Cowboys flex muscle, dominate district
The Crook County High School wrestling team showed their depth as they won the Intermountain Conference wrestling championship Saturday in Redmond.
Nineteen of the 22 Cowboys entered in the tournament qualified for state, 12 reached the championship round, and five won individual titles as Crook County outpointed second-place Redmond 396 to 363.
Ridgeview was a distant third with 194 points, while Pendleton took fourth, 137, Hood River Valley fifth, 73, and The Dalles finished sixth with just 38 points.
"We trained extremely hard and I expected a lot out of my guys," said head coach Jake Gonzales, who was named coach of the year for the district. "I believe a ton in them and sometimes they don't, and that makes it hard. But today, they stepped up to the occasion. They stepped up to the training. They stepped up to the expectations that I have in the wrestling room and I think it shows. This is a stepping stone. Next week is when it really matters."
Crook County will take 20 individuals to state, as freshman McKenna Duran finished fourth at the Girls South Regional Tournament, which was held in Cottage Grove on Friday. By doing so, she qualified for the girls state championships. It is the first time that Crook County has qualified a girl for the state tournament.
"I wasn't going to the tournament to qualify," Duran said, who wrestled at 135 pounds. "If I qualified that was exciting, but I wasn't going to qualify because I am a freshman so I have three more years. But then I qualified, so I'm really excited. I feel like I wrestled really good. I'm super excited and I want to be the first girl to have my name in the mat room because we have those plaques in the mat room for state placers."
Duran won her first two matches by fall, then lost to Shayla McNulty of Eagle Point in the semifinals. Duran rebounded to win her consolation semifinal match over Lucy Roache of Cascade by a 9-0 major decision, before falling to Fatima Albarran of Bend in the third- and fourth-place match.
Isabel Sherman also wrestled for Crook County at district, competing at 145 pounds. However, she did not get a victory.
The best for last
The Cowboys have struggled at times this year, dropping dual meets to Mountain View, Redmond, and twice to Newberg. However, the Cowboys looked strong at district.
With the championship round starting at 285 pounds and going in reverse order, Crook County did not have anyone in the finals until 185 pounds, where senior Ben Sather defeated teammate Ray Soliz, a junior, by an 11-5 decision to earn a district championship.
"It feels good, but we still have work to do at state," Sather said. "We have 19 going on the bus and I'm feeling pretty confident that we can win it this year. My individual goal is to just go out there and let it fly and have a lot of fun, and hopefully win a state title."
Sather's victory would repeat a common theme on the night. At 170 pounds, two Cowboy juniors duked it out, with Brayden Duke pinning Gage Hanson in the finals.
"It feels nice to move down to a lighter weight," said Duke, who has been wrestling at 182 pounds for most of the season. "More mobile, more normal. I think the team did good. So, I think we set ourself up in a good spot for next weekend."
At 132 pounds, it was once again two Cowboys in the finals, with Trevor Martin, a senior, taking a hard-fought 13-9 decision over sophomore Cash Wells.
"It was pretty fun, and I'm just thankful that God blessed me with this opportunity," said Martin, who missed district a year ago with a serious leg injury. "I just couldn't be more thankful. The coaches have been there the whole time. We are tough, we just keep going, all of us. It's nerve wracking wrestling a teammate, because we never quit. All that's left is a state title baby."
At 120 pounds, two more Cowboys competed in the finals, with junior Tucker Bonner earning an 18-3 technical fall over freshman Robert Lacey.
"I think the team came together at just the right time in the season," Bonner said. "We had some rough patches there at the beginning. But I think we are in a good spot right now. At state, I'm going to go out and wrestle my heart out and do what I need to do for my team."
The final Cowboy champion was junior Mitch Warren, who took a 6-3 decision over Logan Hill of Redmond in their 113-pound championship match.
"It feels really good because after fighting all those other really hard duals and coming up short, we just showed them what a full team can do," said Warren. "It might have been just their varsity that beats us, but our JV don't get enough credit; they are the reason we are winning these big tournaments because they are coming up against top tier varsity wrestlers and they are still succeeding. I feel great, now I'm on top of districts there is only one more thing on the list, and that is top of the podium at state. I've put in the time and put in the work. Everyone says trust the process, and I have started trusting the process and it has taken me in good places."
Other Cowboys to earn second-place finishes were freshman Jackson Wainwright, 106 pounds, senior Steven Ware, 126 pounds, and junior Wyatt Wood, 138 pounds.
Also qualifying for state were freshman Mason Lacey, third at 113 pounds; sophomore Garrett Cobb, third at 138 pounds; sophomores Collier Buffington and Ross McKinney, third and fourth, respectively, at 145 pounds; freshman Jeffrey Schuler, fourth at 152 pounds; senior Alex Vail, third at 160 pounds; and senior Hayden Hilderbrand, third at 220 pounds.
