Japanese all-star team to compete against Central Oregon team

Today will be the first opportunity of the season to see Crook County High School varsity wrestlers compete in a home meet.

However, wrestling fans will have to wait a little longer to see the full CCHS varsity team. Tonight’s wrestling is a cultural exchange match between a group of Central Oregon all-stars and a national team from Japan.

“We are trying to unify and bring together the entire wrestling community,” said Chuck Holliday, one of the event organizers. “One of the problems that wrestling has is that it is sometimes so intense that it doesn’t develop that camaraderie or sense of community.”

Oregon wrestlers have been competing against international competition since their first cultural exchange team wrestled Japan in 1963. Several members of that 1963 team went on to become either national champions and/or Olympic wrestlers putting Oregon on the international wrestling scene for the first time.

“I think the cultural exchange is going to be a great experience for a lot of those guys,” said Crook County Wrestling Coach Jake Huffman. “If for nothing else than to learn about a different culture and hopefully build some relationships with kids they don’t know. Anytime you can get to know people from halfway around the world through the sport of wrestling, I think that’s great.”

Huffman added that he believes that the competition will be strong.

“The Japanese team is a team that had to undergo a tryout process to get here, so they are some of Japan’s finest,” he said. “And we’ve got all kinds of kids in there that can scrap, so it should be great. It will be some of the most unique wrestling in town all year too.”

Since then, Oregon high school wrestlers have competed in 58 international cultural exchange matches.

The match is part of a whirlwind tour of Oregon by the Japanese team, which opens its week Monday night with a match at Barlow High School in Gresham. Tuesday, the team is in Prineville. They wind up their tour Thursday night with a match at Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis.

Ten Crook County wrestlers along with three wrestlers from Redmond, two from Madras, and one each from Culver, Bend, and Burns are listed on the 18-man Oregon roster for Tuesday’s match. Due to Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) rules, the competition will be entirely freestyle matches.

Tuesday’s match is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Cost for the event is $6 for adults and $4 for students. Mat club members will be admitted free of charge if they are wearing their mat club t-shirt. All proceeds from the event go to the Oregon College Wrestling Start-up Fund.

The Oregon College Wrestling Start-up Fund is dedicated to restoring college wrestling to Oregon Universities. For example, in the fall of 2014 Warner Pacific College will start a new wrestling program. USA Wrestling has pledged to supply the fledgling program with $5,000 and a mat for their start-up. The goal of the Oregon College Wrestling Start-up Fund is to raise enough additional money to purchase a second match for the university.

In the 1970s, 25 Oregon colleges and universities competed in wrestling. That number has since dropped to just five schools. The goal of the Oregon College Wrestling Start-up Fund is to see the same level of opportunity for current Oregon high school wrestlers to compete in college as were able to during the sports high point in the 70s.

For more information about the college wrestling program, go to HYPERLINK ""

Lineup’s for Tuesday’s match

Oregon team

110 (50kg) – Trayton Libolt, CC / Ian Oplander, Madras

121 (55kg) – Kurt Mode, CC / Austin Rysteat, Redmond

132 (60 kg) – Grayson Munn, CC / Mitch Willet, Redmond / Samuel Flores, Madras

145 (66kg) – Tyler Berger, CC / Colbran Meeker, CC / Clay McClure, Culver

163 (74kg) – Brendan Harkey, CC / Clark Woodward, CC

185 (84kg) – Seth Nunnemaker, Burns

211 (96kg) – Michael Hageman, Bend / Trevor Rasmussen, CC / Gunnar Robirts, CC

285 (120kg) – Jason Williams, CC

Japanese team

(50kg) – Ryuki Amano

(55kg) – Kazuya Koyanagi /Raimu Maeda / Hiroki Watanabe

(60kg) – Yushi Sakamoto / Takashi Arinobu / Takahiro Mitsunaga

(66kg) – Kirin Kinoshita

(74kg) – Mao Okui / Shota Shirai / Koji Takeda

(96kg) – Ryoma Kubo / Kenta Miyauchi

(120kg) – Yukihito Yamada

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