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A Cowboy Classic - Central Oregonian

January 26, 2013
Crook County High School

After finishing third a year ago, the Crook County Cowboys are the 2013 Class 4A champions at the Oregon Wrestling Classic.

Crook County defeated Sweet Home 43-33 in the final round of the two-day dual meet format tournament, to win the championship.

The Cowboys made the tournament’s early rounds look easy. Maybe too easy.

“We knew it was going to get real on day two,” head coach Jake Huffman said following the tournament. “We weren’t sure who we were going to wrestle, but we knew it was going to get real. The 4A division has a lot of quality teams and anybody can beat anybody on any given day.”

The Cowboys opened the tournament, which was held at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds, with a 79-0 shellacking of the Douglas Trojans. The Trojans forfeited two weight classes, and the Cowboys earned 10 falls in the dual. In round two, No. 1-ranked Crook County went up against eighth-ranked North Marion. The match was nearly as lopsided as the Cowboys’ first match as they took a 71-4 victory. Eight Cowboys earned pins in the match while Trey Shores earned a technical fall.

North Marion’s lone win came from 138-pound Lucas Randall, a three-time state champion who has only lost once in his high school career.

The Cowboys continued to roll in their third and final Friday match, whipping the Sutherlin Bulldogs 76-0.

When the tournament closed on Friday, the Cowboys were scheduled to wrestle Scappoose Saturday morning in the quarterfinals. However, Henley, who had won the pool Scappoose was in, forfeited two matches for using a wrestler at an illegal weight. The result was that Scappoose was moved up to first in the pool, while Henley dropped to third. Henley immediately packed up and left the tournament, choosing not to participate in the consolation rounds on Saturday.

The change moved Madras to second in the pool, setting up a match between the Cowboys and White Buffaloes. Unfortunately, no one told Madras in advance of the change and they warmed up for an 8 a.m. consolation match only to find out that they were not wrestling until later in the day against Crook County.

The Cowboys made quick work of the White Buffaloes, winning all but two matches en route to a 69-7 blowout win. Seven Cowboys pinned their opponents in the match, while two more picked up forfeits.

Then came perhaps the strangest match of the tournament. Crook County took on the Tillamook Cheesemakers in the semifinal round.

The Cowboys jumped out to a commanding 23-0 lead before the Cheesemakers finally won a match. With two matches left to go in the dual, the Cowboys led 35-9. Unlike Crook County’s previous matches, the Cheesemakers were making the Cowboys work for their points. Hayden Bates (132), and Jason Williams (285) both had earned falls in the match, while Grayson Munn (126) picked up a technical fall. However, the remainder of the matches had been close.

Then, 10 seconds into the 113-pound match, the Cheesemakers quit. Trayton Libolt had picked up the Tillamook 113-pounder and the two had fallen hard to the mat. Instead of awarding Libolt a takedown, the official had awarded the Tillamook wrestler with a point for a dangerous move. Both wrestlers jumped up ready to resume the match.

Nevertheless, the Cheesemakers were finished. Tillamook coaches pulled their wrestler from the floor, saying that Crook County was too rough and they didn’t want to get any of their wrestlers hurt. The Cheesemakers then walked off the mat, forfeiting the remainder of the dual.

With the forfeits, Crook County won the dual 47-9.

Tillamook recovered to defeat Scappoose for third place in the tournament, while the Cowboys advanced into the championship round against the Sweet Home Huskies.

Sweet Home forfeited the opening match of the tournament, giving the Cowboys a 6-0 lead. However, when they won the 145-and 152-pound matches, the Huskies led 9-6. Dean Smith (160), and Aaron Swindle (170) both picked up falls for the Cowboys to put Crook County up 18-9. When Sweet Home forfeited the 182-pound match, the Cowboys led 24-9 and it looked like the rout was on.

However, the Huskies battled back. Sweet Home won the 195-pound match by fall. Gunnar Robirts returned the favor for the Cowboys pinning his opponent at 220 pounds. Then Sweet Home earned a pin at 285 pounds, making the score 30-21.

Sweet Home earned another fall at 106 pounds, making the score 30-27. However, the Cowboys won the next four matches to put the dual out of reach. The Huskies closed out the match with a pin at 132 pounds.

Crook County had blown Sweet Home out earlier in the year, but Huffman was quick to point out that they had used a different lineup in that dual meet.

“They sandbagged us in Lebanon,” he said. “They didn’t show their 195-pounder or heavyweight, both who won by fall tonight. They are extremely well-coached and they know how to win. We were fortunate enough to come out on top tonight.”

Johnny Avina (120), who finished the tournament with a 4-1 record including three falls, was excited about the team’s performance.

“It’s sweet,” he said following the championship. “We competed hard.”

Huffman was quick to add that although he was pleased to win the tournament, it was just one of the team’s goals for the season.

“We’re proud of you guys, but this is only part of the process,” he told his team minutes after the match ended. “It’s not the whole thing. Work starts again Monday.”

Munn and Smith both finished the tournament with perfect 5-0 records, while Dylan Blasius, Ryder Shinkle, and Libolt were 4-0. Swindle finished with a 5-1 record, while Alex Urrea, Gunner Crawford, and Jason Williams were 4-1.

The Cowboys lost just 12 matches the entire tournament, and finished with an incredible 41 falls.

“I’m just extremely proud of our kids, and I’m impressed with the amount of support that we have,” Huffman said.

The tournament is the fourth one that the Cowboys have won this year.

The team is at home on Wednesday when they host Ridgeview and La Pine with wrestling starting at 5:30 p.m.

Then the Cowboys are at the Reser Tournament of Champions, which is held at Liberty High School in Hillsboro on Friday and Saturday.

Tags Crook County High School • Publisher
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