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Record Breakers - Central Oregonian
March 4, 2014Crook County High School
Amazing, awesome, phenomenal, ridiculous, indescribable, insane, sick — just a few of the words that Crook County High School wrestlers used to describe their record-breaking performance at the 2014 OSAA State Wrestling Championships, held at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland last weekend.
All season the Crook County High School coaching staff had been clear that they not only wanted to win a second-consecutive state championship, but they wanted to break the state meet all-classification scoring record of 303 points, set by Hermiston in 2009.
However, no one could have imagined the performance that the Cowboys delivered at the state championships.
“We knew that the record was a realistic goal at the beginning of the year,” Crook County Head Coach Jake Huffman said following the tournament. “With the points that we scored last year, and the season that we had, we knew we could do something special, but I don’t think any of us would have believed what we have here. It’s unheard of.”
Of the 23 Cowboys who qualified for the state championships, five won state championships, 11 reached the weight-class finals, and 20 placed in the tournament.
On top of that, the Cowboys shattered the tournament scoring record by more than 100 points — scoring an incredible 406.5 points.
If not a national record, the point-total is certainly one of the highest scores in U.S. history. Graham High School, of St. Paris, Ohio, has the previous highest score that has been confirmed with 404.5 points.
The Cowboys had already eclipsed the state record by the end of the championship semifinals Saturday morning.
Henley High School of Klamath Falls finished a distant second with 159 points, while Scappoose was third (139.5), and North Marion captured the fourth-place trophy with 63 points.
Trayton Libolt (113), Kurt Mode (120), Colbran Meeker (145), Tyler Berger (152), and Trevor Rasmussen (220) all won individual championships for the Cowboys.
It was just the seventh time in tournament history that a team has finished with five weight-class champions, and just one short of the tournament record of six, set by Lowell High School.
The Cowboys could easily have had even more champions. Gunnar Robirts, the No. 1 seed at 182 pounds, appeared to pin Isaiah Goodrich of Scappoose in the first round of their weight-class championship. However, the fall was not called and Goodrich came back to pin Robirts in the third round. Heavyweight Jason Williams also had an early lead in his match prior to being pinned by Zane Wardwell of Elmira.
Brent Bannon (126), Hayden Bates (132), Brendan Harkey (160) and Clark Woodward (170) also finished second in the tournament.
Placing third for the Cowboys were Johnny Avina (113), Grayson Munn (132), and Ryder Shinkle (138). Cole Ovens (145) finished in fourth, Aaron Swindle (182) finished fifth, while Terran Libolt (106), John Crites (152), Zach Smith (195), and Curtis Crouch (220) all finished in sixth.
Trayton Libolt set the tone for the Cowboys in the championship round when he took down Colin Purinton, of Banks, early in the first round and then held on for a 4-3 win. Purinton had defeated Libolt for the state title at 106 pounds in 2013.
“That’s what I’ve been working for all year,” Libolt said following the match. “That’s been the main goal for me right there (to beat Purinton).
Mode completely dominated his 120-pound match against No. 1 seed Jacheal McMillon, of Gladstone, taking a 14-0 major decision to win the Cowboys' second title in two attempts.
“It’s great,” he said. “It all came down to the training. Once I was out there on the mat it just took its course.”
The Cowboy win streak was stopped when three-time state champion Thaddeus Nelson pinned Bannon in the first round. Although he was disappointed with the outcome of his match, Bannon was still pleased with how the tournament had gone.
“It’s a lot better than last year since I didn’t place,” He said. “And there’s only room for improvement.”
The 132-pound championship was a hard-fought match with Henley’s Zech Bresser finally coming out on top 5-2. Earlier in the day, Bresser had knocked Munn out of the championship bracket with a 6-3 win. Munn appeared to turn Bresser to his back midway through the third round of the semifinal. However, the match was stopped for an injury timeout to Bresser prior to Munn being awarded any points.
When the match restarted, Munn was unable to turn Bresser to his back again.
“It was a fight for the top three between me, Bates, and Bresser and I kind of got the bottom of that,” Munn said. “But going out my senior year with a win in the last match and taking third place isn’t bad. It didn’t quite get me to where I wanted, but it was a good tournament.”
The Cowboys got back on track when Meeker was able to overcome a broken finger suffered in the practice room earlier in the week. Meeker rolled through the state championships, pinning Astoria’s Joshua Long late in the second round to earn his second-consecutive state championship.
“We wrote 303 on the board as the previous state record and that’s been our goal all season,” he said. Not just to break it, but shatter it. So, we’ve done phenomenal.”
Tyler Berger also won his match by fall, pinning Ben Gadbois of Scappoose in the second round to earn his fourth-consecutive individual state title.
“It’s a pretty unique experience,” Berger said of winning his fourth state title. “We talked about it and acted like it’s just another tournament, but in reality it’s the state championships and I get nervous as heck for it, but it’s an awesome thing to soak up.”
Harkey lost his 160-pound match 5-1 to No. 1 seed Spencer Crawford of Cascade, while the unseeded Woodward fell 10-2 to No. 2 seed Ismael Rubio of Phoenix in the finals.
“I feel like I improved a lot more than last year,” Harkey said. “And it feels good beating the state scoring record.”
Despite not being awarded the pin in his match, Robirts was still pleased with how the tournament went.
“I have no regrets,” he said. “The team is so impressive. It’s a combination of just flat out talent that we have as a group and the work our coaches make us do. It’s easy to work super hard every week and every day when you know that your coaches love and respect you.”
Rasmussen’s win at 220 pounds was possibly the most exciting win in the championship round for the Cowboys. Rasmussen trailed No. 1 seed Devin Ray of Scappoose 4-3 in the third round when he was able to throw Ray to the mat and pin him with just over a minute remaining in the match.
