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State Champions - Central Oregonian

February 25, 2013
Crook County High School

Central Oregonian

The Crook County Cowboys left no doubt that they were the dominant team at the OSAA Class 4A State Wrestling Championships.

The Cowboys, who last won the championship in 1975, ran away from the field, winning by nearly 100 points. The 290 points Crook County scored is the third-highest total in state tournament history behind only Hermiston who won the 2009 Class 5A title with 303 points, and Roseburg who won the 2010 6A title with 298.5 points.

“It feels better than I thought it would,” said Crook County head coach Jake Huffman. “It’s a great feeling to be able to share with these kids and the community.”

Henley finished a distant second with 196 points, while Sweet Home finished third with 161 points. Defending champion Cascade wound up fourth with 126 points, and Tillamook finished fifth with 104 points.

The Cowboys nearly clinched the tournament on the opening day. Crook County held a 55.5-point lead at the end of day one while placing 12 wrestlers into the semifinal round.

By the time the semifinals were finished, the Cowboys had already wrapped up the championship — the only question was how big the final margin would be.

It was team depth that won the tournament for Crook County. Seventeen Cowboys placed in the tournament, including two individual champions, and four runner-ups. By contrast, Henley came away from the tournament with four individual titles, while Sweet Home finished with three individual title holders.

“It was absolutely a team effort,” Huffman said. “Everybody on the team was committed the entire year. We didn’t know who was going to step up and when, but it was unlikely heroes all the time and the kids stepped up again and had a great tournament.”

What made the Crook County performance especially impressive is that they had just three seniors on their roster.

“I’m really proud of the team,” said senior 160-pounder Dean Smith, who finished third in his weight class. “They are young, but they’ve got more go than anyone here.”

“Individually I wanted more. I’m definitely not satisfied, but it’ll have to do.” added fellow senior Gunner Crawford, who finished second at 195 pounds. “The whole team pitched in with a bunch of points. I feel like because we all contributed to our team getting this far, that at heart we are all state champions.”

“It feels good,” added the Cowboys’ third senior, Dawson Barber, who finished fifth at 145 pounds. “I’ve never placed at the state tournament before and that was my goal all year. I feel that I wrestled pretty good and the team is doing great.”

The two Cowboy champions at the tournament were both underclassmen. Sophomore, Collbran Meeker, won the first Cowboy championship of the night with a 5-0 victory over Marcus Andrews of Cascade at 138 pounds. Then, junior heavyweight Jason Williams capped off the night with a first-round pin over Siuslaw’s Ryan Connor in the final match of the evening.

Following the win, Williams leaped into the air pumping his fist, then ran into the arms of Huffman who lifted the 285-pounder high in the air in celebration.

“I’m really glad that we brought some individual state champions home,” Huffman said. “They worked hard all year. They didn’t always win all their matches, but they won it when it counted and that’s a testament to them.”

Meeker, who finished second his freshman year, was pleased with both his and the team’s performance.

“I’m really excited,” he said. “It’s about time we stepped up. I think we were more focused coming into the tournament this year. We kind of came with a little vengeance and attitude.”

Williams was also excited.

“It’s pretty amazing,” he said. “Truthfully the full effects of it haven’t kicked in yet. It’s a little dazing at first. The team championship is just a bonus to my excitement. It’s all mental. I realized that I was a better wrestler than I thought I was. It’s must amazing to wrestle for Crook County.”

With six wrestlers in the finals, the Cowboys nearly had two other champions.

Trayton Libolt held a 5-2 lead going into the final round of his 106-pound match only to give up three third-period points. Trailing by one, Libolt appeared to have escaped at the end of regulation, sending the match into overtime. However, no points were awarded as he fell 6-5 to Collin Purinton of Banks.

“We had a ton of placers and six kids in the finals, so that was pretty good,” Libolt said. “But I didn’t wrestle how I should have in the final. I will just keep working on it and do better next year.”

In another close match, Grayson Munn was edged by Henley’s Connor Noonan in the 126-pound final. Noonan earned an early takedown. Although Munn was in control for most of the remainder of the match, he was unable to score any points falling 2-0 to Noonan.

“Our team is dominating and it’s awesome,” Munn said. “It would have been nice to be the state champ, but I feel like I?wrestled really well and I can’t complain.”

The two other Cowboy finalists, Crawford, and Gunnar Robirts (220 pounds) both lost by fall.

“I don’t really know what to say,” said Robirts. “I just wrestled hard. I had a good tournament and the reason I got second is because I was wrestling a two-time returning state champion. So I’m pretty happy with how I did. And the team is doing great. We wrestled really well and I’m just excited and happy to be part of our team right now.”

A host of other Cowboys also had strong performances at the tournament.

In addition to Smith, Hayden Bates (126), and Alex Urrea (152) also finished third. Bates lost to Noonan 7-3 in the semifinals then came back through the consolation rounds to pin Molalla’s Duke Hebdon in the third- and fourth-place match.

“I’m disappointed and you know I’m not satisfied,” Bates said. “I’m pretty happy with third place, but I’m not satisfied.”

Meanwhile, Urrea, who lost 7-2 in his semifinal match, came back to win the third-and fourth-place match 10-3 over Travis Thompson of Banks.

“It feels good to finish out with a win,” Urrea said. “I was hanging my head when I lost in the semis, but you’ve just got to see it through and come back hard.”

Placing fourth for the Cowboys was 138-pounder Ryder Shinkle. Shinkle lost 4-3 in the semifinals, then was tied 6-6 late in his third and fourth place match against Tee Nguyen of Klamath Union before falling 10-7.

“It’s ridiculous how we’ve been doing,” Shinkle said. “It’s a big step up. We’ve changed some things around this year and it was definitely for the better. We have the want and we have the try. We have kids that just want it more than their opponent. You can never be satisfied. There’s no doubt that the offseason wrestling is going to pay off again this year.”

In addition to Barber, Brendan Harkey (160), and Curtis Crouch (182) also placed fifth, while Clark Woodward (170) and Zach Smith (195) finished sixth.

“I wish I could have been with the team all year,” said Harkey who missed most of the season after an injury in football. “It’s real upsetting, but I’m alright with where I placed for not wrestling all season.”

Crouch was more pleased.

“All I wanted this year was to place and I ended up in the top five, so that’s awesome,” he said. “The team did great and we should be even stronger next year.”

“I’m not going to lie,” Woodward said. “I would like to have done better, but our young kids showed up to wrestle the whole season.”

Although it’s been 38 years since the last Crook County championship, fans may not have to wait as long for the team to win again.

With 14 state placers returning, as well as five other wrestlers with state tournament experience, the Cowboys should be strong again next season.

“They are the baddest mamma jammas in the county,” said Culver head coach J.D. Alley, who’s team finished second in Class 2A, while congratulating Huffman following the tournament.

“I just want to say a big thank you to our fans and our coaches for always being there,” said Crawford.

I love Prineville,” added Huffman. “I love Crook County, and I love the Cowboys.”

OSAA State Wrestling Results

Class 4A team scores — 1. Crook County, 290. 2. Henley, 196. 3. Sweet Home, 161. 4. Cascade, 126. 5. Tillamook, 104. 6. Scappoose, 78.5. 7. Klamath Union, 76. 8. Estacada, 59. 9. McLoughlin, 53. 10. North Marion, 48. 11. Ridgeview, 47. 12. Banks, 42. 13. Phoenix, 39.5. 14. Madras 39.5. 15. Ontario, Stayton, 33. 17. Baker, 30. 18. La Grande, 27.5. 19. Gladstone, 26. 20. Siuslaw, 25. 21. Central, 24. 22. Brookings-Harbor, 23. 23. Molalla, 21. 24. Hidden Valley, 18. 25. Newport, 16. 26. North Valley, 14.5. 27. Elmira, South Umpqua, 11. 29. Mazama, 7. 30. Junction City, 6. 31. Sutherlin, 4. 32. Cottage Grove, 3. 33. Douglas, Yamhill-Carlton, 2. 35. Astoria, North Bend, Philomath, Taft, 0.

Class 4A Individual results (top six placers)

106 — 1. Collin Purinton, Banks. 2. Trayton Libolt, Crook County. 3. Tyler Schilling, Sweet Home. 4. Kurt Mode, Scappoose. 5. Justin Coon, Tillamook. 6. Chris Bowers, South Umpqua.

113 — 1. Tyler Scott, Henley. 2. Quinton Hook, Henley. 3. Logan Humphrey, Cascade. 4. Justin Nicholson, Sweet Home. 5. Luke Valle, North Valley. 6. Blake McNall, Gladstone.

120 — 1. Ronnie Bresser, Henley. 2. Donny Wenlund, Estacada. 3. Whatt Finch, Gladstone. 4. Cole Skramstad, McLoughlin. 5. Jarred Dupont, Madras. 6. Jordan Taylor, Stayton.

126 — 1. Connor Noonan, Henley. 2. Grayson Munn, Crook County. 3. Hayden Bates, Crook County. 4. Duke Hebdon, Molalla. 5. Austyn Snow, Phoenix. 6. Eric Nunez, Ontario.

132 — 1. Colton Schilling, Sweet Home. 2. Zech Bresser, Henley. 3. Miguel Vasquez, Madras. 4. Logan Weeks, Tillamook. 5. Kody Prulhiere, Tillamook. 6. Ryan Middleton, La Grande.

138 — 1. Collbran Meeker, Crook County. 2. Marcus Andrews, Cascade. 3. Tee Nguyen, Klamath Union. 4. Ryder Shinkle, Crook County. 5. Tavis Hodgen, McLoughlin. 6. Rowdy Wells, Mazama.

145 — 1. Lucas Randall, North Marion. 2. Cole Hannan, Brookings-Harbor. 3. Trevor Anderson, Klamath Union. 4. Jacob Davidson, Estacada. 5. Dawson Barber, Crook County. 6. Trever Olson, Sweet Home.

152 — 1. Tyler Cowger, Sweet Home. 2. Spencer Crawford, Cascade. 3. Alex Urrea, Crook County. 4. Travis Thompson, Banks. 5. Travis Cole, Estacada. 6. Micha Kawano, Tillamook.

160 — 1. Gary Jantzer, Henley. 2. Ismael Rubio, Phoenix. 3. Dean Smith, Crook County. 4. Jonas Ayela-Sanchez, Tillamook. 5. Brendan Harkey, Crook County. 6. Caleb Woodworth, La Grande.

170 — 1. Tyler Howe, Cascade. 2. Brayden Moller, McLoughlin. 3. Chase Anderson, Klamath Union. 4. William Prince, Tillamook. 5. Isaiah Goodrich, Scappoose. 6. Clark Woodward, Crook County.

182 — 1. Boomer Fleming, Ridgeview. 2. Noah Stepp, Central. 3. Stephen Spenst, Baker. 4. Bailey Apon, Scappoose. 5. Curtis Crouch, Crook County. 6. Dylan Blasius, Crook County.

195 — 1. Wade Paulus, Sweet Home. 2. Gunner Crawford, Crook County. 3. Mitch Mirande, Klamath Union. 4. Brad Hyatt, Hidden Valley. 5. Phelan Lund, Ridgeview. 6. Zach Smith, Crook County.

220 — 1. Cody Crawford, Cascade. 2. Gunnar Robirts, Crook County. 3. Devin Ray, Scappoose. 4. Dylan Smith, Stayton. 5. Eli Noonan, Henley. 6. Tyson Walton, Baker.

285 — 1. Jason Williams, Crook County. 2. Ryan Connor, Siuslaw. 3. Zach Gill, Sweet Home. 4. Gabriel Gonzalez, Ontario. 5. Branden Bailey, Scappoose. 6. Brennan Patterson, North Marion.

Other team scores (top six teams only)

Class 6A — 1. David Douglas, 146. 2. Oregon City, 126.5. 3. Roseburg, 120. 4. Hillsboro, 117.5. 5. McMinnville, 87. 6. Crater, 80.

Class 5A — 1. Hermiston, 246. 2. Dallas, 181.5. 3. Redmond, 167.5. 4. Sandy, 96. 5. Eagle Point, 89. 6. Lebanon, 87.

Class 3A — 1. Glide, 205. 2. Willamina, 180. 3. Riverside, 121.5. 4. Nyssa, 117. 5. Vale, 114. 6. Burns, 109.5.

Class 1A/2A — 1. Lowell, 115. 2. Culver, 89.5. 3. Monroe, 84. 4. Crane, 76 5. Central Linn, 74. 6. Oakland, 48.

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