Cowboys have just one individual champion at tournament, but use team depth to take championship

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Luke Brewer takes down a Summit wrestler during the Central Oregon Officials Wrestling Tournament, which was held Saturday at Summit High School in Bend. Brewer finished third in the 145-pound weight class. The Crook County Cowboys used a solid team performance to come away with first place at the Perry Burlison Classic Wrestling Tournament, which was held Saturday at Cascade High School in Turner.

"It was a good start for us, for sure," Crook County head coach Jake Huffman said. "We only had one champ and we still won the team championship. We had a bunch of guys come back and take third or fifth, and we got a lot of bonus points with the pin and everybody that wrestled had positives — things we can celebrate."

Crook County trailed Class 5A opponents Thurston and Dallas in the afternoon, but used strong performances in the later rounds to take control of the 24-team tournament.

The Cowboys finished with 183 points, while Thurston finished second with 173.5 and Dallas was third with 168.

Rounding out the top 10 were Cascade, 132, Sweet Home, 123, North Marion, 102.5, Marshfield, 95, Crescent Valley, 93, West Albany, 90, and Lebanon, 83.

The Cowboys' lone champion was sophomore Kyle Knudtson, who wrestled above his actual weight, taking first at 182 pounds.

However, four other Cowboys reached the championship round, and eight reached the semifinals.

Sophomore Hunter Mode placed second at 106 pounds, while fellow sophomore Tannon Joyner was third at 113 pounds.

Zachary Mauras, also a sophomore, was second at 126 pounds, while senior Pacer Quire was second at 132 pounds.

Seniors Colton Morgan, 138, and Tyler Fioravanti, 145, both placed fifth, while Juniors Colton Burkhardt, 170, and Caleb Parrott, 285, finished fourth and third, respectively.

Other Cowboys to wrestle at Cascade who did not place included sophomore Jace England, 1-2 at 120 pounds, junior Sage Harris, 2-2 at 160 pounds, and junior Garrett Bond, 0-2 at 195 pounds. The Cowboys did not enter anyone in the 220-pound class.

What made the Cowboy performance especially impressive is that Crook County was wrestling without three varsity wrestlers, who are out with minor injuries.

The three juniors, Jaxson Rhoden, 182, Calum Wilcox, a transfer from Sandpoint, Idaho, 195, and Mario Hanson, 220, are all expected to be back in action within the next two weeks.

On top of that, Huffman was quick to point out that the team won despite not always wrestling their best.

"There are a lot of fixable mistakes that we made," he said. We didn't wrestle our best tournament and we still were able to pull off a victory, which is something that we haven't had the luxury of being able to do. We are going to get back in the mat room and get some things fixed."

Central Oregon Officials Wrestling Tournament

In addition to winning the Perry Burlison Classic, the Cowboys also sent a team to Bend for the Central Oregon Officials Wrestling Tournament, which was held Saturday at Summit High School.

The Cowboys had just three wrestlers place at the tournament, including one champion.

Steven Ware, a 113-pound freshman, took first in his weight class, while sophomore Luke Brewer was third at 145 pounds and senior Tucker Shores was fourth at 132 pounds.

As a team, the Cowboys were eighth out of 11 teams, scoring 30 points.

Mountain View won the tournament with 193.5 points, while Redmond was second with 114 and Culver third, 106.

Although they did not factor into the team scoring, the Cowboys also had several wrestlers go undefeated in the JV portion of the Central Oregon tournament.

Elijah Becker, Mason Cooley, Wyatt Parker and Alexander Rodriguez were all undefeated while Benjamin Sather finished 2-1, Logan Clure 2-2, Conner Rash, 2-2, Kaden Bernard 1-3, Jacoby Hale, 2-2, Deagan Lindquist 2-2, Colton Schlachter 2-2. Tanklin Thomasson 1-2. Aden Modine 2-2, and Wyatt Holliday 2-1.

"Just from talking to my coaches, I think it is validation that what we are doing in the practice room is working," Huffman said of the Summit tournament. "We are going to continue to tweak things, but we have a little bit different approach this year and I think it's paying off.

The Cowboys are at the Army Strong Coast Classic in North Bend on Friday and Saturday, while the Crook County JV team will compete at the varsity level at the Culver Invitational, which is also Friday and Saturday.

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