Although they did not qualify for state, the remaining three Cowboys all placed in the tournament as Kody Knudtson finished fifth at 152 pounds, Colton Porfily fifth at 160 pounds and Joseph Miller, fifth at 285 pounds
"Its COVID season, so it's a little bit different there," Gonzales said. "We wrestled a pretty tough schedule so that's dual meets. The important part is the post season — district and the state tournament. I want to win all of that stuff, but at the end of the day, it's practice for the state tournament."
The Cowboys were able to outpoint Redmond despite the Panthers having 25 individual placers and four district champions. Redmond qualified 16 wrestlers for the state tournament, while Ridgeview has nine state qualifiers, Pendleton seven, Hood River Valley three and The Dalles two.
"I just want my guys to fight for six minutes and compete hard," Gonzales said of his goals for the team at state. "Go Cowboys."
The state tournament will be held Friday and Saturday, June 25-25 in Cottage Grove, with only Class 5A teams at that site. Class 6A will compete at Newberg, Class 4A at Cascade, 3A at Ridgeview, and Class A and 2A at Sweet Home.
Team scores – 1. Crook County, 399. 2. Redmond, 363. 3. Ridgeview, 194. 4. Pendleton, 137. 5. Hood River Valley, 73. 6. The Dalles, 38.
106 – 1. Dawson Tremper, Pendleton. 2. Jackson Wainwright, Crook County. 3. Braden Overbay, Ridgeview. 4. Casen Barkely, Redmond. 5. Hailey Lakin, Redmond.
113 – 1. Mitch Warren, Crook County. 2. Logan Hill, Redmond. 3. Mason Lacey, Crook County. 4. Kore Medina, Redmond.
120 – 1. Tucker Bonner, Crook . 2. Robert Lacey, Crook County. 3. Ansen Widing, Redmond. 4. Elijah Hocker, Ridgeview. 5. Owen Golter, Pendleton.
126 – 1. Kagen Lawrence, Redmond. 2. Steven Ware, Crook County. 3. Gabe Browning, Pendleton. 4. Jaime Rodriguez, Hood River Valley. 5. Jose Terraza, Redmond. 6. Conner Blair, The Dalles.
132 – 1. Trevor Martin, Crook County. 2. Cash Wells, Crook County. 3. Carson Farlow, Hood River Valley. 4. Cutter Woollard, Redmond. 5. Kellen Tanner, Redmond. 6. Angel Oregon, The Dalles.
138 – 1. Junior Downing, Redmond. 2. Wyatt Wood, Crook County. 3. Garrett Cobb, Crook County. 4. Steven Cassell, Ridgeview. 5. Jason Vargas, Redmond. 6. Lane Chandler, Hood River Valley.
145 – 1. Kole Davis, Redmond. 2. Jack Lieuallen, Pendleton. 3. Collier Buffington, Crook County. 4. Ross McKinney, Crook County. 5. Grant Clark, Pendleton.
152 – 1. Daniel Jaramillo, Ridgeview. 2. Collin Primus, Pendleton. 3. Joseph Downing, Redmond. 4. Jeffrey Schuler, Crook County. 5. Kody Knudtson, Crook County. 6. Jace Torres, Redmond.
160 – 1. Ethyne Reid, Ridgeview. 2. Dylan Lee, Redmond. 3. Alex Vail, Crook County. 4. Owen Lee, Ridgeview. 5. Colton Porfily, Crook County. 6. Conner Tennant, Hood River Valley.
170 – 1. Brayden Duke, Crook County. 2. Gage Hanson, Crook County. 3. Rylen Castino, Ridgeview. 4. Marquies Sagapolutele, The Dalles. 5. Colt Storey, Redmond. 6. Chad Spitz, Redmond.
182 – 1. Ben Sather, Crook County. 2. Ray Solis, Crook County. 3. Anthony Lochner, Ridgeview. 4. Taylor Moorehouse, The Dalles. 5. Ryan Batti, Redmond. 6. Justin Reason, Ridgeview.
195 – 1. Abraham Tinajero, Hood River Valley. 2. Kenyth Kettle, Redmond. 3. Patrick Simpson, Pendleton. 4. William Witcraft, Redmond.
220 – 1. Austin Carter, Redmond. 2. Isaac Urbina, Pendleton. 3. Hayden Hilderbrand, Crook County. 4. Brogan Halsey, Redmond. 5. J. Daniel Carillo, Ridgeview.
285 – 1. Logan Shenk, Ridgeview. 2. Jax Cumming, Redmond. 3. Jacob Griffin, Pendleton. 4. Ashton Fields, Redmond. 5. Joseph Miller, Crook County.
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