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Crook County has one individual champion and 10 placers, but Crescent Valley crowns a record nine champions as they roll to a second consective state wrestling title

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Hunter Mode works to pin Robert Guenther of Silverton during the 138-pound championship match at the OSAA/OnPoint Class 5A State Wrestling Championships, which were held Friday and Saturday in Portland. Mode went on to win by fall to take his third state title, while the Cowboys finished second to Crescent Valley in the team race.The Crook County Cowboys did everything they could, but in the end, the Crescent Valley Raiders had too much firepower.

For the second consecutive year, the Cowboys placed second to the Raiders at the OSAA/OnPoint Class 5A State Wrestling Championship, amassing 303 points, while the Cowboys finished with 226.5.

Rounding out the top five were Thurston, 175.5, Crater, 141.5 and West Albany, 88.

The Cowboys hung with the No. 1-ranked Raiders for most of the tournament. However, Crescent Valley pulled away late for a convincing win.

"I think we are competing pretty good," Crook County head coach Jake Gonzales said after Friday's opening day of the tournament, which was held at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland. "I'm happy."

After Friday's opening day, Crescent Valley had scored 130 points while the Cowboys were within striking distance with 125.5. Thurston was a distant third with 86.5 points, while Crater was fourth with 84.5.

Saturday morning, the Cowboys briefly took the lead during the third round of consolation matches. Crook County still led partway through the semifinals, clinging to a 147.5-142 lead.

However, from that point on, it was all Crescent Valley. The Raiders placed 10 wrestlers into Saturday night's finals and won nine individual titles, a state record.

The Cowboys did receive good news prior to the start of Saturday night's final round.

First, Mitch Warren, who was carted off the mat on a stretcher during his fifth and sixth place match with what looked like a serious injury, was able to rejoin the team in time for the parade of champions. In addition, Gonzales was named coach of the year.

"It's cool to be recognized," Gonzales said. "I'm thankful for it, but I would trade that for a team title."

Despite finishing second, it was still a strong showing for the Cowboys, who placed 10 of their 20 wrestlers and put four competitors into Saturday night's finals.

Crook County's lone individual champion was Hunter Mode, who won the third title of his illustrious four-year career at Crook County.

Mode made quick work of his finals match, pinning Robert Guenther, of Silverton, early in the second round of their 138-pound match.

"It's good," Mode said of the individual championship. "There are a lot of emotions because it's my senior year. It's probably my most overwhelming championship."

Although the championship round went smoothly, that didn't mean that the entire tournament was easy for Mode. After winning his opening match by fall, Mode was pushed to the limit in the quarterfinals, eking out a 1-0 decision over Ethan Dunnigan of Central,

"In the moment, it was scary, but I just had to put it behind me," Mode said. "I won, so that was all that mattered. I just need to work on moving and getting better angles and stuff like that."

Placing second for the Cowboys were Tucker Bonner, 106, Zach Mauras, 132, and Kyle Knudtson, 182.

Bonner lost 7-0 to Crescent Valley's D.J. Gillett in the championship round.

Bonner, who entered the tournament seeded second, cruised through the first two rounds, picking up a fall and a technical fall. He then won a tight 6-4 decision over Derek Sossie, of West Albany, to reach the finals against Gillett. The two wrestlers are close friends and hugged on the mat following the finals. Still, Bonner had hoped to finally upset the Crescent Valley wrestler, who holds a 4-0 all-time record against Bonner.

"It wasn't the big goal," the sophomore said of finishing second. "But it's a big stepping stone for next year. There are some little things that I need to improve on, and that can be done in the wrestling room next season.

Mauras, a senior who entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed in his weight class, rolled through the first three rounds of the tournament before facing second-seeded Hunter Eveland of Crescent Valley in the finals.

Eveland held a slim 7-6 lead midway through the third round. However, Mauras was unable to turn Eveland on his back, so he gave up an escape, hoping to pick up another takedown to tie the match.

However, Eveland kept Mauras tied up for much of the period and held on for the close victory.

"I feel like I wrestled really good," Mauras said. "I left it all out on the mat, and that's all that's really important to me. I went out with a bang. It may not have went my way, but it was a match to remember. I'm never going to forget how good it felt just to wrestle. I wish the scores could have been different, but I gave it everything I had."

Knudtson also entered the tournament with the No. 1 seed.

The senior pinned his way to the finals at 182 pounds before running into another Crescent Valley wrestler.

The Raiders' Hayden Walters took advantage of an early Knudtson mistake to get to his legs and earn a quick takedown.

