Four other Crook County athletes also compete at USAW Nationals in Fargo N.D.

Hayden Bates is an All-American.

The 138-pound Crook County High School wrestler finished seventh in his weight class in the Greco Roman portion of the USA Wrestling (USAW), which was held in Fargo, N.D., in late July.

“You usually have to win at least six or seven matches to get on the podium there, so he did pretty well,” said Crook County assistant wrestling coach and Oregon Cadet wrestling director Rudy Soliz.Photo Credit: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Hayden Bates works to turn an opponent from Cascade last winter. Bates, who was one of a group of five Crook County High School wrestlers who competed in Fargo, N.D., at the 2014 USAW National Tournament, placed seventh in the Cadet Greco Roman championships at 138 pounds.

Oregon took a contingent of 80 wrestlers to the tournament, including five from CCHS.

Competing in both the cadet (16 and under) and junior (17-18) divisions in both Greco Roman and freestyle wrestling, the Oregon team competed well on the national stage.

The Oregon cadet squad wound up seventh in Greco Roman (out of 46 teams) and tied for eighth in freestyle (out of 47 teams), while the juniors squad was 18th in Greco Roman (47 teams) and were tied for 15th in Freestyle (48 teams).

Although Bates was the only Crook County athlete to earn All-American status, he was not the only Oregon athlete to have success at the tournament.

The Oregon cadet squad wound up with six All-Americans in both Greco Roman and freestyle including one national champion in each style of wrestling.

Meanwhile, the Oregon junior’s team finished with four All-Americans in Greco Roman, including one national champion. The team also had two freestyle All-Americans.

What made the strong showing of the cadet team especially noteworthy is that Oregon takes just one team to nationals and they compete in both styles of wrestling while most of the states bring two teams — one for each style.

“It’s a long grind for our kids to try to do both styles,”?Soliz said. “Every single match is like a state final and it’s very wearing on you mentally. Sometimes, once you get into a different style and your body is tired and you are beat up a little bit, you start fading a little bit mentally. When that happens it’s like blood in the water and the sharks are cruising.”

As an example of how difficult it is to wrestle in both styles at the national tournament, Soliz pointed out that the Oregon cadet squad had an individual win the national title in Greco Roman (Riley Jaramillo, 152 pounds) and then go just 1-2 and get eliminated in the freestyle portion of the tournament.

Bates won his first four matches of the Greco Roman tournament either by fall or technical fall. After falling to Britton Holms, of Colorado, in the quarterfinals Bates battled back in the consolation bracket, defeating Sammy Cokeley, of Kansas, 12-0 before dropping his second match of the tournament 10-0 to Dominick Demas, of Ohio. The loss dropped Bates into the seventh place match where he defeated Billy Higgins, of Iowa, by fall.

Bates had less success in the freestyle portion of the tournament, finishing with a 2-2 record.

The other two CCHS?athletes who competed at the cadet level didn’t fare as well. Terran Libolt (120 pounds) lost his first match of Greco Roman. He then rebounded to win his next two matches before being eliminated in consolation round four.

Libolt was 0-2 in the freestyle portion of the tournament.

“It’s his first time as a freestyle and Greco Roman kid,” Soliz said. “He wrestled pretty well, but he’s kind of behind the eight ball as far as knowledge of the different styles.”

The final CCHS?wrestler to compete in the cadet tournament was Trey Shores, who also struggled at the tournament.

Wrestling at 132 pounds, Shores went 0-2 in both the Greco Roman and freestyle portions of the tournament.

“Trey hit a growth spurt and had to wrestle 132,”?Soliz said. “It’s hard for a kid's body to be able to adjust to that much more with and kids of a different strength and size.”

Shores wrestled at 120 pounds during the high school season.

Other Oregon wrestlers to earn All-American status in the tournament were Jerry Mealey (113 Greco Roman), Mitch Willett (145 freestyle), Myles Terry (160 Greco Roman), Gary Jantzer (160 freestyle), Haydn Maley (170 Greco Roman, 182 freestyle), Tyler Self (182 freestyle), Blayne Burnett (285 freestyle) and Osawaru Odighizuwa (285 Greco Roman and freestyle).

Odighizuwa was the second Oregonian to win a championship at the tournament, improving to first in freestyle after taking third in the Greco Roman tournament.

Illinois won the cadet team title with 101 points. They were followed by Minnesota (57), Wisconsin (47), Ohio (44), California (31), Iowa (29), and Oregon (28).

Illinois came out on top again in cadet freestyle with 88 points. They were followed by Pennsylvania (58), Ohio (51), California (34) and Indiana (33), Minnesota (33) and New Jersey (33).

Oregon and Missouri were tied with 25 points apiece.

Although Oregon didn’t fare as well in the junior tournament, Soliz noted that they improved from past years.

“We usually fare pretty well at the cadet level, but when it comes to juniors our state just tails off,” he said. “I’m not exactly sure why. We have plenty of kids do very well in collegiate national tournaments, but on a whole we just don’t quite measure up against the Midwest and Eastern teams in Greco Roman and freestyle.”

Trayton Libolt fared best of the two CCHS athletes who competed in the freestyle tournament.

“Trayton was eliminated in freestyle one match before he would have gotten on the podium and I believe he was in the same boat in Greco Roman,” Soliz said. “He was awfully close to being a double All-American but got beat in both those matches.”

Libolt finished with a 5-2 record in Greco Roman and was 3-2 in freestyle.

The final CCHS?athlete to compete at the tournament was Colbran Meeker. The 152-pounder finished with a 4-2 record in Greco Roman. Meeker started strong in freestyle with a technical fall in his first match. However, Meeker injured his knee in his second match and was forced to withdraw from the tournament.

Oregon All-Americans at the junior level included Cole Rohan (100 freestyle), J.T. Ayers (113 Greco Roman), Austin Lister (126 Greco Roman), Zech Bresser (132 Greco Roman), and Samuel Colbray (195 Greco Roman and freestyle). Colbray won the national title in Greco Roman, then slipped to third in the freestyle tournament.

Illinois continued their strong wrestling in the junior tournament winning the Greco Roman portion with 69 points. Minnesota took second with 51 points while Utah finished third with 38 points. Oregon earned 10 points to place 18th.

In the juniors freestyle tournament, New Jersey took first with 58 points, while Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania tied for second with 53 points.

Oregon, North Dakota, and South Dakota all tied for 15th with nine points.

Soliz added that the most exciting part of the tournament was the trip there. The team bus became unavailable at the last minute so Oregon caravanned to the tournament with 11 rental vehicles. As they approached the North Dakota border a tire came off the trailer hauling all the team’s equipment, bounced over the trailer and then down an embankment on an overpass.

“One of the wheels came completely off and sheared off the lug bolts, ruined the hub, the leaf spring and everything,” Soliz said. “It was a mess. It was quite a ways down and when they went to go get the tire they found a repair shop about a quarter of a mile down the road below. We ended up getting it fixed and headed on in to Fargo. The kids didn’t even miss a beat. They got up and performed pretty strong.”

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