Seven Buffs win finals matches
No, the Madras wrestling coaches weren't giving away treats to their team for pins during the Nels Ochs Memorial Tournament.
It only seemed that way, especially when the White Buffalo wrestlers scored six pins in the finals of Saturday's tourney. Madras won by more than 30 points against 6A school Sandy in the six-team tournament honoring a late Buff wrestler.
"Before we started, we had a team discussion on the importance of pins," Madras coach Paul Brown said. "Everytime we got a guy on his back, we wanted to make sure we got the pin. In a tournament, those extra points (two for a pin) can add up."
Trevor Barrett did his part, scoring pins in both of his 189-pound matches. He also started a spree of first-period Buff pins to close out the tourney.
Barrett went from his feet to pinning Thomas Schantz of Sandy in just a couple of seconds in his final.
"I knew I didn't have much time left (in the first period) if I was going to pin him," said Barrett who won the 171 title last season with a pin. "That's how it's gone this season. Every time I've won, it's been by a pin."
Teammates James Rodriguez (at 215) and Will Wienert (at 285) followed with quick pins. Rodriguez pinned a Mountain View foe with 21 seconds left in the first period to win his second consecutive Ochs title. Wienert needed just 36 seconds for a pin.
A close decision started Madras' run of seven champions. Stephen Scranton scored a 4-1 decision at 125 against a state champion (Avery Overton of North Lake, the 2A/1A winner at 112 last season).
Scranton took control with a takedown in the final seconds of the second period for a three-point. He then rode Overton out in the final period.
"I'd already wrestled against him before, so we knew each other," Scranton said. "It was a matter of keeping him down once I was on top."
Nathan Monroe started the Buffs' string of pins at 130 with a second-period fall against a Mountain View wrestler. It was one of four finals between the Intermountain Conference teams (the actual IMC duel is Jan. 24 at Mountain View).
Ryan Brunner then pinned a Mountain View foe in the 135 final, late in the first period.
"I was looking to score points for the team and the best way to do that is a pin," Brunner said.
The junior attributes his success to going against his practice partners. Brunner said he's wrestled against Scranton, Monroe, Justin Brown and Rodney Smith "since we were 5 or 6. Going against each other makes all of us better."
The Cougars earned a win in the mini-IMC duel at 140 with Cougar Eric Piatt scoring a first-period pin against Smith. Piatt was coming off the 145 title at his home Irwin Classic two weeks ago.
Madras resumed its winning ways at 152, with another pin. Zach Quinn's pin came midway through the second period against a Sandy wrestler. Sandy quickly avenged that loss in the 160 final, pinning the Buffs' Brandon O'Brien.
Notes: Madras opens the IMC duel season by hosting Pendleton this Thursday. The Buffs are also at the Oregon Classic in Redmond this weekend (see story). The IMC schedule resumes by traveling to Summit on Tuesday, Jan. 15.