Crook County cruises past Hood River Valley and Mountain View to start conference dual meets
According to head coach Mike Shinkle, this year's Crook County wrestling team is young. They also lack experience in their upper weight classes.
None of these deficiencies, however, appeared evident this week as the Cowboys cruised past Hood River Valley and Mountain View to open up their 2004-2005 conference campaign.
The grapplers won 12 of 14 matches Tuesday to easily defeat Hood River Valley 72-12, then repeated their efforts Thursday with a 57-11 whopping of Mountain View.
"They are starting to show what they have," said Shinkle. "This is a scrappy team right here. I am really proud at how they all wrestled."
The Cowboys started Thursday's meet off with eight straight victories.
Ryan Smith set the tone early edging Tyler Fetters 2-0 in the 130 pound matchup. Smith, who normally wrestles at a lower weight, scored a takedown early in the first round and then held on for the win.
Returning state champion Ben Neasham, 135 pounds, made quick work of Bobby O'Neal in the next contest, pinning his opponent in 1:42.
Neasham, Jess Cruise (140 pounds), Trent Lucas (160) and Blaine Tocher (189) all recorded pins for Crook County.
Mike Gast fell into an early 5-0 hole in the 112 matchup but rallied back for a 7-5 overtime win.
"I do expect any Cowboy wrestler to win in overtime," said Shinkle. "Mike wasn't fully prepared to start that matchup. But he did show a lot of character and a lot of Cowboy pride by coming back."
Tuesday, the Cowboys received pins from Brad Brock (103), Gast (112), Shane Rhoden (119), Smith (125), Neeko Rachor (130) and Neasham (135).
The Cowboys are currently 2-0 in conference dual meets. Next week their mettle will be tested when they travel east for back-to-back contests with Pendleton and Hermiston on Tuesday and Wednesday. Pendleton is widely considered to be Crook County's chief rival for IMC supremacy this season.
"This week was a great warm-up," said Shinkle. "Pendleton is going to be tough, but I think it's possible. I think we match up well, especially at the lower weight classes."