-all. Gaulke then went to the well one time too many with a bull rush of Hesse, who calmly slipped away and moved around Gaulke for a takedown in the final 10 seconds of the second period.

Back in control in the top position, Hesse methodically pried Gaulke's arm loose in the third period and rolled him to score a tournament-ending pin.

"I was a little worried in the beginning when he took me down, but I knew he'd gas eventually," said Hesse, "especially when I got away because after that it was so much easier to snap his head down."

The efficient win also drew praise from Haga.

"I thought he wrestled a real smart match," said the coach. "The one double the kid got on him, I think he thought he was going to whizzer out of it a little bit instead of getting his hips back. But Brandon's getting tougher and tougher on top, and he gets away from people pretty good."

In other championship finals featuring Crater wrestlers, Westview's Zach Reser was able to fend off Kenny Fahndrich for a 2-1 decision at 171 and Culver's Austin Alley did likewise against Logan Brooks at 189 in a match that went back-and-forth until the final second.

The Comets also received third-place efforts from Nick Ferris (125), Jeremiah Swing (160) and Darrio Mobley (215), who was bounced to the consolation bracket after suffering a tough 7-5 overtime loss to Roseburg's Brandon Galvez in the semifinals.

"What I'm pleased about is we had a champion and a third-placer at 160 and at 215 we got third and fifth (Rickey Lokey)," said Haga. "When we're doubling up a little bit like that, that shows kinda what I've been wanting to see."

As expected, Roseburg simply was too much to handle as the two-time defending 6A champions received first-place efforts from Steven Evans (119), Jay Tovey (135), Sam Meacham (140) and Seth Thomas (145).

Nathan Piader of Grants Pass denied a fifth Roseburg title when he outlasted Dan Faas, 6-4, at 112 in one of the tournament's marquee matchups. For his efforts, Piader was named outstanding wrestler for the lower weights.

Crater Classic

TEAM SCORES — Roseburg 285, Crater 191, West Linn 166.5, Grants Pass 150, Clackamas 143, Westview 130, Lebanon 129, Culver 108, Enterprise 99.5, North Salem 93.

CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS

103 — Jake Handbury, Cul, dec. Brian Lacey, Leb, 12-6; 112 — Nathan Piader, GP, dec. Dan Faas, Ros, 6-4; 119 — Steven Evans, Ros, dec. Chayse Jackson, Ros, 8-4; 125 — Dalton Urrutia, Leb, dec. Ian Smith, NS, 6-1; 130 — Justin Eldred, GP, pin Zak Munroe, Ros, 1:53.

135 — Jay Tovey, Ros, tech. fall Mikey Riorden, WV, 21-6; 140 — Sam Meacham, Ros, dec. Dylan Fauver, GP, 7-4; 145 — Seth Thomas, Ros, dec. Spencer Kaufman, NS, 5-1; 152 — Joel Aranda, Leb, pin Austin Barany, Cul, 3:21.

160 — Brock Gutches, Cra, pin Devin Fors, Ros, 1:02; 171 — Zach Reser, WV, dec. Kenny Fahndrich, Cra, 2-1; 189 — Austin Alley, Cul, dec. Logan Brooks, Cra, 9-6; 215 — Cody Mansur, Cla, pin Brandon Galvez, Ros, 2:37; 285 — Brandon Hesse, Cra, pin Mitch Gaulke, WL, 5:14.

THIRD-FOURTH FINALS

103 — Cody Stoecker, Ros, pin Cameron Coats, Ent, 4:42; 112 — Cody Sabin, WV, dec. Skyler Prislac, Cra, 8-4; 119 — Andrew Kim, WL, dec. Mike Macuk, Cra, 5-1; 125 — Nick Ferris, Cra, pin Geoffery Suthers, Ent, 5:10 ; 130 — Sam Terry, WV, dec. Alex Littlefair, GP, 11-6.

135 — Cody Rother, Ent, pin Travis Schutzler, WL, 3:05; 140 — Logan Krellwritz, WL, pin Daniel Aranda, Leb, 1:56; 145 — William Daniels, Cul, dec. Christian Wilson, WL, 6-4; 152 — Dylan Westwag, Ros, pin Joe Guerrero, NS, 1:56.

160 — Jeremiah Swing, Cra, dec. Derek Dykeman, Cla, 8-7 OT; 171 — Josh Weaver, Ros, tech. fall Michael Paulino, Leb, 19-3; 189 — Jack Steinberg, Cla, pin Michael MacClanathan, WL, :52; 215 — Darrio Mobley, Cra, dec. Nester Alvarez, WL, 6-0; 285 — Nick Branay, Cul, dec. Aaron Stine, GP, 7-2.

FIFTH-SIXTH FINALS

103 — Ernesto Escabar, WV, pin Truman Winningham, Cra, 10-3; 112 — Braden Krellwitz, WL, pin Tyler Thorpe, Leb, 3:21; 119 — Kevyn Tibbot, NS, dec. John Hagedon, Ent, 13-8; 125 — Ryan Shean, GP, dec. Dustin Mougey, Ros, 7-5; 130 — Tony Chay, WL, dec. Tyler Henry, Leb, 10-8.

135 — Ben Harvell, Cla, dec. Taylor Becker, Cla, 3-1; 140 — Patrick Foster, Cul, pin Brandon Aye, WL, 3:07; 145 — Josh Veiret, WV, pin Danny Vasquez, GP, 5:07; 152 — Zach Baldridge, Cra, pin Daniel Stirewalt, Cul, 3:13.

160 — Nick Barthel, Ent, pin Danny Burns, GP, 2:18; 171 — Dane Berg, Cla, pin Ben Trowbridge, Ent, 2:38; 189 — Joe Hennricks, Ros, dec. Alex Keezel, WV, 11-5; 215 — Rickey Lokey, Cra, pin Johnny Konieczny, GP, 5:54; 285 — Jordan Guthrie, Ros, pin Kevin Montague, WV, 2:31.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail khenry@mailtribune.com

Crater’s Brandon Hesse, top, sets up for the pin against West Linn’s Mitch Gaulke on Saturday at Crater High. - Jamie Lusch