Tornado wins title with five champions
North Medford has absorbed more than its fair share of bumps, bruises and bad breaks already this wrestling season, but the Black Tornado still prides itself on an ability to compete no matter the situation.
For the first time under head coach Phillip Lopez, North Medford won the 14-team Rogue Valley Championships on Saturday behind five tournament champions and a pair of runners-up at North Medford High.
Minus the likes of defending state champion Wyatt Westfall and expected key contributors Justin Geyer and Daniel Ibarra, who have each been sidelined by injuries this season, the Black Tornado has leaned on a handful of veterans and a host of up-and-comers to keep things moving forward. Westfall (dislocated elbow) and Geyer (hernia surgery) expect to return in a few weeks but Ibarra is out for the year (knee surgery).
On Saturday, seniors Henry Cox (120 pounds), Luke Mackey (145) and Cole Hornbrook (160) led the charge with championship efforts and were joined atop the podium by freshman Tanner Ulrey (106) and junior Dominic Deitrick (132).
Sophomore Chase Mitchell was runner-up at 106 and senior Anthony Neuenschwander second at 126.
North Medford scored 296.5 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Grants Pass (258.5), Eagle Point (193.5), Phoenix (161) and Hidden Valley (81).
“It was a pretty good day for those guys,” said Lopez, who tempered his enthusiasm when it came to the midseason showing.
“I feel like we’re a young team but my expectations are always going to be high,” added Lopez. “We gave a lot away and lost some matches we should’ve won today, but it’s not like these young guys aren’t competing, they’re wrestling really hard. I’m just kind of hard to please.”
Cox (lower weights) and Hornbrook (upper weights) were named outstanding wrestlers for the tournament after each were pushed but still scored a fall in their championship matches.
Cox held a 3-1 lead in the third round of his finals matchup with Taylor Bright of Gold Beach before Cox turned Bright twice from the bottom position to earn back points and, ultimately, a pin in 5 minutes, 8 seconds.
Against Grants Pass standout Trajan Hurd, Hornbrook found himself in a 5-1 deficit before turning things around immediately in the third period to score a pin with a cradle in 4:23.
“That’s the thing, when you’re dangerous like (Cox and Hornbrook), they just don’t stop wrestling,” said Lopez. “For your senior leadership, that’s what you want, you want them all to finish the match.”
Mackey scored a pin in 54 seconds to earn his title over Phoenix’s Jessi Daniels at 145, while Ulrey beat teammate Mitchell with a 4-1 decision and Deitrick continued his progression this season with a 4-0 win over Cole Brouhard of Grants Pass.
Neuenschwander was pinned in 4:55 by Tyler Bellon of Grants Pass in the 126 final. Dane Backes (113) also won a title for the runner-up Cavemen.
Eagle Point crowned a pair of champions in Bryan O’Neil (152) and Taylor Lawler (220), with teammate Thomas Zomerdyk finishing second at 113.
Phoenix authored a solid showing as Cedar King (138) and Justin Knight (182) won championships, but the Pirates also saw Trace Vega forced to injury default his title match at 195 to Hidden Valley’s Brandon Wrezinski. Garrett Truex dropped his title match at 170 after being pinned in 5:34 by Illinois Valley’s Gene Griffen.
Cascade Christian’s Moses Jackson won the heavyweight title with a pin of Ethan Jacuinde of Grants Pass in 1:14.
TEAM SCORES: North Medford 296.5, Grants Pass 258.5, Eagle Point 193.5, Phoenix 161, Hidden Valley 81, North Bend 77, North Valley 63.5, Gold Beach 56, Cascade Christian 49, Ashland 48, Illinois Valley 33, South Umpqua 33, South Medford 25.5, Rogue River 18.
106 — Tanner Ulrey, NM, dec. Chase Mitchell, NM, 4-1; 113 — Dane Backes, GP, dec. Thomas Zomerdyk, EP, 4-2; 120 — Henry Cox, NM, pinned Taylor Bright, GB, 5:08; 126 — Tyler Bellon, GP, pinned Anthony Neuenschwander, NM, 4:55; 132 — Dominic Deitrick, NM, dec. Cole Brouhard, GP, 4-0.
138 — Cedar King, Pho, pinned Si Tceles Fry, GB, 5:06; 145 — Luke Mackey, NM, pinned Jessi Daniels, Pho, :54; 152 — Bryan O’Neil, EP, pinned Jake Roberts, NV, 1:17; 160 — Cole Hornbrook, NM, pinned Trajan Hurd, GP, 4:23.
170 — Gene Griffen, IV, pinned Garrett Truex, Pho, 5:34; 182 — Justin Knight, Pho,dec. Jordan Main, GP, 12-7; 195 — Brandon Wrezinski, HV, inj. default over Trace Vega, Pho; 220 — Taylor Lawler, EP, pinned Chase Allen, HV, 1:08; 285 — Moses Jackson, CC, pinned Ethan Jacuinde, GP, 1:14.
106 — Barrett Titus, GP, major dec. Bradey Thrash, EP, 14-0; 113 — Coltyn Ringen, NB, pinned Kolby Bautista, GP, 2:57; 120 — Paul Pruitt, Ash, pinned Anthony Taylor, NM, 1:33; 126 — Chance McMullin, EP, dec. Jaime DeLaCruz, EP, 10-6; 132 — Thomas Hamilton, NM, pinned Dalton James, EP, :27.
138 — Michael Hammond, EP, dec. Beau Blossom, NV, 2-1; 145 — Ryan Lorenz, EP, pinned Dallin England, NM, :28; 152 — Caleb Dix, NM, dec. Mark McAllister, Pho, 7-2; 160 — William Frazee, Pho, dec. Jacob Russell, GP, 16-14.
170 — Ted Sutters, GP, pinned Ryan Beck, SM, :48; 182 — Nick Hardage, NM, pinned Thomas Bates, NM, 3:53; 195 — Joseph Garcia, EP, dec. Joshua Robbins, NM, 12-5; 220 — Jordan Mazzucchi, NB, pinned Daniel Bolduc, NV, 2:21; 285 — Liam Weston, Ash, pinned Dean Nelson, RR, 1:01.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry