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Dual comes down to final match of the night as Roseburg comes from behind to defeat Cowboys in battle of second-ranked teams

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Cash Wells works to return Roseburg's Cameron Cross to the mat during their 113-pound match. Wells, a freshman, pinned Cross, a senior, late in the second round of their match. However, Roseburg won the dual 40-34. In a highly anticipated dual that was postponed for nearly a month because of weather, the Roseburg Indians edged the Crook County Cowboys 40-34 in a battle of two of the best wrestling teams in Oregon.

"It comes down to where we gave up pins and bonus points and they didn't," Crook County head coach Jake Gonzales said following the match. "They are a tough team, but some of our guys need to figure it out."

Wrestling before the home crowd, on senior night, the Cowboys built up sizeable leads in both the varsity and JV duals before the Indians came back to score just enough points in the closing matches of the night to escape with a victory.

The Indians won the JV match 39-37 after the Cowboys had led at one time by what seemed like an insurmountable score of 37-15.

The varsity match was closer throughout, but still, the Cowboys had a solid lead midway through before Roseburg rallied to take the dual.

The varsity dual started at 220 pounds, with Roseburg taking an early 6-0 lead as Tyler Estes pinned Crook County's Hayden Hilderbrand late in the second period. The two wrestlers had been tied 0-0 at the end of one period before Estes picked up an escape, then took down Hilderbrand and quickly pinned him after starting the second period on the bottom.

Roseburg's Hunter Blix then pinned Joseph Miller early in the second round of their 285-pound match to give the Indians a 12-0 lead.

However, the Cowboys quickly came back, winning six of the next seven matches.

First Tucker Bonner pinned Roseburg's Cristian Martinez midway through the first round of their 106-pound match. Then Cash Wells pinned Cameron Cross early in the third period of their 113-pound match, tying the dual at 12-12.

When the Indians forfeited to Steven Ware at 120 pounds, Crook County led 18-12.

Nash Singleton stopped the bleeding for the Indians with a win at 126 pounds.

The Roseburg senior, who is ranked No. 1 in the Oregon pound for pound rankings, pinned Jace England late in the first round to tie the dual at 18-18.

However, the Cowboys won the next two matches to take control of the dual.

First Zach Mauras earned a 12-4 major decision over Kahleb Diaz at 132 pounds.

"I love the atmosphere when it's Cowboys versus Indians," Mauras said. "It's always a blast, win or lose it's just a hoot out there. I felt like I wrestled hard for all six minutes and it came out my way. It's real disappointing to lose the dual, but the guys fought. They fought their hearts out and that's all that really matters, win or lose."

Following Mauras, Hunter Mode pinned Rhett Martin midway through the first round of their 138-pound match, giving the Cowboys a 28-18 lead.

"It's crazy," Mode said of wrestling his last match at Crook County High School. "High school wrestling has been my dream since I was a little kid and that's all I've looked forward to for the past 13 years. Coming up just short isn't the end of the world. We want to dual them because it's two powerhouses. It was a great environment all around. The energy levels are just crazy."

Then came the matches that ultimately decided the dual.

First Roseburg's Archer Bergeron came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Brayden Duke 11-5 at 145 pounds. The win pulled the Indians to within seven points at 28-21. Then, Tristin David pinned Ben Sather in the second round as the Indians pulled to within a point at 28-27.

When Colin Rietmann came back from a 2-1 first-period deficit to outpoint Gavin McLean at 160 pounds, the Indians once again had the lead with a score of 30-28.

Darian Thacker then pinned Ray Solis 1:13 into the first round to give the Indians a 36-28 lead.

However, Crook County wasn't done. Kyle Knudtson brought the Cowboys to within two points with a second-round fall over Roseburg's Rourke Martin in their 182-pound match to make the score 36-34.

That set up the final match of the evening with Crook County's Gabe Saenz taking on Roseburg's Rogan Coffman at 195 pounds.

If Saenz could upset Coffman, then the Cowboys won the dual, if not, Roseburg would be the winner.

Coffman took an early lead, taking Saenz down and getting a pair of near falls in the first round to open up an 8-0 lead.

Neither wrestler scored in the second round.

Then in the third round, Saenz started on top and had Coffman briefly on his back. Unfortunately, he couldn't hold him there long enough to score points.

Eventually Saenz lost control and Coffman picked up an escape to end the match with a 10-0 major decision.

