Culver claims title in Oregon Classic wrestling
Bulldogs top dual team in 2A after pinning Neah-Kah-Nie
Culver High's wrestling Bulldogs turned themselves into the top dogs among Oregon's 2A wrestling schools Saturday.
Corralling control early, behind 103-pound James Moyses' pin to open the finals against Neah-Kah-Nie, Culver claimed its first-ever Oregon Classic title on Saturday. Culver received contributions from all its members, said Coach J.D. Alley.
"We wanted the kids to wrestle aggressively and they did that. One of the refs even asked me "What did those kids have for breakfast?; I want some. I think that comment said how impressive the kids were," Coach Alley noted.
Held at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds Events Center in Redmond for the first time, after years at Oregon State then a stop at Portland's Coliseum, the Oregon Classic includes all levels of competition. There are college matches, youth matches and women's competition in addition to teams with the top dual match records in their leagues which battle for what is recognized as the state championship.
A poll published by long-time wrestling expert Dr. Bill Bettis had Culver and Neah-Kah-Nie first- and second-ranked in the 2A headed into the tournament.
Culver's march to its title began with a 75-6 win over a young Yoncalla squad in its first-round dual early Friday afternoon. A win over Pine Eagle, 61-12, Friday evening led Culver to a Saturday morning semifinal against Dayton, which it won 49-30.
Winning 43-25 in the finals, Culver was challenged against Neah-Kah-Nie and Dayton, Coach Alley said.
Neah-Kah-Nie established the legitimacy of its high rank (second) in the Bettis Poll, by matching Culver's three wins without a loss before falling to Culver.
James Moyses ignited Culver with a pin at 103 pounds in the first match of the finals. The order of weights for matches on Saturday was decided by a draw. It was the first time this season Culver had begun with a 103-pound match. Friday matches all started with the 171-pound matches.
Adam Kinley rallied to beat Neah-Kah-Nie's Joey Goddard 7-6 at 112 to start a Culver charge. His win capped a 4-0 event that included a forfeit against Pine Eagle.
"I'm not real good at breaking hand control so I just went for a standing switch," Adam Kinley said of the finals. He explained that a standing switch was like a reverse on the ground. By reaching his arm away from his opponent he managed to gain an advantage that let him take down the Neah-Kah-Nie wrestler.
The Pirates tried to answer by using highly ranked Justin Kamerer at 119, but Culver's Junior Baltazar pinned him.
Surviving a back-to-the-mat situation, Travis Kinley saved Culver from losing six points instead of four by not getting pinned by Huber Mondragon at 125.
Brian Stills' won the 130 match narrowly to earn three more Culver points.
"We're good on our feet," Stills said. He noted that many of the Culver wrestlers do well standing. Choosing to start a round with both wrestlers standing and seeking a take down rather than taking a down position and trying to score a reversal is common for Culver, he noted.
With Stills' win backed by John Urbach, Ross Miller and Bryce Miller the Culver lead reached 43-19.
With the rest of the team having won enough to build an insurmountable lead, the Bulldogs needed just one win among the 189-, 215- and 275-pound matches to win. While anticlimatic, the matches proved exciting.
Wrestling at 189, 171-pound Culver senior Mark Coy lost his only match so far this season in the final, but was ahead or close until dropped by one move.
Teammate Anthony Alley pinned the Pirate at 171 before Coy's match to open a lead that made winning less imperative.
Alley explained that weighing in at 173 allowed him to use the two-pound allowance for the tournament and wrestle 171.
Coy won his first three matches at the Classic but just missed joining the unbeaten ranks.
Joining Coy in the 3-1 group of Culver wrestlers was Zach Henson, at 275, who scored a pin and 5-0 win Friday plus a semi-final victory before falling.
Stills, Urbach and Ross McWilliams were among the undefeated Bulldogs.
Most the Bulldogs won at least three matches at the Classic.
In cruising over Yoncalla in its first match of the two-day Classic on Friday morning, Culver won each weight in which it had someone to participate but forfeited at 160.
The Friday matches began at 172 so Coy proved a starting coil of sorts in reving the Bulldogs into action. His pin to begin Culver's win over Yoncalla was followed by falls for Chris Roberts and McWilliams, along with Zach Henson, at 275.
Culver started its second win of the event, the verdict over Pine Eagle, with 21 points in four matches on pins by Coy, Anthony Alley and McWilliams, plus the 5-0 win for Henson.
While Bryton Hills kept Moyses from his second win, Culver added two more wins, by Dustin Jacobson at 112 and Adam Kinley at 119, before a pin by Baltazar increased its lead to 39-6. Stills and Dan Loredo provided Culver two more wins over Pine Eagle before Barry Crawford broke the winning streak against Louis Hanor. Ross Miller's 4-0 win for Culver at 152 set up a 160 match that Bryce Miller was recorded to have won in the team scoring yet lost individually.
Ending the match with the pressure on them, in the event the match was close, was a new experience for the wrestlers in the middle of the weight bracket, they explained.
"It's easier to finish wrestling and be done than have to wait and have the whole team counting on you," noted one of the heavier Bulldogs.
Culver acquired big enough leads to wrap up all four of its wins prior to the final matches in each session.