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Culver repeats as Joseph champion

Culver's fifth consecutive Joseph Invitational title might have been the best.
   The Bulldogs had eight champions and 18 medalists in scoring more than 300 points at the 13-team wrestling event on Friday and Saturday.
   "The tournaments kind of run together during the years, but I don't remember us having that many champions or medalists before," Culver coach J.D. Alley said.
   He did remember the Baltazar brothers completing an eight-year run as champions. Miguel Baltazar won the 135-pound title with a pin, his third of the tourney. That was his fourth consecutive title, duplicating his brother Junior's feat.
   "That's really impressive," Alley said.
   Culver's run of champions started at 103 with freshman Justin Bunch winning by pin after being behind the whole match.
   Jake Nelson won the 119 title, scoring three pins, a week after winning the Free Berry Classic in Pendleton. Jared Schehen then won the 130 title with a pin.
   Freshman Austin Barany won the 145 title by scoring a two-point near fall to clinch a 6-2 victory. Spud Smith followed with the 160 title with a technical fall after a close semifinal win (against Jake Noyes of Imbler, third at 152 in last year's 2A/1A state meet). Smith also received the Lance Strickland Memorial award, voted on by the tourney's coaches for outstanding sportsmanship, effort and citizenship.
   "That award usually goes to a wrestler from that area," Alley said "It says a lot for how Spud wrestled."
   Paul Krueger claimed the 171 title, scoring his fourth pin of the tourney. Matt Zachary finished off Culver's championship run at 215 with a pin.
   Gerald Speas at 152 and Austin Alley at 189 finished second. Alley won a 9-7 semifinal against a Washington state champ in the semifinals but lost an 8-4 decision to Jon Henry of Baker, a ranked 4A wrestler.
   Jack Merrill (112) took third for Culver. Finishing fourth were: Josh Hansloven (125), Ben Fisher (152), Casey Usher (160) and Nick Barany (285). Taking fifth were: Chris Williams (119), Patrick Foster (140) and Devin Ozment (215).
   Culver's team total of 306 points topped last year's total of 269.5.