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Buffs, Dawgs headed to Classic

Culver is seeking to repeat and Madras wants to show it deserves to be back during this weekend's Oregon Classic.
   The two-day event at the Deschutes County Expo Center in Redmond is dubbed as Oregon's duel-meet wrestling championships. The Classic is actually five championships at the Expo Center, from 6A to 2A/1A.
   Each class is divided into four divisions with round robin matches on Friday. The championship and consolation matches are Saturday with the championships in the early evening. Teams can have as many as seven matches during the two days. For the 5A and 2A/1A schedules, see Scoreboard on page 10.
   Culver is the defending two-time 2A/1A champion. The Bulldogs dominated last year's event by winning all of its matches by at least 28 points. That included a 60-12 victory against Lakeview in the semifinals.
   Those teams could meet in the finals this season, based on state rankings (by Oregon Wrestling Forum). Culver is No. 1 and Lakeview No. 2.
   The teams were scheduled to meet in a Jan. 2 duel which was canceled earlier that week. Each team has five wrestlers ranked in the top five of their respective weight class.
   "Lakeview has some high-end talent, but in a duel meet they might have to fill some holes," Culver coach J.D. Alley said. "We could be meeting in the quarterfinals if they (Lakeview) finishes second in their bracket."
   The Bulldogs face Pine Eagle and Oakridge (ranked fifth) in Friday's matches. Lakeview faces Mohawk and Nestucca (ranked eighth) on Friday.
   Taking early leads was a big part of Culver's domination of last year's title. The Bulldogs won at least the first two matches in every contest.
   "Gaining momentum and keeping it is such a big part of this tournament," Alley said. "Once you get it, you want to keep it. If you lose momentum, it's hard to get it back."
   Madras wasn't part of last season's Classic, instead winning the Harvey Meier Classic in Gresham.
   "We love going to the Classic," White Buffalo coach Paul Brown said. "It's a great way to see wrestlers from other parts of the state."
   Madras finished seventh in the old 3A division during the 2005 and 2006 Classics.
   On Friday, the Buffs face Corvallis (ranked seventh) in the opener (at 10 a.m.) and No. 1-ranked Crater in the second match (11:30). The Buffs then face fellow Intermountain Conference team Bend (at 4 p.m.).
   "We'll have some challenges right away," said Brown of wrestling Corvallis and Crater.
   The 5A division has six IMC teams. Defending 5A champion Hermiston, Pendleton, Mountain View and Crook County are also at the Classic.
   Youth tourney
   Wrestlers from both the Madras and Culver Mat Clubs will compete in the youth wrestling tourney of the Classic, contested Saturday evening and Sunday.
   The local wrestlers had to finish third or better at a regional tourney to compete in the Classic.
   Following are a list of Madras and Culver participants.
   Madras
   School boy -- Kole Willis (90-pound class), Wrangler Howe (112), Justin Hendrix (212). Midget -- Jace Oppenlander (60), Josh Hendrix (180). Novice -- Broc Sanders (70).
   Culver
   Cadet -- Ryan Kasch (120), Miguel Gutierrez (125). School boy -- Ivan Galan (144), Mitch Nelson (120), Jared Kasch (105), Jesus Ratano (105), Mark Merrill (85), Stephen Krueger (120). Novice -- Bolton Anglen (80), Tucker Davis (70). Midget -- Tanner Davis (75), Saxton Schaffner (70). Bantam -- Jorge Olivera (60), Jamal Ortiz (70), Shayne Sauls (85).