Five Crook County wrestlers earn All-American honors
The Cowboy Mat Club took a large contingent of wrestlers to the Flo Reno World Wrestling Championships, which were held this past weekend at the Reno, Nevada, Livestock and Convention Center. They returned to Prineville with a lot of hardware.
Five members of the mat club earned All-American honors at the tournament, which features many of the top wrestlers in the country.
"Overall, it was good," said Crook County High School wrestling coach Jake Gonzalez. "A lot of fighting and battling in positions, and we ended up with five placers, so it was a good deal."
Placing highest for the mat club was Hunter Mode.
Mode, who won the Class 4A state championship at 106 pounds this past season, competed in the 18U 113-pound weight class, despite still being eligible to compete in the 15U division.
The strategy worked as Mode finished second in the division.
Mode pinned Miguel Espinoza of the El Paso Sun Devil's Wrestling Club in the round of 16, edged Brandon Esperto of Southwest Washington Wrestling Club in the quarterfinals, then defeated Nickolas Foster of the Spanish Springs Wrestling Club in the semifinals before falling to Gabe Vidlak of Cascade Christian High School 9-1 in the division championships.
Wrestling in the 10U 80-pound weight class, Landon Lavey went 5-1 en route to a third-place finish. Lavey pinned Cody Soares of Oakdale, California, and Mathias Hogue of Helena, Montana, then edged John Knight of Bridgeport, West Virginia, 5-4 in the quarterfinals. Lavey's lone loss of the tournament came in the semis, where he lost 4-3 to Mario Carini of San Diego, California, who was wrestling for the Poway Elite Club.
Lavey then came back through the consolation rounds to finish in third place, pinning Curtis Glossip of Rare Breed Academy then edging Adriano Perez Covington of Takedown Express Wrestling Club 2-1 in the third-place match.
Kyle Knudtson also finished in third place at the tournament. Knudtson, who was the Class 4A runner-up at 160 pounds at this year's state wrestling tournament, went 8-1 at the tournament, pinning seven of the nine opponents that he faced.
Knudtson pinned Jaedon Hall of FordDynasty Wrestling, and Ryan Hesz of Healdsburg Wrestling Club before falling by a 10-8 decision to Rudy Garcia of Team Selma. Once in the consolation rounds, Knudtson pinned Brayden Murdock of Nevada Elite, earned an 8-2 decision over Greg Gissel of Grizzly Wrestling Club, then pinned in order Broddey Cunningham of Train Wright Wrestling, Tristen Bailey of Prodigy Wrestling Club, Nich James of Sweet Home Mat Club, and Kenon Brown of Potlatch, all in the first round. Garcia went on to place second in the tournament.
Two other Crook County wrestlers also earned All-American recognition at the tournament.
Tucker Bonner went 3-3, defeating Coen Quintana of Team Dinamite and Luis Garcia of Escalon Wrestling Club before falling to Logan Frazier of Region Wrestling Academy. Bonner then lost to Kyle Rice of New Plymouth Wrestling to drop to the third-place match, where he lost a close 2-1 decision to Nicholas Cordeiro of Team Waianae.
The final Cowboy wrestler to place in the tournament was Zach Mauras, who finished seventh in the 125-pound weight class.
Mauras went 6-2, defeating Chase Mirelez of 209 Elite, Joel Campbell of New Plymouth Wrestling, Andrew Macias of Victory Wrestling-Central Washington, and Dylan Maduena of Smashmouth Wrestling before dropping his first match of the tournament, an 8-3 loss to Victor Jacinto of the Gilroy Hawks.
Mauras then defeated Christian Antonio of Smash Gyms before falling to Dawson Schramm of Diamondville Wrestling Club, which dropped him to the seventh-place match, which Mauras won by an 8-1 decision over Carson Prim of Nor Cal Take Down.
Although no other Cowboy Mat Club wrestlers placed at the tournament, several others won matches, most notably, Steven Ware, who went 5-2 in the 15U 108-pound weight class.
"Ware lost his first match, so that makes a tough road down there," Gonzalez said. "Boom, boom, they run through matches, but he got to the blood round (the final round before wrestlers are guaranteed a place)."
Other Cowboy Mat Club members to win matches included Chase Hemphill (8U 58 pounds) who went 2-2, Cash Wells (12U 84), 1-2, Mitch Warren (15U 95), 1-2, Gage Hanson (15U 125), 1-2, and Gavin McLean (15U 145), 2-2.
Other Cowboy Mat Club members to compete at the tournament included Cruz Evans (6U 49), Justin Tucker (8U 49), Duke Wentzel (10U 70), Caleb Buffington (10U 110), Collier Buffington (12U 130), Mackenzie Shearom (12U girls 92), Gage Perry (15U 135), Marshall Raymond (15U 157), Luke Brewer (18U 152) and Mario Hanson (18U 220).
All told, 21 Crook County wresters competed in the event, including nine who are either currently in high school this year, or will be next year.
"It helps tremendously if you keep wrestling in spring wrestling," Gonzalez said. "Good trip to Reno, and I'm proud of the guys."