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Crater's Brandon Montague, top, wrestles Hermiston's Abraham Rodriguez during the 145-pound title match on Saturday. - Matthew Aimonetti

Crater duo take second

Facing some of the state's top competition in what is generally considered a preview of the wrestling state tournament, Crater seniors Skyler Prislac and Brandon Montague fared about as well as you can Saturday during the Reser's Tournament of Champions in Hillsboro.

Prislac and Montague each battled their way into the championship finals before ultimately falling short in their title quest at Liberty High School. Prislac lost a 13-5 decision to Roseburg's Drew Van Anrooy at 130 pounds, while Montague dropped a 7-2 decision to Hermiston's Abraham Rodriguez at 145.

The Comets also had Mike Macuk place sixth at 135 to finish 16th in the 24-team event with 70 points. Crater also placed eighth in the junior varsity portion of the tournament.

"Crater had a great showing," said Eagle Point head coach Kacey McNulty. "They looked pretty tough."

McNulty's Eagles actually fared the best among the Southern Oregon contingent, scoring 82 points in the varsity tournament to finish 13th overall. Eagle Point was 18th in the JV tourney.

The Eagles were paced by a third-place showing by Gage Baumer at 171. Ben Zomerdyk (130) and Johnny Wilkerson (160) each finished fourth, while Aaron Lorenz placed sixth at 112.

"I was pleased with where we were," said McNulty. "Gage Baumer finishing third behind a two-time state champion and a three-time state champion was a good showing for him."

North Medford also had three placers, with Alex Smith (135) and Cody Wedman (145) each taking fourth and heavyweight Marlon Campos finishing fifth. The Black Tornado tied for 18th with 61.5 points, and was 15th in the JV tourney.

Roseburg won both events in dominant fashion, scoring 181 points in the varsity tourney to overcome a good challenge by Hermiston (170.5). Sprague (114), Culver (112) and Redmond (107.5) rounded out the top five teams in the 24-team event.

Prislac's final score wasn't indicative of how close his finals match was with Van Anrooy, who led only 4-2 heading into the third period.

"I thought he did a great job up to that point," said Crater head coach Greg Haga. "You've got to take chances to score so he opened himself up for scoring opportunities but in doing that it created opportunities for the other guy that he hadn't had before in the match."

Prislac, the No. 2 seed, earned his spot in the finals with a 5-4 decision over No. 3 seed David St. Pierre of West Albany.

"Skyler wrestled really well just to get there in the finals," said Haga, "and to get into the finals at Reser's is pretty substantial."

Montague's performance provided one of the surprises of the weekend, with the Comet shrugging off a No. 7 seed to earn his spot in the finals. He upset Newberg's Nick Hettinga, the No. 2 seed, in the quarterfinals with an 8-2 decision, then opened Saturday with a 4-3 decision over Wedman, seeded third at 145.

In his finals matchup against Rodriguez, Montague fell behind 5-0 in the first period but kept charging to the final buzzer.

"The thing that hurt us in that match was when he got taken down in the first round he got turned and that was all the scoring for a long time," said Haga of the pivotal three-point near fall. "Had he not gotten turned, that would've changed our whole direction on whether we would've chosen to be down or not in the third round."

"He did a great job coming through, though," added the coach. "It's tough in the finals."

Macuk was pinned in 1:26 by Lowell's Jaxon Ward in the fifth-place finals.

"The wrestling up there is phenomenal," added Haga. "You look at some of the matches like in Mike Macuk's weight class where you had several state champions, finishing among the top six is pretty good. That might have been one of the toughest weights in the tournament."

Baumer came close to joining his Rogue Valley peers in the finals. The Eagle Point standout suffered a 3-1 loss to Roseburg's Dylan Fors — a two-time Class 6A state champion — in the semifinals.

"He had some opportunities to score, he just couldn't finish the takedowns," said McNulty. "It was an exciting match. He could've easily scored one of those and tied it up. He's wrestled (Fors) three times this year and each time he closes the gap."

Lowell's Zac Cardwell, a three-time Class 2A/1A state champion, edged Fors 5-2 in the finals.

Zomerdyk suffered a 5-3 loss to St. Pierre in the third-place final, while Wilkerson suffered a pin in 1:10 at the hands of Thurston's Austin Miller. Lorenz lost 8-2 to top-seeded Ryan Haney of Redmond.

Smith, a senior at North, lost in 5:31 on a technical fall by Hillsboro's Mikey Rodriguez, who is a three-time state champion but was edged in the semifinals by Roseburg's Reed Van Anrooy.

Wedman wound up getting pinned by Culver's Jesus Retano in 4:28 in their third-place final, while Campos avenged an overtime loss during the quarterfinals with a 1-0 decision over Hermiston's Kevin Dopps in the fifth-place final at 285.

TEAM SCORES — Roseburg 181, Hermiston 170.5, Sprague 114, Culver 112, Redmond 107.5, McNary 107, Oregon City 98.5, Burns 90, Hillsboro 89.5, Sweet Home 86, Newberg 84, Reedsport 83.5, Eagle Point 82, Lowell 79, Crook County 76, Crater 70, Westview 64, North Medford 61.5, Glencoe 61.5, Canby 59, West Albany 56, Tualatin 51, Aloha 39.5, Thurston 38.5.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, or e-mail khenry@mailtribune.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Kris_Henry

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