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When Crook County scored 405.5 points at the state wrestling tournament in 2014 they set a record that will be difficult to break

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Tyler BergerThe Crescent Valley Raiders set one OSAA state record and tied another on Saturday when they ran away with the OSAA OnPoint Class 5A State Wrestling Championship.

The Raiders crowned nine individual champions — a state record — and tied the Class 5A scoring record of 303 points as they ran away from the field.

The Crook County Cowboys, who led briefly early in the day Saturday, were unable to keep pace, finishing more than 70 points behind the Raiders despite finishing far ahead of the rest of the field.

What the Raiders did was truly a show of strength. However, what that showed is just how truly remarkable Crook County's Class 4A state championship run in 2014 really was.

I have a lot of memories from my nearly 13 years as a sports reporter and then sports editor for the Central Oregonian. However, it is unlikely that any of those memories will top the accomplishment of that wrestling team.

The previous year the Cowboys had won their first state championship since the 1970s. Crook County went into the state tournament believing that they had a chance to break the 303-point total for all classifications that Hermiston had set a few years earlier. The same total that Crescent Valley earned this year.

However, I don't believe that anyone thought that the Cowboys would smash the record the way that they did.

The Cowboys broke the state scoring record by over 100 points, amassing 405.5 points in the two-day tournament.

What makes the feat especially impressive is that the Cowboys did it with depth.

Not that Crescent Valley or Hermiston weren't deep teams. Clearly, they were.

However, when Crescent Valley racked up its 303 points this year, it was with nine state champions.

The Cowboys accomplished their feat with just five individual champions.

Crook County took 23 wrestlers to the state tournament and saw 20 of them place.

The Cowboys had already eclipsed the old state scoring record midway through the semifinal round early Saturday morning.

The five individual champions were one short what was at that time the state record of six, set by Lowell High School.

Trayton Libolt (113), Kurt Mode (120), Colbran Meeker (145), Tyler Berger (152) and Trevor Rasmussen (220) were the individual champions.

Libolt went on to wrestle briefly at Grand Canyon University before it dropped its program. Mode went to Clackamas Community College and then Oregon State and is now an assistant coach at Crescent Valley. Meeker also went to Oregon State to wrestle, while Trevor Rasmussen is still wrestling at Stanford.

The fifth state champion, Tyler Berger, went to the University of Nebraska, where he was a three-time All-American and finished second in his weight class his senior year.

Sending five wrestlers to college from the same team is rare. Sending five to Division 1 is simply unheard of.

And the thing is that the Cowboys could easily have had more champions.

My photos of the event appear to show Gunnar Robirts pin his opponent in the first round. However, the fall was not awarded, and Robirts was eventually pinned late in the third round.

Heavyweight Jason Williams, who is now an assistant coach in the Cowboy program, also had an early lead before losing his championship match.

Brent Bannon (126), Hayden Bates (132), Brendan Harkey (160), and Clark Woodward (170) also finished second in the tournament.

As if five members of the same team wrestling in college wasn't enough, Bates, Harkey and Woodward also wrestled in college.

Other Cowboys to place in the tournament were Terran Libolt (106), Johnny Avina (113), Grayson Munn (132), Ryder Shinkle (138), Cole Ovens (145), John Crites (152), Aaron Swindle (182), Zach Smith (195) and Curtis Crouch (230).

Ovens, Shinkle and Libolt all wrestled briefly in college, while, like Williams, Munn and Smith work with the current CCHS wrestling program.

The all-classification scoring record may be broken someday as Class 6A now has 32-man brackets instead of 16 like the other divisions.

However, Newberg, which dominated this year's state tournament, wrapped up the title before the championship round even started, scoring just 310.5 points despite bringing 22 wrestlers to the state meet and placing 12.

Although several members of that team graduated, Crook County went on to win two more consecutive titles before being upset by a half-point by Sweet Home in 2017.

The Cowboys won another state title, this time at the Class 5A level in 2018, then finished second to Crescent Valley by just a point and a half in 2019.

Crook County should be proud of what those wrestlers accomplished and of what they are currently accomplishing as adults in the community.

It is Crescent Valley that is currently trying to create a dynasty much like the Cowboys. Right now, it looks like the Raiders have the advantage again next year. However, Crook County has been counted out before and still come out on top in the end, and the Cowboys return a strong group of wrestlers.

Next year could be interesting to watch.

Now, concerning things that make you go huh.

This week the OSAA released a memo regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The memo lists common sense things that schools and individuals can do to stop or at least slow the spread of the disease. They include staying away from events if you feel unwell, have a fever or cough. They also include prioritizing cleaning frequently touched surfaces throughout the venue, having soap and water or alcohol hand-sanitizers and tissues in all venue areas and promoting appropriate respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene. Those are all good logical ways to stop the spread of disease.

Granted, COVID-19 is expected to become a pandemic.

What doesn't make sense to me is the extreme coverage of the disease in both national and regional news.

To date (these numbers will probably have changed by the time you read this), 11 people have died in the United States from the disease.

The majority of those have been individuals who had other underlying health problems prior to contracting the disease.

Several major events around the country have already been canceled because of threats of spreading the disease. Several schools have already been closed, and other closures and cancelations are likely.

In addition, many stores have seen runs on their survival supplies as people prepare for the disease. One of the most common items being purchased in bulk is bottled water, despite the fact that there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through water, making your tap water entirely safe.

Of course, the disease should be taken seriously. However, do you realize that in 2019 an average of 229 people a month died from either influenza A or influenza B?

Yet, do you see any news stories about the dangers of spreading the flu?

Has the OSAA put out a memo to event organizers regarding the flu? Do event organizers cancel sporting events because of outbreaks of the flu? Of course not.

There are currently sports events in Europe and Asia that are being played in empty stadiums as spectators have been banned from the events.

And there are already rumors that the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo may be canceled or postponed.

So why the hysteria about COVID-19 when other ailments that routinely kill thousands of individuals a year are ignored?

Use common sense. Take ordinary precautions to keep yourself and your family members safe.

But for goodness sakes, let's keep this in perspective and let the games begin.


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