Bates, Harkey, and Woodward all win matches to help Oregon team to victory in cultural exchange match

The high school wrestling season officially ended two weekends ago at the OSAA State championships in Portland.

Still, last Saturday night in Sweet Home four Crook County High School wrestlers were on the mat again as a team of Oregon All-stars defeated a Russian Cultural exchange team.

The two teams competed using international rules rather than high school rules, but that didn’t matter as the Oregon team won 15 of the 21 contested matches to take the ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF KIM WOODWARD - Hayden Bates earns a takedown against Russia's Nurgun Tomsjii. Bates won the 63kg match by fall to help the Oregon All-star squad defeat the Russian cultural exchange team in a match held Saturday night at Sweet Home High School.

“I thought it was pretty impressive that our kids — just a week out of the state tournament — stepped up and decided to go against the Russians not knowing what to expect,” said Crook County High School Head Coach Jake Huffman. “”And they ended up performing pretty well.”

Sweet Home’s Kobe Olson opened the match with a win over Russia’s Lurii Kim in their 48 kg match. Joe Rasmussen, also of Sweet Home, kept things rolling for the Oregon team with a victory over Alexander Okhlopkov at 63 kgs.

Then came the first of the Crook County Cowboys as Brendan Harkey quickly dispatched Alexander Gundarev with a technical fall to win their 74 kg match.

KiAnte’ Davis of Lebanon kept the Oregon streak going with a win over Aykar Markov at 69 kgs.Clark Woodward tries to turn Russia's Aysen Karpov. Woodward outpointed Karpov 15-6 to win their 76kg match.

The Russian squad finally won a match when Aytal Okoneshnikov earned a 10-0 technical fall over Crook County’s Kurt Mode at 60 KG. North Marion’s Tyler Saucedo put Oregon back in the winner's circle with a win over Vasili Gorokhov at 69 kgs. Then Crook County’s Hayden Bates pinned Nurgun Tomsjii in the second round of their 63KG matchup.

Russia won their second match of the evening as Petr Efimov knocked off Josh Conner of Newport in another 63kg matchup.

The final Crook County wrestler of the evening was Clark Woodward, who earned a hard-fought 15-6 victory over Aysen Karov in their 76kg match.

Although the Russian team did better in the second half of the match, the Oregon team had already built an insurmountable lead and was able to hold on for the win.Brendan Harkey earns a technical fall to defeat Russia's Alexander Gundarev in their 74kg match during the exhibition.

According to the Crook County wrestlers, the Russian team was not as strong as a Japanese team that several Cowboys competed against earlier in the year. However, the experience was positive.

“I think it was pretty fun,”Woodward said. “I think it would be a good experience to go on a cultural exchange wrestling trip to another country.”

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