Bulldogs claim title at Culver Invitational
The Culver Bulldogs hosted their annual Culver Invitational tournament Dec. 13-14. With 16 teams all wrestling for gold, the Bulldogs stood above them all on the podium.
Culver finished in first place with 244.5 points. Crook County's JVs took second with 179 points and La Pine bronze with 166 points.
"A year ago, we were holding a second-place trophy, so all things considered, we should be pretty happy with that performance," Culver head coach J.D. Alley said. "We scored quite a bit of points. I am not sure it was the deepest level of competition we have had at the tournament, but we did have the returning 3A state champs in the La Pine Hawks. We had good numbers and a really decent performance by the Madras White Buffalos this tournament."
The Madras White Buffalos scored 102 points to place sixth at the event.
"Right now, I am really impressed (by) how our kids are showing up," Madras head coach Brad Padgett said. "When we first talked, I talked about wrestling tough, and that is what these kids have embraced. I am getting goosebumps just talking about it. These kids have impressed what wrestling tough is and not having a give-up attitude. I call it the no-quit attitude. What we are dealing with is inexperience and lack of mat time, which is exactly where we need to be as a team."
"We have a first -ear wrestling who took sixth," he said. "This is the first tournament of his life and he comes in and takes sixth. That kid is going to be up and coming. I expect big things out of him."
Debren Sanabria started off the championship matches at 106 pounds. Sanabria wrestled Elijah Hocker, of Ridgeview, and took complete control of the match, winning by technical fall 16-1.
At 138 pounds, the Bulldogs had Anthony Hood and Braeden Chapman wrestle each other in the championship match. Hood was able to score six points in the first round and pinned teammate Chapman in the second round to claim first place.
"We showed some depth having Anthony Hood and Braeden Chapman in the finals in the same weight class," said Alley. "Chapman was a JV novice wrestler for us last year, and he made his way to the finals, pinning everyone on the way there. Cole Brown was able to get third for us, which was a bonus at 195. There was quite a few good things as far as what the potential for the future is. We made some mistakes and still need to get in better shape, but we are really starting to find some weight classes that fit us. Hopefully we can figure out what to do with heavyweight in the near future."
In the next weight class, 145, Culver state champion Lane Downing found himself matched up with Zeb Ramsden, of Joseph. Downing was able to take down Ramsden in the first round and took a 2-0 lead. In the second round, Downing chose to start at the bottom. He soon reversed the position and pinned Ramsden.
Wyatt Corwin was the next Bulldog to wrestle in the finals, and the 152-pound match between him and Victor Rodriguez, of Crook County, came down to the very last seconds of the match.
The first round was a 0-0 stalemate. Corwin was able to score on an escape in the second round, taking a 1-0 lead heading into the final round. Rodriguez escaped Corwin, tying the match at 1-1 in the very last seconds of the match. Corwin stuffed a Rodriguez takedown and eventually took a 3-1 victory.
"I think it was a great day for Wyatt Corwin and a great day for our 106-pounder Debren," Alley said. "Lane Downing gets to close out his last Culver Invite with a win and Most Outstanding Wrestler medal. I thought we did pretty good in the finals and made it exciting for the crowd, so all things were good."
At 170 pounds, Culver's Isaiah Toomey took to the mat to face Ronny Morello, of Joseph. Toomey was able to get an early takedown and near fall in the first round, taking a 6-0 lead.
They both remained standing in the second round, and Toomey quickly took down Morello and pinned him for the win.
"I knew he was going to be aggressive and try and be on my head a lot, so I had to keep him off my head," said Toomey. "I had to keep him off my head and have good reattacks off of that. I expect to win state this year because I am a lot more aggressive this year and have grown up as well. I want to try and place at the Sierra Nevada and Reser tournament this year.
"Last year we didn't do as well as we did this year, so I am glad that a lot of us were able to do well and make it to the championship rounds," Toomey said. "Some of us lost, some of us won, but over all I think we did well as a team. We need to get better and better in practice every day and just keep working hard."
Madras' Kody Zemke made it to the finals, where he faced Jonah Staigle, of Joseph. Staigle was able to take down Zemke and score a two-point near fall early in the first round. Zemke was able to score a reversal and a three- point near fall toward the end of the round, giving him a 5-4 lead.
Zemke started the second round on the bottom and was able to score one point on an escape. He took down Staigle and controlled the round, taking an 8-4 lead heading into the third round.
