Phoenix's Eleazer De Luca wrestles in the 140-pound title match on Saturday. - Angie Walters

De Luca perseveres for second straight crown

PORTLAND — Given his sly smile and easygoing nature, it's not always easy to predict what's going through the mind of Phoenix's Eleazer De Luca as he prepares for a wrestling match.

If anyone had questions about his determination, he answered them Saturday night in claiming his second straight state championship with another undefeated season in the Class 4A ranks.

De Luca methodically took apart Molalla's Jake Marshall for the better part of the matchup at 140 pounds at Memorial Coliseum, landing a 12-6 decision in the midst of a troublesome bloody nose that led to four stoppages.

"He's composed but he also always gets ready for every match, especially up at state," said Phoenix head coach John Farmer. "From the first round to the last he gets himself 100 percent prepared to go out and wrestle, and a lot of people kind of overlook that. Even when you get good, you still have to get yourself prepared."

De Luca knew exactly what to expect in the finals after getting a good look at Marshall earlier in the day. The Phoenix junior needed only 56 seconds to pin Ontario's Max Maeda, then sat back and watched Marshall score a pin of his own in the semifinals.

Marshall opened with a physical style from the first whistle, slapping down on De Luca's head at every chance. All that did was open a free leg for De Luca to grab, and the Pirate swept it at will to open an 8-1 lead midway through the second round.

"I was wrestling a tough kid "… aggressive, hard on the head," said De Luca, who hasn't lost to an Oregonian since Illinois Valley's Sam Winter beat him in the state finals his freshman year. "I just had to go out there and keep my cool and wrestle the style my coaches taught me to wrestle."

"He kinda had a reason to be (physical) because he was telling everyone at his district tournament that he was going to go out there and stick De Luca," the Pirate said of Marshall. "He wanted it just as bad as I did. Everyone wants to be on top so having that competitive attitude is good."

While the physical style didn't alter De Luca's mind-set, it did open up a wound that increasingly made Farmer nervous as the five-minute blood time dipped to about two minutes before it was ultimately determined that taping his head would be the best option.

"The only problem we ran into was a little bit of blood," said the coach. "We got a little worried on the time there. He had to give up a takedown at the end because he didn't want to take the risk of that bleeding coming back up."

The blood began flowing with 50 seconds to go in the second round and De Luca ahead 8-1. He picked his spots from that point on, going back to a single leg pickup that he would eventually crawl through and score.

"If it's there I'm going to take it," said De Luca. "He gives me an opportunity to score like that, I'm going to be right on that opportunity."

While he may have been playing into the hands of Marshall, who Farmer said is a good leg rider, the confidence De Luca exhibits each match simply took over.

"He didn't hesitate for a second to say, 'Yeah, I want to go down under him,' because he knew he could get away," said Farmer. "He was pretty confident in that."

It's the same poise that led him to Oregon's triple crown a year ago and has him in line for another run this year. De Luca vowed to be back in the training room on Monday.

"He's 100 percent focused and every ounce he gets, he deserves," said Farmer.

After a rough opening day, the Pirates finished 21st in the team race with 33 points.

Henley placed three wrestlers in the finals en route to the Hornets' first-ever state championship, totaling 172 points overall.

Class 3A

Matt Coultas of Illinois Valley secured the lone 3A championship for the Southern Oregon contingent, opening a 1-0 lead in the first round and then working hard to make that hold up against Jay Masterson of Burns at 145.

Illinois Valley's Gabe Miller held a 1-0 lead into the third round of the 125-pound final before top-ranked Johnny Campbell of Myrtle Point pulled even with 30 seconds to go. The wrestlers went through a scoreless overtime, and another stalemate during each portion of the 30-second second overtime before the match was finally settled in sudden death when Miller was unable to escape Campbell's grasp in the final 30-second session.

Also for Illinois Valley, Zack Anderson (135) placed third with a pin of Glide's Jacob Forrester.

Rogue River's Aaron Longtain advanced to the finals at 119 and was tied 2-all in the third round with Glide's Walker Damewood before being tagged with a two-point near fall and an eventual 4-2 loss.

The Chieftains' John Dees (160) placed third with a technical fall in 3:42 against top-seeded Raymond Wright of Burns.

Cascade Christian senior Zac Roberson ran into a buzz saw in top-ranked Jake Swindlehurst of Burns in the championship semifinals but rebounded to place fifth for the Challengers.

