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Cowboys return from Newberg with third

The season is underway.
   The Cowboys embarked on their road to state Friday with a stop at the loaded-with-talent Earl Gillis dual meet wrestling tournament in Newberg.
   In the eight-team field, which included a credible team called the Renegades, made up of wrestlers from a variety of schools, Crook County took down third, with the only loss coming in a 34-24 dual against eventual-champion Eagle Point.
   "It's hard to say one statement about all 14 guys," said CCHS head coach Rob Porter. "Some of the guys just wrestled a great tournament and did the things we've been talking about in practice, executed well and just really had an outstanding day. Some others are still learning, still kind of going through the process and still trying to find themselves, and for the first meet, that's not unusual at all."
   The Cowboys faced the Renegades out of the gate and won six of 11 matches, led by pins at 112 pounds from Luke Waetjen and 189-pounds from Jason Wilkinson. Evan Hendrix turned in a technical fall at 171.
   The win sent Crook County to the semifinals against Eagle Point, where the Cowboys led 9-0 after the first two matches, trailed 13-9, then rallied to regain the lead 24-22 with two weights left to wrestle.
   The Eagles used consecutive wins at 215 and 275 to clinch the victory, sending Crook County to the third and fourth place round against Heritage (Wash.)
   It was the Cowboys' final dual of the tournament and they made it count.
   Crook County used consecutive triumphs at the 160, 171, 189 and 215 weights to secure the dual, 40-32 .
   Stephen French, filling in for the injured Hoot Paulson, put the Cowboys up for good with a come-from-behind pin at 215, one of nine Crook County pins throughout the tournament.
   Five Cowboys came home from Newberg undefeated. Ben Neasham at 103, Luke Waetjen at 112, Curtis Peebles at 140, Evan Hendrix at 171 and Jason Wilkinson at 189 all came away with three in the win column.
   Next up for the Cowboys is the Clackamas tournament, set for 4 p.m. Saturday.
   Coach Porter said one of the goals of practice this week is to improve on take downs, a statistic that favored Crook County opponents at Newberg 59-52.
   "We have a full week of practice in front of us and it's an excellent opportunity," Porter said.
   "We can show a lot of different techniques, but I'd like to see them execute some of the different moves that we've been trying a little bit better at Clackamas. If we use this week well, we should be able to pull that off."