From the top position, Zemke was able to score on another near fall to seal an 11-5 victory.
"I went out there and gave it my all," said Zemke. "I didn't give an inch. I need to work on better setups, be more consistent on top and always work on the standup."
"I am really proud of our team," Zemke said. "First day, a lot of us came out flat, including myself. I slacked in my first my match. Realistically, it is only the second tournament of the year. I am a little rusty, first-year kids are a little jittery. All together I think we are going to be a solid team, especially if everyone is able to get their head in the game."
Zemke was the only White Buffalo to place first for Madras.
"Tonight Zemke saw that he can trust himself, especially when he had that power double," Madras coach Padgett said. "The kid is an animal on the football field, and it is just equating that football tackle with his double and he did that tonight. It was fun, and this tournament was fun."
Culver's Noel Navarro (120) made it to the final match and wrestled Dylan Mann, of La Pine. Mann was able to take an early 4-1 lead in the first round, which allowed Mann to control the rest of the match for an 8-3 decision victory over Navarro.
At 160 pounds, Hunter Augustynovich, of Culver, wrestled Ray Solis, of Crook County. In the first round, Augustynovich scored a takedown, but Solis was able to escape and Augustynovich took a 2-1 lead.
Solis scored on a reversal and a three-point near fall at the start of the second round. Augustynovich was able to score two points on a reversal himself, but Solis had a 6-4 lead heading into the final round.
Augustynovich was able to score a point on an escape in the last round but could not take Solis down for the rest of the round. Solis won a 6-5 decision.
Reece White, of Madras, made it to the championship match at 182 pounds, facing Seth Butler, of Pine Eagle. Butler scored a takedown early, but White reversed the position and the match was 2-2 at the end of the first round.
In the second round, Butler scored a reversal and two-point near fall, but it was matched by White's own reversal and two-point near fall. Butler scored one more reversal near the end of the round and took an 8-6 lead.
White scored on another reversal to tie the match at 8-8, but Butler scored on a reversal near the end of the match to earn a 10-8 decision victory over White.
"In the third round, Reece, instead of scrambling around, could have separated himself and got his one point," said Padgett. "I think that match would have been drastically different, but Reece already knew that. He came off the mat telling us what he needed to work on. This is exactly where we need to be. It is early in the season still, and I told the kids, 'This tournament was just practice.' They were able to get their live wrestling in. We drill a lot in practice, so we don't get to wrestle live too much. February is what matters."
"For the whole team with Reece and Zemke in the finals, those are our leaders for the whole team," Padgett said. "A lot of the wrestlers want to follow them. They put in a lot of hard work in the wrestling room, and I think that I am getting to see the fruit of their hard work in the practice room and all the kids wanting to follow that. I guess I am more lucky than they are because they are making me seem like I know what I am doing a little bit. I have a lot to learn myself, but this team is kind of beyond words right now for me."
The Madras White Buffalos also saw several girls reach the podium, earning top places at the tournament
"After watching our girls wrestling today, I am really confident that we have a great shot at taking home a girls state team title," Zemke said. "We have two new girls, and they came out and did really well. Our first-year boys came out here and gave their all, and I am really excited to see what is in store for us."
Padgett also had some high praise for the Lady Buffalo wrestlers.
"We have five girls that are solid and want to wrestle," said Padgett. "They are hardworking in the practice room, and that is what is paying off. The majority of them won most of their matches and won by pins. They are wrestling tough and being the dominant ones. The cool part is watching the shock and awe on the opposing girls' faces. It's like they are scared our girls are going to try and beat them up. They aren't taking it light or nice on them. I love the fire in our girls. I keep telling them if we get some more girls out, we will have a trophy for state. That is how tough these girls are at Madras High School."
The White Buffalos travel to Mountain View High School to wrestle in the Adrian Irwin Memorial Tournament Dec. 20-21. They also have a dual at Willamina Dec. 27.
The Culver Bulldogs head to Reno for the Sierra Nevada Classic Dec. 26-27 and then to Joseph for a tournament Jan. 3-4.
Moving forward, we have a bit of a short week," Alley said. "It will be a whirlwind after we get through Christmas. We still have some issues. We need to sort things out still weight-classwise, which is always a part of wrestling. We also need to find out what works best for us as a team and how we match up with everyone around the state."
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