From that point on, the freshman was in control, rolling to a 13-2 major decision over Knudtson.

"I'm not going to say that I wasn't prepared enough because my coaches got me prepared," Knudtson said. "I wasn't in the right mindset, I guess, to win that match. It's not the way that I wanted to go out as a Cowboy, but you know, there are bigger and better things to come. I still have got college and everything, so it's just an obstacle in the road. I just have to get past it, and it will be OK."

Four other Cowboys closed out their seasons with wins as Cash Wells, 113, Steven Ware, 120, Ben Sather, 152, and Gavin McLean, 160, all finished in third place in the tournament.

Wells, a freshman who was seeded sixth entering the tournament, won his opening match by fall but then dropped a close 9-6 decision to Anthony Comer of Scappoose in the quarterfinals.

Comer then lost in the semifinals and again in his first consolation match, failing to place, while Wells came back to win three consolation rounds by fall to reach the third-place match, where he earned a major decision over Elijah Southern of Thurston.

Wells, who was watching as Warren was injured, said that the injury had a big impact on his final match.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Steven Ware celebrates after winning his third place match on Saturday. Ware pinned Freddy Barajas of Eagle Point in their 120-pound match."Honestly, it was in my head because I have had a serious injury too," Wells said. "I just put it into anger against the other kid, and I'm happy with third because I'm just a freshman."

Ware, who was the No. 1 seed at 120 pounds, was defeated by Daschle Lamer of Crescent Valley in the semifinals, then fought back to win the consolation semis by major decision before pinning Freddy Barajas of Eagle Point in the third-place match.

"It was huge to me because I know that I'm improving," the junior said following the match. "You never stay the same, and I beat the kid that took second in my bracket last year and who also beat me last year. I just know that I'm improving."

Ware also said that Warren's injury impacted his third-place match.

"I didn't see what happened because I was in the room warming up the whole time," he said before he found out Warren was OK. "I didn't see what happened, but I knew that I wanted to win for my team, my family and for him because he's one of my best friends and he wrestled his butt off. He came so far this year, and for him to get hurt in his fifth- and sixth-place match, it's just tough."

Sather entered the tournament seeded fourth at 152 pounds.

After winning his first two matches, he lost to Tyson Resko, of Crescent Valley, in the semifinals.

Sather, a junior, then defeated Adonai Peraza-Nava, of Hillsboro, in the consolation semifinals and Tucker Drummond, of Lebanon, in the third-and fourth-place match.

"It feels great," Sather said of finishing third. "I wrestled good. I got him tired, and he couldn't get up. It's all the work we do in the room. We just set the pace."

McLean was also pleased with finishing third. The 160-pound sophomore entered the tournament seeded fourth and, like Sather, cruised to the semifinals before falling to a Crescent Valley wrestler.

James Rowley, the eventual champion in the weight class, defeated McLean 13-2 in the semis. However, the Crook County sophomore came back to win the consolation semifinal match over Scott Ellis, of Hillsboro, by fall, then earned a major decision over Izaak Worsch, of Corvallis, in the third-place match.

"It feels pretty good," McLean said of the third-place finish. "I have been wrestling Kyle (Knudtson) quite a bit in the wrestling room, and I believe that he has helped me quite a bit."

That brings us to Warren. The 106-pound sophomore entered the tournament unseeded.

Warren upset the No. 6 seed in his opening round match, then defeated No. 4 seed Gavin Schaer, of St. Helens, in the quarterfinals before falling to Gillette from Crescent Valley in the semifinals.

Warren then lost to Cayden Cumpiano of West Albany in the consolation semifinals, dropping to the fifth- and sixth-place match.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Zach Mauras, right, battles Hunter Eveland of Crescent Valley in the 132-pound finals at the state wrestling tournament. Eveland earned an 8-6 victory over Mauras to win the title. Warren was trailing 5-3 midway through the final round of the match when he shot for a takedown against Braylin Richti of Thurston. Warren landed awkwardly on the mat and did not move for several minutes before he was placed into a neck brace and then onto a backboard before being taken to the hospital.

"It was super scary at first because I couldn't move," Warren said. "There were so many things going through my mind like, 'What if this is permanent? This is serious.' I'm just happy that I'm back here and can get my medal. It all happens for a reason. My goal was to come out here and win one match, but I put more points on the board for the team, and I ended up taking sixth, so I'm very happy with it."

The final Cowboy to place was Jace England.

Like Warren, England entered the tournament unseeded.

