Crater's Brandon Montague, top, wrestles North Medford's Cody Wedman in the 145-pound state title match on Saturday. - Angie Walters

Deja vu for Montague

PORTLAND — To say that the number "4" is lucky for Brandon Montague would be an understatement.

To say that Cody Wedman never wants to see the number "3" again would fit that category as well.

The two top 145-pound wrestlers at the Class 6A level squared off for the third time this season during Saturday's state tournament at Memorial Coliseum, and for the third straight time Crater's Montague escaped with a 4-3 decision.

This victory secured the first state championship for Montague and proved to be the lone one for the Comets or anyone else from the Rogue Valley in the 6A tourney.

"That seems to be the pattern going on, from Reser's Tournament of Champions to districts to now," the senior said of his latest 4-3 win over North Medford's Wedman.

"I'm so excited," added Montague. "All my family and friends and teammates were there supporting me in the stands cheering. It really made it worth it that much more, having all my family and friends around."

Teammate Skyler Prislac also was wrestling a common opponent for a third time in the finals, but his duel with Roseburg's Drew Van Anrooy didn't go as well. The top-ranked Van Anrooy pulled away late for a 12-3 major decision at 130.

Combined with a third-place showing by fellow senior Mike Macuk, the Comets were able to finish strong in a tournament that didn't start on the right foot for most of its eight-deep contingent. As a team, Crater finished 12th with 60 points.

"It was a tough tournament in the beginning for us but then the three seniors, we kinda pulled through the second day and kept it going," said Montague. "Mike had a tough match and ended up taking third and Skyler had a really good finals match, too. It was nice to be able to go out there and represent Crater and get at least one state win."

Macuk secured a 9-4 decision over McKay's Chris Gomez in the third-place final, leaving his only tourney loss to come at the hands of Roseburg's Reed Van Anrooy in the semifinals.

Grants Pass finished with five state placers, including state runners-up Nathan Piader (125) and Jose Crux (160), to place third behind defending champion Roseburg in the team race. The Indians advanced seven wrestlers into the finals, including two at 152 pounds, and won their fourth Class 6A title in the past five years with 212 points. GP totaled 100.5 points — five behind Sprague.

North Medford was 16th with 43 points after landing two state-placers.

As the clock ticked away in the Montague-Wedman match, the magic 4-3 number drew closer and closer. Montague opened with a takedown for a 2-0 advantage but Wedman came right back with an escape. A second-round reversal by Montague boosted his lead to 4-1, but Wedman again wouldn't be kept on the mat and recorded a one-point escape.

Montague's 4-2 advantage stood until he was called for stalling with 1:09 to go in the match, putting the wrestlers on that almost predetermined 4-3 mark.

"I was trying to return him to the mat but I wasn't doing it hard enough and I wasn't showing enough effort and they got me for stalling," he said. "The ref's the ref, and their call is the call."

Wedman tried almost every trick in the book to escape Montague's clutches over the final 69 seconds, but the Crater senior always seemed to find a way to at least force a restart.

"With a minute left we needed an escape and got into a couple scrambles but Montague did a good job of tying us up and creating a stalemate and getting a fresh start," said North Medford coach Nolan Harris.

Montague credited Wedman with pushing the issue and forcing him to break from the mold that landed him the earlier two wins.

"Cody's a great wrestler," said Montague. "He's a tough kid and he's really strong on bottom. He knew I was going to try to put that right leg in and turn him to the mat and he really worked on that, I can tell, because I only got that leg in once or twice. I respect him and I really enjoyed wrestling him.

"I had to go with a tight waist and a wrist and that's not normally my moves there, but I had coach (Justin) Godley and (Greg) Haga and coach (Denny) Walters in (the wrestling room) pushing me and making sure I'm not just a one-sided wrestler."

When all was said and done, all Wedman and Harris and the Black Tornado contingent could do was simply tip their hats to Montague.

"To beat someone three times in a row, all by one point, that's really difficult to do and he was able to accomplish that," said Harris. "We had our opportunities and he scored off our shot, and that's always a heartbreaker. It was an exciting match."

Wedman had advanced to the finals with a wide-open 14-11 win over McMinnville's Chris Pearson, while Montague earned his spot with a 5-0 win over second-seeded Jeff Halcott of Thurston.

In Prislac's championship match, Van Anrooy only led by a 4-2 margin heading into the third round but was able to come up with some big points midway through to eventually land a 12-3 major decision.

"The big difference is at the very end, I can't get front-quartered like that," Prislac said of a final three-point near fall that secured the win for his foe. "I kept it close going all the way into the third round, and probably should've kept it a little closer, but you've just got to be careful of those big moves he'll throw on you in the end."

Van Anrooy entered the finals as a two-time state runner-up and ranked No. 1 at the weight. He previously topped Prislac in the Reser's TOC final and the regional final.

"He's a tough kid, that's for sure," said Prislac, who wrapped up his Crater career as a three-time state-placer. "I wrestled the way I wanted to wrestle throughout the state tournament, consistent and steady and wrestled hard every match. That landed me in the finals, I just got (matched with) a tough kid."

Prislac advanced to the finals with a 5-1 win over second-seeded Nathan Fritz of David Douglas.

North Medford suffered through a rough start in the consolation action, with senior Chris McFall (112) and junior Tyler Crist (119) each losing their morning matches and finishing one win shy of becoming a state placer.

Grants Pass' Nathan Piader, ranked No. 1 at 125, suffered a tough loss in the championships in a 10-5 match against Newberg's Peter Russo.

Jose Cruz also fell short of his goal, falling 5-3 in the finals at 160 to Forest Grove's Jake Bennett.

Class 6A Results

TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — Roseburg 212, Sprague 105, Grants Pass 100, Newberg 99.5, McNary 88, Oregon City 88, Redmond 75, Hillsboro 74.5, David Douglas 73, Canby 61.5.

OTHER LOCAL SCORES — 12, Crater 60; 16, North Medford 43; 36t, South Medford 2.0


103 — Kyle Sether, Oregon City, dec. Garrett Rider, Newberg, 4-1; 112 — Josh Johnson, Forest Grove, dec. John Vara, Hillsboro, 5-1; 119 — Robert Barton, Sprague, dec. Levi Martinez, McNary, 11-4; 125 — Peter Russo, Newberg, dec. Nathan Piader, Grants Pass, 10-5; 130 — Drew Van Anrooy, Roseburg, dec. Skyler Prislac, Crater, 12-3.

135 — Mikie Rodriguez, Hillsboro, dec. Reed Van Anrooy, Roseburg, 5-4; 140 — Chayse Jackson, Roseburg, dec. A.J. Ballard, Canby, 2-1 ot; 145 — Brandon Montague, Crater, Cody Wedman, North Medford, 4-3; 152 — Seth Thomas, Roseburg, dec. