The Culver Bulldogs are once again the team to beat in Class 2A wrestling, winning the 19-team Culver Invitational May 28-29.
"It's like any wrestling weekend," Culver head coach J.D. Alley said. "There is always good, bad, and ugly, but we wound up with four champs and six kids in the finals, so I think we should be pleased with that. And we won with some varsity lineups from some larger schools there like Mazama, Ridgeview, Summit and Madras."
Although they did not do as well as Culver, the Madras White Buffalos also had a solid tournament, crowning one individual champion, and finishing ninth in the team scores.
Culver finished with 226.5 points on the day, while Ridgeview was a distant second with 172.5 points. Mazama finished third with 121 points. Rounding out the top five were Pine Eagle, 101, and Elgin with 84. They were followed by Summit, 78, Colton at 72, Rogue River, 70, Madras, 66, and Sisters, 58. Lakeview took 11th with 56 points followed by Bonanza, 48, Joseph, 42, Crane at 23, Nestucca, 20, Adrian 18, North Lake at 16, Sheridan 10, and Santiam, 8.
The Bulldogs dominated the lightweights as Aiden Guest took first at 106 pounds, Debren Sanabria was first at 113 pounds, Thadius Brown finished first at 120 pounds, and Brody Piercy took first at 126 pounds. Piercy was also named the outstanding wrestler of the meet.
"That is a great day for Brody," Alley said. "Those are things that have been goals for him and bucket list things, so I think there is a certain level of satisfaction about the day. We had seven seniors in the mix and Brody was the only one of those that reached the finals. It just wasn't quite what they had envisioned for their senior year and their final Culver Invitational. We still have some work to do."
The Madras White Buffalo who won an individual title was Reece White, who won the 182-pound weight class.
Other Madras placers included Jayvon Tovar, fifth at 120 pounds, Carlos Torres, third at 120 pounds, Collin Switzler, fourth at 170 pounds, Isaiah Martinez sixth at 170 pounds, Cael White, fourth at 170 pounds, Brady David, fourth at 182 pounds, and Alex Arreola, sixth at 195 pounds.
Other wrestlers to place in the tournament for Culver included Jordan Piercy, fourth at 126 pounds, Noel Navarro, fifth at 132 pounds, Derek Torres, second at 132 pounds, Reeden Arsenault, fifth at 138 pounds, Kelin Abbas, fourth at 152 pounds, Wyatt Corwin, fifth at 160 pounds, Anthony Hood, third at 160 pounds, Nicolas Navarro, sixth at 182 pounds, Eduardo Penaloza, third at 220 pounds and Wylie Johnson, second at 285 pounds.
Gabe Wilson, at 170, and Derek McKern, 220, also each won at least one match for the Bulldogs.
Not only did the Bulldogs have 14 wrestlers place in the boys competition, they also had a second-place finisher in the girls meet with Hensley Wachter at 143 pounds.
"We had a pretty good girls tournament. It keeps growing and even in COVID time we had 22 girls entered," Alley said. "We had girls come from all over the state. We had a girl from Adrian and one from Winston. And, Hensley finished second. I am really starting to like that girl."
Wrestling teams from all over the state got some good news on Friday when it was announced that there will be state tournaments for all six classifications this year.
Some details of the tournaments could still change, but as of Friday 1A/2A will have their state tournament at Sweet Home on Saturday, June 26, the 3A tournament will be at Redmond, also on the 26th, while the 4A tournament is scheduled for Cascade. The 5A tournament will be in Cottage Grove and the 6A tournament at Newberg, all June 25-26. The girls state tournament is currently scheduled for June 24, also at Cottage Grove. Both events that are scheduled for Cottage Grove could still be rescheduled for Thurston High School, but the remainder of the sites seem to be set.
"As a group, we have worked really hard to put this together and as far as the kids are concerned, it will be nothing different than it's ever been," Alley said. "As a group of coaches, we have to figure out how to pay for some things like officials. We have had an organization step up and fund the awards and medals, and we have had a large donation at the 6A level and probably need to explore some of that stuff, but it's going to happen. It's not going to be a club event. The school administration and bean counters can get behind it; it's still your basic OSAA event. There is a ton of people coming together. And, I can't think of a better group of people to handle the adversity that is thrown upon people from time to time than wrestling folks. I tell people that wrestlers are some of the most mentally tough people ever known to man and we as coaches are the leader of those people and we have to be tough as well and we are geared to overcome adversity. We are fighting a moving target that changes every day, but there will be a state tournament."
Sites for the regional qualifiers have also been finalized, and Culver will host the regional tournament on June 17. As of right now there will be no spectators at the state tournament due to COVID restrictions on the number of people allowed inside in one place at the same time. Whether spectators will be allowed at the regional tournaments may vary from place to place, but it is highly likely that spectators will, at the very least be limited.
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