"We always want to win, so it was frustrating in the fact that some of our guys didn't compete like I thought they would, but that's wrestling," Gonzales said. "You never know how a dual is going to go. Kudos to Roseburg. They are a great program. When I first started that's who we looked up to and wanted to model our program after."

Gonzales added that, regardless of the outcome, duals between good teams are important for the wrestling community.

"It was a packed house and, like I said before, we need more duals like this to promote the sport," he said. "Win or lose it's a good promotion for the sport and it gets kids excited, so maybe they want to wrestle."

Several of the Cowboy seniors were emotional after the match as they posed for photographs with family and friends and talked with members of the Roseburg squad.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Kyle Knudtson works to turn Roseburg's Rourke Martin to his back. Knudtson earned a second-round fall, but the Indians still defeated the Cowboys 40-34 in the dual between the second-ranked Class 6A and second-ranked Class 5A powerhouses. "It's unparalleled," Knudtson said of the final home match of his career. "There's really nothing else that matters more than family and being with your friends. Since it's my senior year, this is my last wrestling dual ever for high school and it's real emotional, so having family here makes it a lot better."

Like the rest of the Cowboys, Knudtson was quick to add that it was a great experience despite the loss.

"The Roseburg dual is always my favorite because, whether we are going to their house or they are coming here, we get this place packed and it's loud and when anything happens in a match, even something little, everyone is freaking out and it gets all loud. Your ears are ringing, and you are starting to get a little headache. It's just great. We have the most respect that anyone could give for each other. It's just through the roof. It's amazing and I've never seen anything like it."

In the JV dual, Wyatt Holliday pinned his opponent at 220, Mitch Warren earned a fall at 106, Trentyn Maryanski picked up a major decision at 126, Brad McLean pinned his opponent at 132, Alex Vail earned a 7-4 decision at 152 and Ross McKinney, 113, and Tannon Joyner, 120, won by forfeit for the Cowboys.

However, Roseburg won the final four matches of the dual by fall to edge the Cowboys.

The dual was the final competition for the Cowboys prior to the district tournament, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 22 at Ridgeview High School in Redmond. Wrestling is tentatively scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

"We are going to train real hard the next week and once we get the lineup set we will just focus on those guys and what they need to do to get better," Gonzales said.

"We just have to sharpen the iron a little bit," Mauras added. "Sharpen the blade."

"Honestly, I just feel like people need to be in the right mindset," Mode said of what the Cowboys need to do to be ready for district and state. "You can work as hard as you can and show up to all the practices, but if you are not in the mindset when you step on the mat, you are not going to perform as well as you can. People just need to get those nerves away. I know it's nerve-wracking and scary, but you just need to open up and wrestle."

Knudtson agreed.

"We had a couple of young guys that gave up too many points or got pinned tonight, but they'll learn," he said. "They need to just trust in the process. Probably the most important thing that we've got to work on is keeping people down when we put them to their back and not letting them off. Pins are going to be huge at state because our JV is going to need to pick up points if we want to have any chance to beat Crescent Valley. I think it's going to be closer than everyone else thinks, but we've got to get our JV guys ready."


Saturday, February 8

At Crook County

220 —Tyler Estes, R, by fall over Hayden Hilderbrand, CC, 3:42. 285 —Hunter Blix, R, by fall over Joey Miller, CC, 2:31. 106 —Tucker Bonner, CC, by fall over Cristian Martinez, R, 1:20. 113 —Cash Wells, CC, by fall over Cameron Cross, R, 4:19. 120 —Steven Ware, CC, wins by forfeit. 126 —Nash Singleton, R, by fall over Jace England, CC, 1:43.. 132 —Zach Mauras, CC, by MD over Kahleb Diaz, R, 12-4. 138 —Hunter Mode, CC, by fall over Rhett Martin, R, 0:59. 145 —Archer Bergeron, R, by decision over Brayden Duke, CC, 11-5. 152 —Tristin David, R, by fall over Ben Sather, CC, 3:43. 160 —Colin Rietmann, R, by decision over Gavin McLean, CC, 8-4. 170 —Darian Thacker, R, by fall over Ray Solis, CC, 1:13. 182 —Kyle Knudtson, CC, by fall over Rourke Martin, R, 3:03. 195 —Rogan Coffman, R, by MD over Gabe Saenz, CC, 10-0.

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