Crook County wins regional wrestling championship
It wasn't easy, but the Crook County Cowboys are Special District 1 Regional Wrestling champions again.
The Cowboys held a slim lead over Tillamook going into the final round of the competition, which was held in Molalla Friday and Saturday.
Going into the final 15 matches of the tournament, the Cowboys had 369.5 points, but the Cheesemakers were right behind with 362 points.
However, the Cowboys wrestled extremely well in the finals, crowning seven individual champions as they pulled away for a more than 40-point win.
"We do what we need to do," said 285-pound champion Caleb Parrott after the final round. "So, we got it done, and everyone wrestled really well that last round."
The Cowboys wound up with 412.5 points, while the Cheesemakers finished with 372. The host Molalla Indians were a distant third with 146 points. They were followed by Estacada, 144, Banks, 140, Scappoose, 135, Madras, 76, Gladstone, 74, Seaside, 23, Astoria, 18, and Corbett, 13.
The final round of competition started with a wrestle back between Tucker Shores of Crook County and Caleb Brotnov of Estacada for the fourth and final 132-pound spot in the state championships.
Shores had earned the right to wrestle Brotnov after winning the fifth and sixth place match, while Brotnov lost the third and fourth place match.
Shores, a senior, defeated Brotnov 5-1, assuring himself a spot in the state tournament.
Then, once the finals started, it was all Crook County.
First, Hunter Mode pinned teammate Steven Ware in their 106-pound match. Then, Parrott made quick work of his heavyweight match with Maxwell Merritt of Banks, winning by fall in the first round.
"There has been a lot of hard work go into it," Parrott said. "And we are not done yet. We still have some work to do."
Tillamook kept their championship chances alive when Tate Metcalfe pinned Crook County's Trevor Martin at 113 pounds.
However, the Cowboys continued to roll, and the Cheesemakers couldn't keep pace. Pacer Quire earned a 14-2 major decision at 120 pounds for the Cowboys' third individual title.
"It feels pretty good," Quire said of both the team and individual championships. "I'm glad that I could end my senior year with a win at district. To be honest, I didn't wrestle that well, but I still won. There's always room for improvement. We all wrestle super tough. We had a couple of losses, but all in all, we wrestled good."
Then, Zachary Mauras upset Maximus Tate of Molalla to win the 126-pound title. Cole Morgan then pinned Chad Werner of Tillamook at 132 pounds before Tyler Fioravanti won the 138-pound title by injury default, and Kyle Knudtson won the 170-pound championship.
"It's pretty great," Maruas said. "It's my first high school tournament that I've won, and it's finally showing that all the hard work pays off. Get ready for us at state."
Although he wasn't as excited as Mauras, Morgan was still pleased with how the tournament went.
"It was pretty cool," he said. "It's nice to get two in a row (individual championships). Now, we need to keep the ball rolling and keep winning."
Fioravanti was disappointed that he didn't have an opportunity to wrestle under the flood light at the finals but was still pleased to be going to state.
"Well, I didn't wrestle my finals match, and it would have meant more if I had a match," he said. "My first match today I was a little sloppy, but yesterday I did really good. We could have wrestled better in this tournament, but there is no excuse for being sloppy. You should always be 100 percent all the time. We'll be ready at state."
Knudtson was pleased to win his first league championship.
"Since I'm a sophomore, I don't know how to explain it," he said. "It's a heart-warming experience. I feel like there are things I can work on, but overall, I feel like I wrestled probably the best I've wrestled all season. It's good to be a Cowboy."
Tillamook won just one more individual title as Eli Mcrae outpointed Crook County's Colton Burkhardt 5-4 in one of the most exciting matches of the evening.
At one time it looked like the Cowboys might run away with the tournament.
Crook County had taken a small lead over second-place Tillamook after the first day of the tournament.
The Cowboys had 173 points to 158 for Tillamook. Going into Saturday's final rounds, Estacada was a distant second with 73 points, while Scappoose was fourth with 72.5.
