PORTLAND — After 38 long years, the Cowboys of Crook County are again state wrestling champions.
Collbran Meeker and Jason Williams won individual titles for the Cowboys at 138 and 285 pounds Saturday as Crook County ran away with the Class 4A state championship, its third state title in school history and first since 1975.
The Cowboys, who locked up the 4A title before the finals even started Saturday night at Memorial Coliseum, scored 290 points, easily defeating runner-up Henley of Klamath Falls, which ended the two-day meet with 196 points.
Sweet Home placed third with 161 points, and Cascade took fourth with 126.
“We came out of the gate strong," said Crook County coach Jake Huffman, whose team produced 12 quarterfinal winners on Friday, the first day of the tournament. “Trayton Libolt at 106 pounds won our first match of the tournament with a pin, and then Jason (Williams) ended the championship with a pin in our final match. ... That just put a stamp on it."
Libolt, Grayson Munn (126 pounds), Meeker (138), Gunner Crawford (195), Gunnar Robirts (220) and Williams (285) all wrestled in the state finals Saturday, with Meeker and Williams each winning state for the first time.
Meeker, a sophomore and the No. 1 seed in his bracket, held off Cascade senior Marcus Andrews, 5-0, to start the celebrating for the Cowboys. Williams, a junior who entered the tournament unseeded, capped his impressive run at state with a first-period pin against Siuslaw’s Ryan Connor, the No. 4 seed. The Crook County heavyweight took out the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 seeds en route to his 285-pound championship.
“Before districts, I just got it in my head, ‘Don’t be cautious and come out swinging,’" Williams said. “This is an awesome way to end the tournament for me and our team."
A whopping 16 wrestlers placed on Saturday for the Cowboys. In addition to their six finalists, Hayden Bates took third at 126 pounds, Ryder Shinkle placed fourth at 138, Alex Urrea was third at 152, and Dean Smith placed third at 160.
“I’m super happy for our kids and so excited to share this with our community," Huffman said. “They’re so supportive of wrestling, and it’s been over 30 years since our last championship. ... We’ve got a great mat club and a great middle school program. By the time you’re an eighth-grader, you can’t wait to be a Cowboy wrestler."
Redmond High also had a landmark day, taking third at the 5A tournament. Hermiston won its sixth 5A state title in seven years by scoring 246 points. Last year’s champ, Dallas, took second with 181.5 points, and the Panthers took home the third-place trophy with 167.5 points, their best finish since taking third at the 6A state tournament in 2007.
Gunnar Sigado won the 182-pound title for Redmond and Sumner Saulsbury took the 220-pound championship for the Panthers. Redmond’s Chance Lindquist (145 pounds) and Sarek Shields (152) both placed second at state.
“This is the icing on the cake for a great year," Redmond coach Kris Davis said. “These are tough kids."
Sigado, the No. 3 seed, rallied back from a 6-1 deficit in his match against Silverton’s Quinn Dreher, the No. 1 seed, before pinning the Silverton senior with a cradle in the third period. Saulsbury, who was 0-2 at 220 pounds at the 6A tournament last year, stunned West Albany’s Steely Smith by a score of 7-4 in the 220-pound final, handing the junior his first defeat of the year.
Central Oregon wrestlers shined all day Saturday at the 5A and 4A tournaments. Ridgeview’s Boomer Fleming claimed the first state title for the first-year high school after going 4-0 in the 182-pound 4A bracket. Fleming finished the season with a record of 34-0 and won all of his matches at state with pins.
“That’s why I came here," Fleming said about choosing to go attend Redmond’s new high school. “I wanted to help start a program."
A pair of Madras wrestlers placed in the 4A tourney. Jared DuPont took fifth at 120 pounds, and Miguel Vasquez finished third at 132.
Mountain View sophomore J.T. Ayers highlighted the tournament for Bend wrestlers. Ayers took second at 113 pounds as the Cougars placed 13th overall. Other 5A tournament notable finishes included Mountain View’s Kaleb Winebarger taking fourth at 126 and Summit’s Joaquin Reyes placing fifth at 170. Redmond’s Jacob Breitling added a fourth-place finish at 285, and the Panthers’ Tanner Barichio placed fourth at 160.