The senior 126-pounder had to wrestle No. 1 seed and eventual state champion Chance Lamer, of Crescent Valley, in the opening round of the tournament.

Lamer, a junior and three time state champion, pinned England in the first round of their match.

However, England battled back to win three consecutive matches to reach the consolation semifinals.

England lost to Tristin Keffer, of Hillsboro, in the consolation semis, then lost to Jack Lieuallen, of Pendleton, in the fifth- and sixth-place match. Still, England was satisfied with his results.

"Placing was part of the goal," he said. "I would have been satisfied with getting to state, but I wanted to place. I think I could have placed higher if I hadn't been out for a few weeks because of my concussion, but I feel like we came out and competed pretty tough."

Competing was a theme for the Cowboys the entire tournament.

Of the 20 wrestlers Crook County brought to the tournament, 18 won at least one match.

Senior Tannon Joyner went 2-2 in the competition at 120 pounds, missing the placing rounds by one match as he fell to Barajas, of Eagle Point, in the third round of consolation.

Sophomore Trentyn Maryanski, at 126 pounds, also fell one match short of placing, going 2-2 before being eliminated by Logan Slonecker, of Thurston, in the third round of consolation.

Senior Gage Perry finished with a 1-2 record at 138 pounds, while sophomore Brayden Duke went 2-2 at 145 pounds, coming up one match short of placing.

At 152 pounds, junior Alex Vail also went 2-2, coming up one match short of reaching the placing rounds, as did junior Hayden Hilderbrand, who went 2-2 at 220 pounds.

The final two Cowboys to win matches were Gabe Sanez, 1-2 at 195 pounds, and Erick Schmidt, 1-2 at 285 pounds.

Team members were excited that Gonzales was named coach of the year.

"If anyone deserves it, it's him for sure," Mauras said. "He puts countless hours in, always talking to us, always encouraging us, letting us grind and get better. Hat's off to him. I wouldn't be where I'm at without him."

Knudtson agreed.

"He's a great guy," he said. "He's basically another father figure to all of us He's always there for us. He knows what he's doing. You just have to buy into it. He's going to make you better. He's going to help you through all the hard times. He's a great guy, and I'm very happy to have been able to call him my coach."

Despite finishing second, most of the Cowboys were satisfied with the team's performance.

"It wasn't the way we hoped, and we didn't do enough to win," Knudtson said. "But when you are going against firepower like that, it's hard to do much really. Our kids gave everything they had, and we all wrestled really tough. I'm proud of all our guys."

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Gavin McLean dominated the Class 5A third-place match at 160 pounds, taking a 12-0 major decision over Izaak Worsch of Corvallis. Mode agreed.

"I feel like the team wrestled really good," he said. "There were a couple of kids who could have done better, but overall, the team wrestled good and kept their heads up. A team championship is not necessarily the goal. If everyone wrestled as well as they can, that's all that you can ask for as a leader and a coach."

Gonzales was also proud of the team's performance.

"Wrestling is a weird sport because you get these relationships that you don't build with other sports," he said. "I'm just proud of Kyle (Knudtson), Hunter (Mode), Zach (Mauras), Tannon (Joyner), Jace (England) and Gage (Perry). Jace finally broke through and placed, which is really cool. I'm just lucky that I got to be a part of some of their development as a wrestler and as a man. It was a good tournament. We just have to get back, take a week or two off, and get back to training."

OSAA/OnPoint Class 5A State Wrestling Championships

Friday and Saturday, February 28-29

At Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland

Team scores (Class 1A/2A top five only) — 1. Reedsport Charter, 106.5. 2. Culver, 103. 3. Grant Union, 74. 4. Pine Eagle, 73. 5. Central Linn, 71.

Team scores (Class 3A top five only) — 1. Burns, 180. 2. Dayton, 144.5. 3. Nyssa, 112. 4. Willamina/Falls City, 77.5. 5. La Pine, 73.

Team scores (Class 4A top five only) — 1. La Grande, 261. 2. Sweet Home, 254.5. 3. Tillamook, 142.5. 4. Cascade, 101. 5. Baker/Powder Valley, 97.

Team scores (Class 6A top five only) — 1. Newberg, 310.5. 2. Roseburg, 262.5. 3. Mountain View, 209.5. 4. Sprague, 176. 5. West Linn, 161.

