Culver wins Jo-Hi Tournament
Culver split off into two groups last Friday and Saturday, with three wrestlers traveling to Nampa, Idaho for the Rollie Lane Invitational, while everyone else headed to the Jo-Hi Tournament in Joseph.
Both parties made the most of their weekends.
In Joseph, Culver edged Grant Union to finish atop the team leaderboard with 147 points, compared to 141 points from the second-place Prospectors. At the Rollie Lane, Culver was represented by Lorenzo Vasquez, Jorge Olivera, Victor Torres and head coach J.D. Alley. Vasquez placed second at 120, Torres took fifth at 160 and Olivera came away with three wins across two days.
Culver coaches wanted to bring between four and six kids to the Rollie Lane Invitational, and left it up to them to decide.
In the end, Vasquez, Olivera and Torres accompanied Alley for the six-hour road trip to Nampa. It marked the second straight week that the trio wrestled in a large, out-of-state tournament with elite competition, after the entire team traveled to the Sierra Nevada Classic a week prior.
Vasquez advanced to the finals after winning a combined six matches. Once there, he drew a rematch with Lakeland (Idaho)'s William Edelblute, who defeated Vasquez in the Sierra Nevada Classic semifinals. This time, Edelblute won by a 7-2 advantage over Vasquez, whose only two losses of the season have come to Edelblute.
Torres rolled off three straight wins to begin the tournament, before losing a 12-4 major decision to Braydon Huber of Post Falls (Idaho). Similar to last week, however, Torres, stayed alive in the consolation bracket. In the consolation semifinals, he drew Churchill County (Nevada)'s Sean McCormick, who won the Sierra Nevada Classic last week. McCormick won, but by a slim, 3-1 decision.
"After Reno we talked about, not a big difference between number one and six," Alley said. "I made the comment to every one of them kids, 'If you got a shot at wrestling number one from Reno you'd take it, and we wouldn't count you out of winning that match.'"
Although he didn't place, the tournament was hardly a loss for Olivera. His wins included a 6-5 decision over a three-time California state champion in Boone Giullo of American Falls. He also held on for an 8-6 decision over Lakeland's Logan Siegford.
In Joseph, tournament organizers determined the field of teams and wrestlers wasn't conducive to a full, two-day tournament. Instead, preliminary brackets were established on Friday, and on Saturday, 8- and 12-man championship brackets were made.
Friday's format gave way to some key matchups. Cylus Hoke, for example, moved up from 195 to 220 and faced Neah-Kah-Nie's Tristan Bennett, a defending 2A/1A state champion and two-time state finalist. Hoke prevailed in triple overtime, dealing Bennett his first loss of the season.
Spectators also saw a rematch of last year's 120-pound state finals match between Orlando Torres and Cole Farwell of Enterprise. Farwell, the defending state champion, also claimed the rematch, pinning Torres in 5 minutes, 41 seconds.
In the Saturday brackets, Brody Piercy (106), Lane Downing (138), Jerron Rhen (160) and Hoke (195) all placed first in their brackets. Anthony Hood (120), Cooper Becker (138) and Joe Russo (170) recorded runner-up finishes.
"(There are) lots of good things we can build on — mental aspects — from both tournaments. Lots of things," Alley said.
Culver now looks ahead to the Oregon Wrestling Classic on Friday and Saturday in Redmond, where the Bulldogs look to defend their OWC championship, for the 13th straight year.