The Crook County Cowboys may not be the best team in the state right now, but they are willing to challenge the best.
On Friday, May 28, the Cowboys took on the defending Class 6A state champion Newberg Tigers, along with other top teams at the Friday Night Lights Tournament in Redmond. Then, on Thursday, June 3, the Cowboys were on the mat again, taking on both Newberg and Mountain View.
"To get better you have got to wrestle tough guys," Crook County head coach Jake Gonzales said. "We don't have to wrestle 6A teams, but we wrestle a tough schedule. We wrestle a tough schedule every year."
It turns out that Newberg has one of the best teams in the history of Oregon high school wrestling.
On Friday, the Tigers blanked Crook County 74-0 in the opening match of the night. Crook County rebounded to whip Cascade 76-3 and Ridgeview 54-24 in the remaining matches Friday night.
On Thursday, Newberg showed just how strong they really are as they competed against both Mountain View and Crook County with both their varsity and JV squads.
In the opening round, Newberg's JV squad and Mountain View finished in a 34-34 tie, but Newberg held the tiebreaker. While that was going on, Newberg's varsity squared off with Crook County and came up with a 56-10 victory. In round two, Newberg's varsity rolled past Mountain View 57-3, while the Newberg JV team defeated Crook County 45-31. Then, in the nightcap, Mountain View rolled past Crook County 51-15.
Friday in Redmond, the Tigers pinned all but four Cowboys in their blowout victory. Robert Lacey went the distance at 120, but lost by major decision to Newberg's Zachary Keinonen. At 138, Trevor Martin fell 5-1 to Micah Worthington. Alex Vail also went the distance, losing by major decision to Price Pothier at 170 pounds, and Ben Sather fell 5-0 to Alec Love at 220 pounds.
The Cowboys rebounded to roll past Cascade. Jackson Wainwright picked up a forfeit at 106, Mason Lacey earned a fall at 113, Robert Lacy and Steven Ware received forfeits at 120 and 126, respectively, as the Cowboys raced out to a 24-0 lead. Crook County continued to roll with Tucker Bonner picking up a pin at 132, Garrett Cobb earning a pin at 138, Wyatt Wood getting a fall at 145 pounds and Collier Buffington, 152, and Vail at 160 pounds both winning by forfeit as Crook County extened their lead to 54-0.
Cascade picked up their lone win of the evening as Lance Van Hoose decisioned Gage Hanson 9-2 at 170 pounds. Brayden Duke, 182, and Ray Solis at 195 both then won by fall before Sather earned a 10-0 major decision over Waylon Wymore. Jubal Brumble then won by forfeit at 285 pounds for the final margin.
In the nightcap, the Cowboys jumped out to a big early lead, and were in control throughout the match as they easily defeated Ridgeview. In the match, Wainwright, 106, won by fall, Mason Lacey, 113, by forfeit, Robert Lacey, at 120, earned a 7-0 decision and Mitch Warren, 126, won by fall as the Cowboys took a big early lead. Tucker Bonner, 132, won by forfeit, then Cobb picked up a technical fall at 138, before Wood earned a forfeit victory at at 145.
Trailing 38-0, Ridgeview finally picked up a win when Daniel Jaramillo pinned Buffington at 152 pounds. Vail got the Cowboys back on track with a first-round fall over Owen Lee at 160 pounds. The two teams traded victories the rest of the way. Ridgeview's Ethyne Reid pinned Hanson at 170, Duke got the Cowboys back on track with a major decision over Anthony Lochner, and Ray Solis picked up the final Crook County win with a first-round pin over Justin Reason.
Ridgeview closed out the night with a pair of victories as Cole Jackson and Logan Shenk picked up first-round falls over Sather and Brumble.
On Thursday, both Newberg and Crook County juggled their lineups, but the Cowboys still struggled to compete with the Tigers. Bonner picked up Crook County's first win against the Newberg varsity with a 9-1 major decision over Ethan Ritchie at 126 pounds. Duke picked up Crook County's next victory with a 8-2 decision over Kyle Kelley at 182 pounds, and Sather picked up the final Crook County victory with a 7-4 decision over Hayden Hampton.
The Newberg JV team jumped out to a 12-0 lead over the Cowboys with victories at 106 and 113. Warren then picked up a fall over Coleman Croft at 120 pounds, Ware earned a 9-1 major decision over Luke Augustus at 126 and Cash Wells pinned Harrison Womack at 132 at the Cowboys took a 16-12 lead. But Boulder Friesen then pinned Martin at 138 as the Tigers regained the lead.
Wood then earned a 9-5 decision over Tre Frederick to make the score 19-18 Crook County. It was the last lead the Cowboys would have as Newberg won the next three matches to take the lead for good.
First Nolan Womack pinned Buffington, then Cougar Friesen won a tight 5-3 decision over Vail and Gavin Korkeakoski pinned Hanson.
Duke picked up a forfeit at 182 to keep the Cowboys in striking distance and Sather pinned Alex Valdez-Espinoza as Crook County closed to 33-31. However, with Crook County not having a heavyweight for the night, Newberg's JV had already wrapped up the match. Robert McGillvray of Newberg then defeated Hayden Hilderbrand by disqualification before the Tigers picked up the forfeit at 285 to close out the match.
In the final match of the night, the Mountain View Cougars took control early as they cruised to victory over the Cowboys. The Cougars led 36-0 before the Cowboys were able to score a point.
Vail picked up the first Crook County victory, earning a 5-3 decision over Elijah McCourtney. Ray Solis, 195, and Ben Sather, 220, then picked up pins for the Cowboys before the Cougars picked up a forfeit win at 285 in the final match of the night.
"We will be ready to go," Gonzales said of regionals and state. "It is all practice until our state qualifier on Saturday, June 19 and then the state tournament on June 25 and 26. We have to get tougher. We have to get better. We are going to go back to work and they are going to train their butts off. We just have got to get better."
The Cowboys are at Roseburg this Saturday, then are off until June 19 when the regional meet will be held at Redmond High School. Starting times and how many spectators are going to be allowed are still to be determined.
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