“It’s unreal,” Rasmussen said. “I’m not even comprehending it right now. It’s just a blur. We were really even and I just had a good opportunity that I capitalized on. This team is my family and what we are doing right now you can’t describe it. It’s amazing. It’s a once in a lifetime chance to be on a team like this.”
It wasn’t just in the championship rounds where Cowboy wrestlers were able to come from behind to earn wins.
Swindle trailed 6-3 with less than 10 seconds remaining in his match just to get into the placing rounds, then earned a reversal and a near fall as time expired to pull out a 7-6 win.
Several other Cowboys also won matches with last second heroics.
“I’ll just go back in the wrestling room and work harder,” Terran Libolt said following his sixth-place finish. “And try to get a better place next year.”
“You always want more,” Shinkle said of his finish. “It’s good that I get third in state and still want more. You’ve got to always want more and never be satisfied. And the team — that’s ridiculous. There are no words to describe it. It’s fun to be a part of and to realize bigger things than just you.”
Huffman was also pleased with how the entire team performed.
“This is a tremendous effort and what a special, special tournament for these kids to enjoy the success that they did,” he said. “It pleases me that everyone contributed, that everyone worked towards the same goal and everyone got points. I mean what can you say about what happened. Taking care of the team is doing the best you can as an individual, but also making sure }that you are doing whatever you can making sure that you are helping your teammates get better and realize their individual goals. I just can’t be more proud of these kids.”
Berger summed the experience up for the entire team when he said
“It’s unbelievable. It’s one thing to say it, it’s another to do it and to break the record by so much that’s unheard of. It’s going to be standing for a long time. Everything had to go right. We did the right things in the classroom. We did the right things in the wrestling room. We did the right things in the community and it showed this weekend.”
OSAA?Class 4A State Wrestling Championships
Team scores — 1. Crook County 406.5. 2. Henley, 159. 3. Scappoose, 139.5. 4. North Marion, 63. 5. Marshfield, 60.5. 6. Elmira, 59. 7. La Grande, 57. 8. Cascade, 55. 8. Newport, 55. 10. Tillamook, 53.
106 — 1. Cole Rohan, La Grande. 2. Francisco Barrera, Ontario. 3. Braxton Sue, Scappoose. 4. Derrick Hargraves, South Umpqua. 5. Cole Smith, Marshfield. 6. Terran Libolt, CC.
113 — 1. Trayton Libolt, CC. 2. Collin Purinton, Banks. 3. Johnny Avina, CC. 4. Joe Britt, Henley. 5. Tyrel Miller, Sweet Home. 6. Tyler Campbell, Marshfield.
120 — 1. Kurt Mode, CC. 2. Jacheal McMillon, Gladstone. 3. Justin Coon, Tillamook. 4. Tyler Schilling, Sweet Home. 5. Quinton Hook, Henley. 6. Logan Humphrey, Cascade.
126 — 1. Thaddeus Nelson, Marshfield. 2. Brent Bannon, CC. 3. Donald Wenlund, Estacada. 4. Taylor Walden, Scappoose. 5. Joshua Connor, Newport. 6. Isaiah Burkhalter, Siuslaw.
132 — 1. Zech Bresser, Henley. 2. Hayden Bates, CC. 3. Grayson Munn, CC. 4. Logan Weeks, Tillamook. 5. Kyle Kintz, Gladstone. 6. Cole Skramstad, McLoughlin.
138 — 1. Conner Noonan, Henley. 2. Lane Stigall, North Marion. 3. Ryder Shinkle, CC. 4. Brogan Miner, Junction City. 5. Eli Garrard, Douglas. 6. Ryan Middleton, La Grande.
145 — 1. Colbran Meeker, CC. 2. Joshua Long, Astoria. 3. Jeffrey Jones, McLoughlin. 4. Cole Ovens, CC. 5. Hunter Hoyt, Scappoose. 6. Kyle Bradfield, Phoenix.
152 — 1. Tyler Berger, CC. 2. Ben Gadbois, Scappoose. 3. Austin Tillery, Henley. 4. Tyler Saucedo, North Marion. 5. Blake Yensen, McLoughlin. 6. John Crites, CC.
160 — 1. Spencer Crawford, Cascade. 2. Brendan Harkey, CC. 3. Johnathan Tardif, Scappoose. 4. Chance Anderson, Hidden Valley. 5. Travis Thompson, Banks. 6. Seth Steere, Taft.
170 — 1. Ismael Rubio, Phoenix. 2. Clark Woodward, CC. 3. Luke Youngberg, Estacada. 4. Gary Jantzer, Henley. 5. Caleb Woodworth, La Grande. 6. Bryndyn Gardner, Cascade.
182 — 1. Isaiah Goodrich, Scappoose. 2. Gunnar Robirts, CC. 3. Chase Anderson, Klamath Union. 4. Alberto Meza, Central. 5. Aaron Swindle, CC. 6. Logan Good, Gladstone.
195 — 1. Boomer Fleming, Ridgeview. 2. Matt Engholm, Elmira. 3. Daniel Regan, Newport. 4. Tyson Broadbent, Scappoose. 5. Rafael Gomez, Tillamook. 6. Zach Smith, Crook County.
220 — 1. Trevor Rasmussen, CC. 2. Devin Ray, Scappoose. 3. Tyler Lehman, Cottage Grove. 4. David Vidal, Central. 5. Oscar Torres, Ontario. 6. Curtis Crouch, CC.
285 — 1. Zane Wardwell, Elmira. 2. Jason Williams, CC. 3. Stephen Noonan, Henley. 4. Brennan Patterson, North Marion. 5. Manuel Nelson, Astoria. 6. Rich Roberts, Tillamook.