Crater cruises to Southern Sky Conference title

Denny Walters had high hopes for how his wrestlers would fare during Saturday's Southern Sky Conference district tournament, but even he was taken aback by the Comets' ultimate performance at Mazama High in Klamath Falls.

On the strength of eight champions and 16 finalists overall, Crater cruised past the competition to claim its fifth straight district championship and 16th in the past 21 seasons with a whopping 423 points.

"The kids wrestled great," said Walters, interim head coach of the Comets. "It was just one of the days where I just felt we were aggressive all day, starting from our young kids all the way up to our older kids. They just got after it all day."

The Comets will be taking a program-best 19 wrestlers overall to next week's Class 5A state tournament in Portland.

"Going into this tournament I was thinking we'd qualify somewhere around 16 or 17, and for us to get 19 is just incredible," added Walters.

Eagle Point crowned five champions among its nine finalists to finish second in the team race with 332.5 points, followed by Klamath Union (155), Mazama (137) and Ashland (78).

The Eagles advanced 13 to the state tournament, while Ashland and Klamath Union will each take four wrestlers up north and Mazama claimed the other two spots.

Ashland's Joe Crane was named Southern Sky coach of the year after helping guide four of his six wrestlers to state berths. Jake Scarminach won the 145-pound title, while Sam Cowan was runner-up at heavyweight.

"Joe's a great guy," said Walters. "His kids worked hard and for him to get four out of six to the state tournament is a pretty great job."

Jeremy Artoff (112), Nick Ferris (125), Brysen Winner (135), Brock Gutches (152), Kenny Fahndrich (160), Logan Brooks (189), Darrio Mobley (215) and Brandon Hesse (285) each placed first for the Comets. Runner-up efforts were turned in by Skyler Prislac (112), Daniel Hill (130), Wyatt Self (135), Brandon Montague (140), Chance Fahndrich (145), Jeremiah Swing (160), Gerald Jakabosky (189) and Rickey Lockey (215).

Truman Winningham (103), Mike Macuk (119) and Zach Baldridge (152) each scrambled back through the consolation bracket to place third and advance to state. The top three wrestlers at each weight class move on to Portland.

Walters said some of the best efforts by the Comets on Saturday didn't come from the champions, rather from some big-time outings from wrestlers like Hill, Self, Chance Fahndrich and Lockey.

Hill shrugged off a shoulder injury to advance to the finals before bowing out against EP's Trent Kaiser, while Self trailed in the quarterfinals and semifinals but battled back to score pins in both matches. Self trailed by as many as 11 points in the semifinals before pinning KU's Jake Coker in 5:01.

For the freshman Fahndrich, Saturday's outing saw him avenge a 14-3 loss a couple weeks ago to Eagle Point senior Josh Winter with a 10-5 advantage in the district semis. Lockey also scored a pair of upsets at 215, pinning KU's Cody Rick in the quarterfinals and earning a 15-11 decision over second-ranked Jeff Cox of Mazama in the semis.

For Eagle Point, Aaron Lorenz (103), Daniel Soto (119), Kaiser (130), Chris Wilson (140) and Steven Josephson (171) each won individual titles. The Eagles also received runner-up efforts from Mario Barajas (103), Ben Zomerdyk (119), Garrett Davis (152) and Taylor Marasco (171).

Taking third for Eagle Point were Travis Woods (125), Jake Gallo (140), Winter (145) and Gage Baumer (160).

Southern Sky District

TEAM SCORES — Crater 423, Eagle Point 332.5, Klamath Union 155, Mazama 137, Ashland 78.

Championship Finals

103 — Aaron Lorenz, EP, pinned Mario Barajas, EP, 5:12; 112 — Jeremy Artoff, C, dec. Skyler Prislac, C, 3-2; 119 — Daniel Soto, EP, dec. Ben Zomerdyk, EP, 10-4; 125 — Nick Ferris, C, dec. Brice Hatley, M, 8-5; 130 — Trent Kaiser, EP, injury default over Daniel Hill, C.

135 — Brysen Winner, C, maj. dec. Wyatt Self, C, 11-1; 140 — Chris Wilson, EP, pinned Brandon Montague, C, 2:58; 145 — Jake Scarminach, A, dec. Chance Fahndrich, C, 8-1; 152 — Brock Gutches, C, pinned Garrett Davis, EP, 4:52.

160 — Kenny Fahndrich, C, dec. Jeremiah Swing, C, 7-3; 171 — Steven Josephson, EP, dec. Taylor Marasco, EP, 6-4; 189 — Logan Brooks, C, pinned Gerald Jakabosky, C, 1:55; 215 — Darrio Mobley, C, pinned Rickey Lockey, C, 3:51; 285 — Brandon Hesse, C, pinned Sam Cowan, A, 1:58.

Third-Fourth Finals

103 — Truman Winningham, C, pinned Christian Inkley, C, 3:22; 112 — Josh Coker, KU, pinned Gordon Downing, EP, 2:40; 119 — Mike Macuk, C, pinned Jake Oldham, KU, 4:38; 125 — Travis Woods, EP, pinned Sebastian Villa, C, 1:14; 130 — Cody Remington, A, dec. Chad Stork, KU, 9-4.

135 — Jake Coker, KU, pinned Luis Rodriguez, EP, 1:13; 140 — Jake Gallo, EP, pinned Shane Loud, KU, 5:35; 145 — Josh Winter, EP, pinned Edward Martinez, EP, 3:24; 152 — Zach Baldridge, C, pinned Chris Jurief, M, 3:48.

160 — Gage Baumer, EP, pinned Carlos Finnigan, KU, 3:42; 171 — Issa Shahin, A, pinned Eric Duvall, KU, :16; 189 — Justin Rick, KU, pinned Jake Cox, M, 1:11; 215 — Jeff Cox, M, pinned Johnny Lehto, M, 5:25; 285 — Will Morse, KU, pinned Manuel Valdovinos, EP, 1:30.

Fifth-Sixth Finals

103 — Kody Anderson, M, bye; 112 — Riley Smeltzer, M, pinned Zach Thompson, KU, 5:32; 119 — Scott Hanseth, KU, dec. Alec Galpin, C, 10-4; 125 — Alex Dibritto, KU, forfeit; 130 — Kyle Gray, C, pinned Jonathan Flecken, M, :28.

135 — Tyler Gerrard, M, forfeit; 140 — A.J. Adams, A, maj. dec. Micah Horton, M, 13-4; 145 — Evan Camidge, M, dec. Ben Blackwell, M, 9-5; 152 — D.J. White, KU, pinned Zane Powless, KU, :21.

160 — Brett Henderson, M, bye; 171 — bye; 189 — Louis Lucas, EP, dec. Nate Westlund, M, 9-2; 215 — Cody Rick, KU, pinned Nik Beiter, EP, 1:00; 285 — Joe Dees, M, pinned Danieliller, EP, 2:20.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail

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