With 16 wrestlers reaching the semifinals and nine more still alive in the consolation rounds, Crook County was well positioned.
Ten Cowboys won their semifinal matches, and it easily could have been more.
In one of the most controversial matches of the tournament, Jaxson Rhoden appeared to pin Estacada's Draco Yandell twice during their semifinal match.
The first time, both wrestlers were ruled out of bounds. The second time, Yandell was flat on his back in the center of the mat, however, before the fall was recognized, the match was stopped for a blood time out.
Let off his back for the blood stoppage, Yandell made the most of the opportunity, eventually earning a reversal and then pinning Rhoden.
Yandell went on to win the 182-pound weight class, while Rhoden came back to finish in third place.
Despite the controversial loss, by midday Saturday, the Cowboys had built a nearly 70-point lead and looked like they were going to run away with the tournament.
However, the Cheesemakers battled back, wrestling strong in the consolation rounds and setting up the showdown going into the championship round.
In the end, the Cowboys were once again victorious as 15 Cowboys earned trips to Portland next weekend for the state championships. Other Cowboys to make it to the state tournament included Tannon Joyner (fourth at 113 pounds), Mario Hansen (third at 220 pounds), and Cal Wilcox (fourth at 220 pounds).
Tillamook is also well positioned to make a run at the state title with 17 athletes advancing to state.
"The tournament went about like we thought it was going to go," Crook County had coach Jake Huffman said. "We thought we might be able to sneak a couple more in to state, but things didn't go our way. Ultimately, it's kind of what we expected, and I thought that our kids performed well."
Huffman was especially pleased that the Cowboys had seven individual champions as regional champions automatically earn one of the top four seeds at state.
"With 14 weights, we have half of them in the top four," he said. "It doesn't mean that we are going to place there, but it puts us in a spot in the bracket where I think we can be successful."
Huffman was also pleased with the effort that he saw from the rest of the team.
"There are parts that I didn't like and parts that I liked more, but overall I thought our kids collectively did a great job. I wasn't expecting anything else. They have done that all year."
Even with the good effort, Huffman said that there is still room for improvement heading into state.
"We have some things to fix in a couple of spots, for sure," he said. "But it's going to be a show next weekend, and we are pretty excited for it. That's really where we've got to do our best wrestling, so that's the plan. Taking 15 to state, that's pretty cool."
Other teams to watch out for at state besides Tillamook include Sweet Home with 15 wrestlers, Baker, 14, La Grande, 13, and Marshfield with 12.
The state championships start Friday morning beginning at 8:30 a.m. Wrestling continues throughout the day Friday, concluding with the championship quarterfinals late in the evening.
Wrestling resumes on Saturday at 8:30 a.m., with the championship finals scheduled to run from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Special District 1 Regional Wrestling Championships
Friday and Saturday, February 9-10 in Molalla
Team scores — 1. Crook County 412.5, 2. Tillamook, 372. 3. Molalla, 146. 4. Estacada, 144. 5. Banks, 140. 6. Scappoose, 135. 7. Madras, 76. 8. Gladstone, 74. 9. Seaside, 23. 10. Astoria, 18. 11. Corbett, 13.
106 — 1. Hunter Mode, Crook County. 2. Steven Ware, Crook County. 3. Keegan Hagerty, Tillamook. 4. A.J. DeGrande, Scappoose. 5. Dustin Asher, Molalla. 6. Landin Vittetoe, Estacada. 7-8. Trey Conner, Corbett. Juan Jimenez, Astoria.
113 — 1. Quintin Metcalfe, Tillamook. 2. Trevor Martin, Crook County. 3. Colton Frates, Scappoose. 4. Tannon Joyner, Crook County. 5. Andrew Gastelum, Seaside. 6. Daniel Garcia, Tillamook.
120 — 1. Pacer Quire, Crook County. 2. Jack Wick, Banks. 3. Luis Macias, Tillamook. 4. Peyton Healey, Scappoose. 5. Blake Johnston, Scappoose. 6. Haylee Davis, Banks. 7-8. Zander Thomas, Tillamook. Dylan Dickson, Molalla.
