Crook County wins district title by more than 100 points, positions themselves as one of the teams to beat at the state tournament

PHOTO COURTESY OF AMY DUKE - Brayden Duke works to turn Ridgeview's Orlando Frank to his back. Duke, a freshman, pinned Frank 46 seconds into the match. Duke went on to win the 145-pound championship at the Intermountain Conference District meet.The Crook County Cowboys dominated both days of the Intermountain Conference Wrestling Championships, finishing the six-team tournament more than 100 points ahead of second-place Pendleton.

"Overall, it was a great tournament," said Crook County head coach Jake Gonzalez. "The guys really competed well. They are still getting better, and we have a couple more weeks here, so yeah, it was a great tournament."

The Cowboys crowned eight individual champions and qualified 17 individuals for the state tournament at the event, which was held in Pendleton.

Crook County amassed 408 points at the meet. They were followed by Pendleton, 306, Redmond, 257, Ridgeview, 124.5, Hood River Valley, 116, and The Dalles/Dufur, 89.

"When you get 17 guys to the state tournament, you are going to score a lot of points," Gonzalez said. "These guys battled. The young guys are coming along, and that's what we need, so it's good to see that."

Things couldn't have gone much better for the Cowboys on Friday during the tournament's opening day.

With snow in the forecast, meet organizers changed the schedule, wrestling all the way through the semifinals on Friday.

The Cowboys opened up a huge lead by the end of the day Friday.

More importantly, they had already qualified 12 wrestlers for the state tournament.

"I think our guys are competing pretty hard," Gonzalez said late Friday evening. "I think it's a big step to get everyone qualified."

Of the 12 wrestlers who qualified for the state tournament on Friday, 11 won their semifinal match, putting them into Saturday's championship round. In addition to those 11, Colton Schlacter also punched his ticket to the state tournament on Friday. The 195-pound senior lost his semifinal match, but with just five wrestlers in the weight class, Schlacter was still guaranteed no worse than a fourth-place finish.

By the time that wrestling ended on Friday night, just two Cowboys had been eliminated from the tournament with the remaining 23 guaranteed to finish no worse than sixth place.

Saturday morning started slowly for the Cowboys as a number of wrestlers lost their consolation semifinal matches.

Still, Crook County was in control of the tournament.

By the time championship matches started, the Cowboys had already wrapped up the tournament championship, regardless of what happened in the finals.

However, Crook County fans didn't need to worry about Cowboy wrestlers becoming complacent.

The Cowboys rolled through the championship rounds, dominating their opponents.

The finals began at 138 pounds, one of the few weight classes with no Cowboy in the finals.

Next up was the 145-pound finals where Crook County freshman Brayden Duke easily defeated Pendleton senior Blake Davis, taking a 12-2 major decision.

The Cowboys kept rolling at 152 pounds as sophomore Ben Sather blanked The Dalles/Dufur senior Austin Greene 6-0.

Crook County suffered their first finals loss at 170 pounds. After wrestling close for the first two rounds, senior Garrett Bond made a mistake early in the third round and was eventually pinned by No. 1 seed Austin Carter of Redmond.

However, the Cowboys quickly bounced back as junior Kyle Knudtson pinned Ridgeview's Cole Jackson late in the second round of their 182-pound match.

PHOTO COURTESY OF AMY DUKE - Zach Mauras controls Hood River Valley's Kaden Shropshire. Mauras, a junior, won the match and went on to win the 132-pound weight class.Knudtson was dominant throughout the tournament, earning falls in all four of his matches, the first three all coming in the first round.

Next up for the Cowboys was senior Caleb Parrott at 285 pounds. Like Knudtson, Parrott pinned his way to the finals. However, with just five wrestlers in the weight class, Parrott had byes up to the semifinal round.

In the semis, Parrott made quick work of Pendleton's Will Glover, pinning him one minute into the match.

Then in the finals, Parrott pinned Hood River Valley's Cody Durham in just 16 seconds to earn his district crown.

At 106 pounds, the Cowboys placed two wrestlers into the finals.

Sophomore Tannon Joyner dominated the match, earning a 17-7 major decision over freshman Tucker Bonner.

"It's not fun when you've got two guys in the finals," Gonzalez said. "But they battled each other, so it's good."

Sophomore Steven Ware had a chance to win his championship match at 113 pounds but gave up some points late as he fell to No. 1 seed Kagen Lawrence of Redmond.

