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The Bulldogs were forced to scramble after their holiday tournament was canceled, but the results were encouraging.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Culver senior Isaiah Toomey continued his hot start to the season, going 5-0 at the Bulldogs' recent duals meet. Culver High School hosted the duals after the Sierra Nevada Classic in Reno, Nevada, was canceled.Whenever one door closes, another window opens.

That rang true last week for the Culver wrestling team, which was scheduled to take part in the Sierra Nevada Classic in Reno, Nevada, during the final week of the calendar year.

Instead, the Bulldogs hosted a six-team duals meet and ended up placing second.

For the second time this season, La Pine came into Culver and walked away with the top team score. In third place was Ridgeview, followed by Burns, Mazama and Bend in the final three positions.

The Bulldogs had to pivot quickly once the tournament was canceled due to inclement weather in the Reno area.

"Monday morning (Dec. 27), we were set to take off on our 8 a.m. bus to Reno," said head coach J.D. Alley. "Sometime late in the evening prior, the decision was made to cancel the event from that end due to weather conditions around Reno."

All dressed up with nowhere to go, Culver wasn't about to let some good practices go to waste. Alley got on the horn with a handful of nearby teams — including a few that were also expecting to make the trip to Reno.

The eventual result was an impromptu set of duals on Thursday, Dec. 30, at Culver High School.

"We tried to do something to put together some matches in a last-second situation," said Alley. "It worked out pretty good. A lot of our kids got five matches, and I think we got better."

If there was one downside to the proceedings, Alley said, it was that Culver was already scheduled to face a few of these teams later in the season. The Sierra Nevada Classic, on the other hand, would have provided the Bulldogs with a chance to grapple with more varied competition.

Nevertheless, the Bulldogs were able to take away some positives from a seemingly negative situation.

Culver opened up the meet by taking down 6A Bend and 4A Mazama, before dropping duals with Ridgeview and La Pine. The Bulldogs needed a big win over Burns to secure second place, and they got just that, winning 52-26.

As for individual performances, Isaiah Toomey continued his impressive run to open the season. The senior 170-pounder went 5-0 last week, picking up two pins, a technical fall and two major decisions.

Other standouts included Cole Rahi at 106 pounds, Reeden Arsenault at 145 and Kelin Abbas at 152. All three wrestlers picked up three victories on the mat last week. Meanwhile, the team's heavyweight, Wylie Johnson, picked up two wins at 285 pounds, while Santos Navarro and Thadius Brown also added a pair of wins for the Bulldogs.

Now, Culver travels east for its next set of matches.

First, the Bulldogs will wrestle in some duals out at Elgin High School Thursday night.

On Jan. 7-8, Culver will take part in the JoHi Invitational tournament hosted by Joseph High School, one of Culver's league opponents in 2A/1A Special District 4.

"Should be another packed weekend of wrestling for the Bulldogs," remarked Alley. "This Joseph trip is primarily our league. We can't do well at state if we don't do well in our league and qualify for state. So, we have to see how we stack up. From that standpoint, it's a pretty important trip for us. It's always a fun trip."


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