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Buffs finish third at first Irwin Classic

by: Photo By Gary Lindberg - Nadras junior Nathan Monroe pushes down the head of Alfredo Aguilar of Putnam during the 130-pound final of the first Irwin Classic at Mountain View. Monroe scored a third-period pin.

Madras camped out in third place of the inaugural Adrian Irwin Classic and stayed there until the end. The White Buffalos were third after Friday's first two rounds, nearly moved into second and survived a late challenge in the two-day event at Mountain View.
   Eight Madras wrestlers earned medals, finishing in the top six. That was enough for the Buffs to score 133 points, two ahead of Eagle Point.
   Junior Nathan Monroe led the way, scoring a pin to win the 130-pound title. Monroe's third-period fall came after two near-pins by him and Alfredo Aguilar of 6A Putnam.
   "I thought I had him in the first period," said Monroe of holding Aguilar on his back for more than a minute in the first period. "I was too close to the out of bounds."
   Then Monroe found himself on his back midway through the second period. He managed to wiggle away with 45 seconds left in the period, leading 7-5.
   Monroe started out down in the third period. He scored a reversal and then a pin with 35 seconds left in the match.
   "When I got him on his back that time, I squeezed harder," Monroe said. "I made sure he was in a little more pain."
   It was Monroe's third pin in three matches after a first-round bye.
   Teammate Will Wienert had a pair of first-period pins to enter the 275 finals in a match of ranked 5A heavyweights. Wiener was seventh according to Oregon Wrestling Forum rankings while Cleveland's Shaun Palakiko was No. 3 and had three pins to reach the final.
   Palakiko scored a two-point near fall to enter the first period. Then Wienert, starting in the down position, scored a reversal. Palakiko had his own reversal, turning it into a pin.
   "Will was looking to turn the guy and reached for a move he probably shouldn't have tried," Madras coach Paul Brown said. "If Will had an extra second to think about it, he wouldn't have tried it. Every match is more experience for him."
   James Rodriguez finished third with wins in his final two matches. It was his first matches this season, missing the first two tournaments due to a football knee injury
   Rodriguez scored two-point wins in the consolation semifinals (6-4 against Redmond's Ben Baca) and for third place (5-3 against Cleveland's Jay Lowe).
   Fellow senior Zach Quinn (152) saw his first action, finishing fifth. Quinn scored a 9-0 victory in his medal match.
   "When James and Zach get in better shape, they'll show what they can do," Brown said.
   Stephen Scranton at 125 and Ryan Brunner at 135 both finished fourth. Scranton went 4-2 with his loses to the eventual runner up and third-place finisher. Brunner moved into the semifinals with a pair of first-period pins and won 15-5 in his consolation semifinal.
   Finishing sixth were Robert Rodriguez (119) and Justin Brown (145 instead of his usual 135). Rodriguez won three matches while Brown battled back from a first-round match to medal.
   Madras spent part of Saturday chasing Cleveland for second place with Redmond locking up the team title. The Buffs were just two points behind Cleveland (ranked No. 6 in 5A) after the semifinals.
   Then the Cavaliers jumped ahead by 10 going into the medal matches, going 5-3.
   The Buffs return to the mats this weekend at the Free-Berry Classic in Pendleton. Madras then hosts the Nels Ochs Invite on Saturday, Jan. 5.