Team scores Class 5A — 1. Crescent Valley, 303. 2. Crook County, 226.5. 3. Thurston, 175.5. 4. Crater, 141.5. 5. West Albany, 88. 6. Silverton, 86. 7. Hillsboro, 83. 8. Dallas, 81. 9. Scappoose, 65. 10. Redmond, 64. 11. Lebanon, 56.5. 12. Ridgeview, 48. 13. Central, 44. 14. Milwaukie, 43. 15. North Salem, 42. 16. St. Helens, 35.5. 17. Pendleton, 34.5. 18. Wilsonville, 28.5. 19. Eagle Point, 27. 20. Hood River Valley, 22. 21. Putnam, 20. 21. The Dalles, 20. 21. Willamette, 20. 24. Corvallis, 15. 25. North Eugene, 13. 26. Springfield, 7. 28. North Bend, 1. 29. Ashland,0.

106 — 1.D.J. Gillette, Crescent Valley. 2. Tucker Bonner, Crook County. 3. Cayden Cumpiano, West Albany. 4. Derek Sossie, West Albany. 5. Braylin Ruckti, Thurston. 6. Mitch Warren, Crook County.

113 — 1. Gabe Whisenhunt, Crescent Valley. 2. Kagen Lawrence, Redmond. 3. Cash Wells, Crook County. 4. Elijah Southern, Thurston. 5. Isaac Jones, Dallas. 6. Anthony Comer, Scappoose.

120 — 1.Daschle Lamer, Crescent Valley. 2. Kolton Malone, Thurston. 3. STeven Ware, Crook County. 4. Freddy Barajas, Eagle Point. 5. A.J. DeGrande, Scappoose. 6. Andy Vandetta, Lebanon.

126 — 1. Chance Lamer, Crescent Valley. 2. Kaden Kuenzi, Silverton. 3. Tristin Keffer, Hillsboro. 4. Logan Slonecker, Thurston. 5. Jack Lieuallen, Pendleton. 6. Jace England, Crook County.

132 — 1.Hunter Eveland, Crescent Valley. 2. Zach Mauras, Crook County. 3. Caleb Hart, West Albany. 4. Tristin Buchanan, St. Helens. 5. Cael Morrison, Dallas. 6. Matthew Bolanos, Crater.

138 — 1. Hunter Mode, Crook County. 2. Robert Guenther, Silverton. 3. Hunter Harwood, Thurston. 4. Isaac Quesada, Wilsonville. 5. Kellen Kerrigan, Crater. 6. Chad Muenzer, Hood River Valley.

145 — 1. Austin Dalton, Lebanon. 2. Kody Koumentis, Silverton. 3. Colby Meek, Crater. 4. Dylan Lee, Redmond. 5. Basilio Colon, Crescent Valley. 6. Austin Anderson, Ridgeview, DQ. (lost all points earned during the tournament)

152 — 1. Asher Ruchti, Thurston. 2. Tyson Resko, Crescent Valley. 3. Ben Sather, Crook County. 4. Tucker Drummond, Lebanon. 5. Adonai Peraza-Nava, Hillsboro. 6. Devon McIntire, West Albany.

160 — 1. James Rowley, Crescent Valley. 2. Kabb Christianson, Crater. 3. Gavin McLean, Crook County. 4. Izaak Worsch, Corvallis. 5. Ethyne Reid, Ridgeview. 6. Scott Ellis, Hillsboro.

170 — 1. Jackson Rosado, Crescent Valley. 2. Brock Pierce, Central. 3. Shane Teigen, Thurston. 4. Mavrick Rask, St. Helens. 5. Dusty Dodge, The Dalles. 6. Brendan Hughes, West Albany.

182 — 1. Hayden Walters, Crescent Valley. 2. Kyle Knudtson, Crook County. 3. Korbyn Amundson, Milwaukie. 4. Isaac Urbina, Pendleton. 5. Owen Burkhardt, Crater. 6. Gabe Cervantes, Central.

195 — 1. Santos Cantu, Crescent Valley 2. Joseph Jordahl, Crater. 3. Kevin Villa, Putnam. 4. Cooper Hise, Dallas. 5. Michael Dardis, Willamette. 6. Logan Shenk, Ridgeview.

220 — 1. Antonio Garcia, North Salem. 2. Trevor Schubmehl, Hillsboro. 3. Cole Jackson, Ridgeview. 4. Peter Foulke, Milwaukie. 5. Owen Magill, Silverton. 6. Aric Adams, Crater.

285 — 1. Ashten Brecht, Dallas. 2. Cutter Sandstrom, Scappoose. 3. Brian Jenkins, Thurston. 4. Jax Cumming, Redmond. 5. Noah Ochs, Wilsonville. 6. Isaiah Mays, Crater.


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