Culver wrestling starts on par with last season
Given where every team's conditioning, as well as their technique is for the first week of the season, Culver walked away from it feeling fine.
Last Saturday at the Central Oregon Officials Tournament, hosted by Summit High School, the Bulldogs produced three individual champions en route to a third-place finish as a team.
Lorenzo Vasquez at 126, Jorge Olivera at 152 and Cylus Hoke at 220 were all victorious in the their brackets, which helped Culver score 104 team points, trailing only Mountain View (193.5) and Redmond (119). That placement was on par with last year at the same tournament, when the Bulldogs also placed third. Matching it this season, behind only a couple of reputable 5A teams, was not a bad place for Culver to start.
"In terms of consistency, and a measuring stick, we're right about where we were last year," Culver head coach J.D. Alley said.
"We got lots of things to fix. I think we can be scattered out quite a bit better in weight classes … Our lineup still has a little tweaking to do."
Hoke's run started with a 2-1 decision over La Pine's Gage Dodson in the first round, before he broke off three straight matches that ended in pins. Opponents included Tyson Pettigrew (Bend), Jacob Conklin (Mountain View), and in the finals, Jonathan Martinez of Ridgeview. The finals match was an exercise in opposites, as Hoke found himself with a height disadvantage to Martinez, though Alley said Hoke handled it "tremendously well."
"We have high hopes and those look like they are founded and legitimate," Alley said. "He probably wrestled the most consistent throughout the day with no errors."
Olivera and Vasquez wrestled in tough brackets at their respective classes, and the reigning state champs both came through with victories.
Olivera took down Bend's Cyrus Tadjiki in an 8-3 decision, then pinned La Pine's Turrell Wilson in the semifinals, taking 2 minutes, 39 seconds to do so. Then in the finals match, facing Mountain View's Blake Ohlson, who placed third at last year's 5A state tournament, Olivera gutted out a 3-2 decision.
Vasquez's 21 points scored for Culver was most on the team, as he pinned Ridgeview's Danny Cornejo in the first round, before a 9-0 major decision win over Carsen Johnson of Mountain View, and in the finals, an 11-4 decision on La Pine's Tommy Gallmaore.
Culver faced a bit of a logjam at 170, with Jerron Rhen, Joe Russo and Victor Torres all coming in at similar weights. Torres volunteered to make the jump to 182, and managed to come away with a third-place finish, despite giving up 10-15 pounds to most everyone he squared off against.
Torres battled back from an 8-3 decision loss to Haakon Kjellesvik of Bend in the semifinals, as he went on to pin Thomas LeClaire of Madras at the two-minute mark of their consolation match. Torres then claimed victory in the third place match by forfeit.
"He offered on his own to go 182 and scored us some vital team points and came out unscathed," Alley said.
In the 120-pound bracket, freshman Anthony Hood won his first high school match in a defeat of Bend's Andre Olson, which gave Hood third place. Lane Downing battled to a fourth-place finish at 145, as he held a 2-2 record for the day. Both of his victories came by fall in the third round. Also placing fourth was Jerron Rhen at 170.
This week, the Bulldogs are set to host the annual Culver Invitational, a two-day event beginning Friday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 9 at 10 a.m. Last year, snow pelted Central Oregon in the days leading up to the tournament, forcing Culver to cancel it. Early indications suggest they won't have the same problem this year.
"We'll do our best to put on a good show; we'll know there's still going to be some quality wrestling going on," Alley said. "You'll be looking at some previews to some state champions and finalists that will be wrestling there."