Ware led 7-6 midway through the final round before finally falling 14-9 to Lawrence, who had pinned him in a match earlier in the year.

The remaining Cowboys in the finals all went on to win individual championships.

First, freshman Trentyn Maryanski picked up a surprising win over No. 2 seed Kole Davis of Redmond. Maryanski, who had not wrestled a varsity match all season prior to districts, had already defeated No. 1 seed Caleb Tremper of Pendleton 13-3 Friday night to reach the finals.

His match with Davis was much closer with the two wrestlers tied 4-4 at the end of three periods. In overtime, Maryanski was able to pick up a takedown, his third of the match, as he earned a 6-4 sudden victory win.

"Maryanski had a heck of a tournament," Gonzalez said. "He's a district champ as a freshman. He didn't know if he wanted to wrestle. Actually, Bonner got him to come out, finally, and he's a district champ, so that's cool to see."

At 126 pounds, Hunter Mode did exactly what was expected. The junior No. 1 seed rolled through his first two matches of the tournament, earning quick falls. Then in the finals, Mode narrowly edged senior Alex Rendon of Pendleton. Rendon was 46-3 coming in to the match and was ranked second in the state, while Mode pushed his record to 35-3 and holds the state's No. 1 ranking.

Then, in the final match of the night, Crook County junior Zach Mauras overcame a late deficit to defeat Chad Muenzer of Hood River Valley 10-9. Mauras and Muenzer are ranked one and two in the state, respectively, and could face each other again at state.

"Zach had a tough match and he battled," Gonzalez said.

In addition to their eight district champs and three runner-ups, six other Cowboys also earned trips to the state meet.

Junior Jace England took third at 120 pounds, while freshman Gavin McLean came back from a close loss in the semifinals to finish third at 160 pounds.

PHOTO COURTESY OF AMY DUKE - Garrett Bond celebrates after winning his semifinal match. Bond went on to finish second at 170 pounds, earning a trip to the state championships. Bond, a senior, is one of 17 Cowboys to qualify for the state tournament, which will be held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23 in Portland."Our young guys are stepping up," Gonzalez said. "Maryanski wins, Sather wins, Duke wins, McLean gets third, and he had a tough battle in the semis, so yeah, those guys are coming along, and that's what we need."

Freshman Victor Rodriquez, wrestling in his first varsity tournament, finished fourth at 145 pounds to earn a berth in the state tournament. Schlacter also finished fourth as did junior Tanklin Thomasson at 285 pounds. The final Cowboy to earn a trip to state is 220-pound sophomore Hayden Hilderbrand. Hilderbrand had missed the last two weeks of the regular season with an ankle injury. Hilderbrand was locked in a tight battle for third place with Jacob Griffin of Pendleton when he reinjured his leg, losing the match by injury default.

Still, with two weeks before the state tournament, Hilderbrand is expected to still be able to compete at state.

Six other Crook County wrestlers finished sixth in the competition. They were freshman Mitch Warren, 113; sophomore Conner Rash, 126; junior Mason Clark, 132; sophomore Alex Vail, 138; senior Elijah Becker, 152, and sophomore Gabe Saenz, 170.

Following a rash of recent injuries, the Cowboys have dropped from first to second in the state rankings.

Still, with 17 wrestlers competing at the state meet, Gonzalez is confident that they will still be in the mix for the team championship.

"We will be right in the middle of it, that's for sure," he said. "If we had everyone, it might not be a race. It's going to be a little bit of a team race now, but yeah, we are right there. The kids are getting better, and they are believing in what we are doing."

This could be one of the most wide-open state tournaments in recent years.

Dallas, who is ranked No. 1, qualified 14 wrestlers for the state tournament, while No. 3 Crescent Valley qualified eight. Other teams of note include fourth-ranked Lebanon, 11 wrestlers; fifth-ranked Crater, 21 wrestlers; sixth-ranked Thurston, 12 wrestlers; seventh-ranked Hillsboro, 14 wrestlers; eighth-ranked Redmond, 11 wrestlers; ninth-ranked Pendleton, 14 wrestlers; and 10th-ranked Milwaukie, 11 wrestlers.

The state tournament is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22 and 23 at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Portland.