Burns was the runaway team champion, scoring 193 points to notch its 10th straight Class 3A title. Illinois Valley was 11th with 64 points, while Rogue River was 14th (36.5) and Cascade Christian 23rd (13).

Class 4A

TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — Henley 172, Sweet Home 137, Crook County 132, Cascade 101, Ontario 98, North Marion 83.5, Madras 74, McLoughlin 64, Philomath 56, Molalla 52.

OTHER LOCAL SCORES — 21, Phoenix 33; 26, North Valley 23; 33, Hidden Valley 10.


103 — Ronnie Bresser, Henley, dec. Travis Bledsoe, Cascade, 13-1; 112 — Colton Schilling, Sweet Home, dec. Tee Nguyen, Klamath Union, 5:08; 119 — Jake Stigall, North Marion, tech. fall over Pete Peterson, Brookings-Harbor, 6:00; 125 — Trevor Anderson, Mazama, dec. Miguel Vasquez, Madras, 8-0; 130 — Lucas Randall, North Marion, dec. Ryan Dozler, Cascade, 11-0.

135 — Tyler Stigall, North Marion, dec. Tyler Cowger, Sweet Home, 2-1 ot; 140 — Eleazar De Luca, Phoenix, dec. Jake Marshall, Molalla, 12-6; 145 — Kris Newport, Sweet Home, pinned Guy Russell, South Umpqua, 1:55; 152 — Tyson Dahl, Douglas, dec. Trevor Wilson, Crook County, 6-3; 160 — Cody Crawford, Cascade, pinned Nate Johnson, Henley, 1:40.

171 — Travis Hill, Scappoose, dec. Trevor Ough, Crook County, 2-0; 189 — Phillip Morgan, Henley, pinned Bryson Martin, Crook County, 3:09; 215 — Chance Banta, Astoria, dec. Travis Williams, Madras, 2-0; 285 — Kyle Smith, Elmira, pinned Adrian Phillips, Madras, 2:58.


103 — David Cornish, North Valley, dec. Jo Middaugh, Yamhill-Carlton, 4-2; 152 — Josh Rutherford, McLoughlin, injury forfeit over Hector Garcia, North Valley.

Class 3A

TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — Burns 193, Nyssa 134, Dayton 132, Myrtle Point 110, Riverside 91, Willamina 87, Grant Union 79, Glide 78, Santiam Christian 76, Lakeview 73.

OTHER LOCAL SCORES — 11, Illinois Valley 64; 14, Rogue River 36.5; 23, Cascade Christian 13.


103 — Omar DelaCerda, Nyssa, pinned Kevin Munoz, Vale, 5:30; 112 — Gustavo Madrigal, Riverside, dec. Levi Gagnon, Grant Union, 10-3; 119 — Walker Damewood, Glide, dec. Aaron Longtain, Rogue River, 4-2; 125 — Jonny Campbell, Myrtle Point, dec. Gabe Miller, Illinois Valley, 2-1 ot; 130 — Tanner Canaday, Myrtle Point, dec. Brandon Miller, Willamina, 4-2.

135 — Jordan Moran, Dayton, dec. Brennan Bailey, Burns, 8-1; 140 — Jay Lysne, Lakeview, dec. Nick Contreras, Nyssa, 6-0; 145 — Matt Coultas, Illinois Valley, dec. Jay Masterson, Burns, 1-0; 152 — Tyler Strenke, Rainier, pinned Robert DeLeon, Nyssa, 1:38; 160 — Austin Tolman, Vale, dec. Eric Rains, Myrtle Point, 8-6.

171 — Brigham Hansen, Riverside, pinned Sye Yates, Coquille, 1:14; 189 — Cody Manzi, Santiam Christian, dec. Jake Swindlehurst, Burns, 10-9; 215 — Landon Hanner, Burns, dec. Zack Stegman, Grant Union, 7-4; 285 — George Swartzlender, Burns, pinned Jake Batease, Grant Union, 1:25.


135 — Zack Anderson, Illinois Valley, pinned Jacob Forrester, Glide, 6:51; 160 — John Dees, Rogue River, tech. fall over Raymond Wright, Burns, 3:42.


189 — Zac Roberson, Cascade Christian, dec. Hunter Chavarria, Toledo, 12-6.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, or e-mail Follow him at

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