126 — 1. Zachary Mauras, Crook County. 2. Maximus Tate, Molalla. 3. Justice Davidson, Molalla. 4. Sam Connelly, Tillamook. 5. Jarrett Graff, Corbett. 6. Erik Boynton, Madras. 7-8. Alexander Rodriguez, Crook County. Tyler Smith, Banks.
132 — 1. Cole Morgan, Crook County. 2. Chad Werner, Tillamook. 3. Sean McColly, Tillamook. 4. Tucker Shores, Crook County. 5. Caleb Brotnov, Estacada. 6. Ashton Kauffman, Scappoose. 7-8. Austin Spiller, Scappoose. Dalton Somers, Astoria.
138 — 1. Tyler Firoavanti, Crook County. 2. Dylan Dickson, Tillamook. 3. Miquel Niemi, Tillamook. 4. Tanner Thompson, Banks. 5. Cody Hovda, Estacada. 6. Steven Hensley, Scappoose. 7-8. Gage Perry, Crook County. Riyle Kauffman, Scappoose.
145 — 1. Ryan Mount, Molalla. 2. Ben Pruitt, Molalla. 3. Antonio Chacon, Tillamook. 4. Chris Silveira, Tillamook. 5. Luke Brewer, Crook County. 6. Turner Austin, Crook County. 7-8. Kaden Settle, Estacada. Sam Garrison, Estacada.
152 — 1. Justin Drury, Estacada. 2. Austin Weeks, Tillamook. 3. Tommy Cruz, Tillamook. 4. Wyatt Perkins, Molalla. 5. Mason Cooley, Crook County. 6. Jesse Gore, Crook County. 7-8. Tyrell Reynonoso, Madras. Johnathan Dudley, Banks.
160 — 1. Eli Mcrae, Tillamook. 2. Colton Burkhardt, Crook County. 3. Caleb Werner, Tillamook. 4. Trey Hatgeman, Astoria. 5. Catalino LeClaire, Madras. 6. Emmett Smyth, Molalla. 7-8. Jeremiah Stanley, Seaside. Brady Laccino, Molalla.
170 — 1. Kyle Knudtson, Crook County. 2. Jack Eggers, Scappoose. 3. Thomas LeClaire, Madras. 4. Alex Werner, Tillamook. 5. Zeke Coon, Tillamook. 6. Garrett Bond, Crook County. 7-8. Hunter Beck, Molalla. Christopher Avery, Seaside.
182 — 1. Draco Yandell, Estacada. 2. Fabian Niemi, Tillamook. 3. Jaxson Rhoden, Crook County. 4. Zeddy Jamerson, Scappoose. 5. Tieson O Hagen, Tillamook. 6. Kody Zemke, Madras. 7-8. David Toyooka, Seaside. Colton Schlachter, Crook County.
195 — 1. James Ellis, Banks. 2. Harrison Manu, Madras. 3. Jacob Wanlass, Gladstone. 4. Brian Rieger, Tillamook. 5. Kenny Clark, Estacada. 6. Hayden Hilderbrand, Crook County. 7-8. Levi Crabtree, Tillamook. Wyatt Holliday, Crook County.
220 — 1. Brendon Dreyer, Banks. 2. Austin Heywood, Gladstone. 3. Mario Hanson, Crook County. 4. Calum Wilcox, Crook County. 5. Michael Gamble, Estacada. 6. Luke Nelson, Seaside. 7-8. Nico Winsor, Estacada. Max Meyer, Gladstone.
285 — 1. Caleb Parrott, Crook County. 2. Maxwell Merritt, Banks. 3. Stefan Smith, Gladstone. 4. Hunter Gotchall, Estacada. 5. Pancho Cisneros, Banks. 6. Jerico Archer, Scappoose. 7-8. Cutter Sandstrom, Scappoose. Michael Horton, Tillamook.