Wrestling begins Friday morning with Class 6A and 3A wrestling beginning early Friday morning. Unlike previous years, not all classifications are being contested at the same time on Friday. Class 5A competition is not scheduled to start until 4 p.m. Friday afternoon and is expected to run until 10:30 p.m. Friday night. Wrestling resumes Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and will continue throughout the day with the event scheduled to end with team trophies being presented at 10:30 p.m. Saturday night.

Intermountain Conference District Wrestling Championships

Friday and Saturday, February 8-9

At Pendleton

Team scores – T. Crook County, 408. 2. Pendleton, 306, 3. Redmond, 287. 4. Ridgeview, 124.5. 5. Hood River Valley, 116. 6. The Dalles, 89.

106 – Tannon Joyner, Crook County. 2. Tucker Bonner, Crook County. 3. Collin Primus, Pendleton. 4. Logan Hill, Redmond. 5. Conor Blair, The Dalles/Dufur

113 – 1. Kagen Lawrence, Redmond. 2. Steven Ware, Crook County. 3. Kellen Hanson, Pendleton. 4. Gabe Browning, Pendleton. 5. Landon Nothiger, Redmond. 6. Mitch Warren, Crook County.

120 – Trentyn Maryanski, Crook County. 2. Kole Davis, Redmond. 3. Jace England, Crook County. 4. Caleb Tremper, Pendleton. 5. Preston Hill, Redmond. 6. Aiden Sewell, Hood River Valley.

126 – 1. Hunter Mode, Crook County. 2. Alex Rendon, Pendleton. 3. Austin Anderson, Redmond. 4. Jayton Muenzer, Hood River Valley. 5. Kaden Shropshire, Hood River Valley. 6. Conner Rash, Crook County.

132 – 1. Zach Mauras, Crook County. 2. Chad Muenzer, Hood River Valley. 3. Jacob Curry, Redmond. 4. Trae Bilken, Redmond. 5. Danny Cornejo, Ridgeview. 6. Mason Clark, Crook County.

138 – Chris Chambers, Pendleton. 2. Junior Downing, Redmond. 3. Andrew Richman, The Dalles/Dufur. 4. Presont Armstrong, Hood River Valley. 5. Daniel Jaramillo, Ridgeview. 6. Alex Vail, Crook County.

145 – 1. Brayden Duke, Crook County. 2. Blake Davis, Pendleton. 3. Ethyne Reid, Ridgeview. 4. Victor Rodriguez, Crook County. 5. Orlando Frank, Ridgeview. 6. Elijah Monson, Redmond.

152 – Ben Sather, Crook County. 2. Austin Greene, The Dalles/Dufur. 3. Shawn Yeager, Pendleton. 4. Zach Anderson, Redmond. 5. Josh Whaley, Pendleton. 6. Elijah Becker, Crook County.

160 – 1. Clayton Elrod, Redmond. 2. Isaac Urbina, Pendleton. 3. Gavin McLean, Crook County. 4. Steven Preston, The Dalles/Dufur. 5. Kyle Liscom, Pendleton. 6. Justin Garcia, Redmond.

170 – 1. Austin Carter, Redmond. 2. Garrett Bond, Crook County. 3. Aiden Patterson, Pendleton. 4. Anthony Lochner, Ridgeview. 5. Cody Sumerlin, Pendleton. 6. Gabe Saenz, Crook County.

182 – 1. Kyle Knudtson, Crook County. 2. Cole Jackson, Ridgeview. 3. Kirk Liscom, Pendleton. 4. Maverick Geller, Hood River Valley, 5. Alberto Rojas, Hood River Valley. 6. Ian Bannister, Pendleton.

195 – 1. JR Scott, The Dalles/Dufur. 2. Aiden Henderson, Pendleton. 3. Logan Shenk, Ridgeview. 4. Colton Schlachter, Crook County. 5. Gabe Caudell, Redmond.

220 – 1. Joseph Martin, Ridgeview. 2. Dillon Young, Redmond. 3. Jacob Griffin, Pendleton. 4. Hayden Hilderbrand, Crook County. 5. Kenyth Kettle, Redmond. 6. Jordan DeGeer, Pendleton.

285 – 1. Caleb Parrott, Crook County. 2. Cody Durham, Hood River Valley. 3. Travis McGee, Pendleton. 4. Tanklin Thomasson, Crook County. 5. Will Glover, Pendleton.

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