by: PHOTO BY LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Culver's Brandon Hawes (top) works on Dustin Brigham of Sisters during the Central Oregon Officials Open wrestling tournament Saturday in Bend. Culver finishes third in 12-team Central Oregon Officials Open

The Culver High School wrestling team finished third at the season-opening Central Oregon Officials Open, held Saturday at Mountain View High School in Bend.

The Bulldogs didn’t have any tournament champions, but amassed 127 points behind four runner-up finishers and 10 place-winners overall.

“It was a good weekend for us,” Culver head coach J.D. Alley said. “It gave the coaches something to assess and something for the kids to work on.”

Among the runner-up finishers were some of the usuals. Senior Bolt Anglen finished second in the 138-139-pound weight class after ringing up a pair of wins against Summit’s Patrick Leiphart (5-2) and Mountain View’s Robert Misener (fall in 56 seconds). Anglen dropped the tournament title bout to Crook County’s Hayden Bates in a 5-1 decision.

Junior Clay McClure wrestled a pair of matches and dumped Redmond’s John Hickey in a 5-3 decision after a first round bye in the 152-153-pound class. Crook County’s Collbran Meeker defeated McClure in the championship bout in a 13-3 major decision.

Junior heavyweight Josh Hendrix pinned Ridgeview’s Connor Sperling as time expired in the first round, and then dispatched Crane’s Michael Casey 3-1 in the semifinal bout. Another Crook County wrestler, Jason Williams, pinned Hendrix in the title bout.

Freshman Saxton Schaffner went 3-1 in the 126-127-pound bracket, picking up wins against Dyut Fetrow of Sisters (fall in 1:13), Crook County’s Johnny Avina (6-4 decision) and Madras’ Bryce Vincent (7-2 decision). Redmond’s Austin Rystedt knocked off the Culver freshman in the title bout with a first-round pin.

“We’re hoping Saxton can step in and make a difference for us this year, and he showed us he is more than capable of doing that,” Alley said. “Bolt and Clay both had good days, too. They were tested a little bit.”

What Alley was looking for in the first meet was his guys to wrestle with heart and compete. He said he saw that from everyone, which was encouraging, and he also said wrestlers improved as the day went on.

Senior Jordan Henson, who finished fifth in the 220-221-pound class, notched a pin against La Pine’s Gage Yeager in 16 seconds after dropping his first match of the day.

Along with Henson, Alley said freshman Marco Retano and junior Kyle Easterly were three wrestlers that stuck out when it came to improvement over the course of the tournament.

“All of those guys were in the same boat,” Alley said. “We talked about some things after their first matches, and they went out and made adjustments.”

Crook County pounded the field en route to the team championship with 287.5 points. Redmond finished second, just five and a half points ahead of Culver, with 127.5.

This weekend, the Bulldogs will host the two-day Culver Invitational. Action begins at 2 p.m. Friday, and Alley said there are 20 teams slated to compete. With inclement weather canceling some events in the Willamette Valley, however, Alley said a few more teams could be looking for another tournament to enter and could land in the field.

The defending Class 3A champion, Glide High School, and the team that knocked off Culver for the 2A title last season, Lowell, are scheduled to compete.

Saturday’s action at Culver High School will begin at 10 a.m.

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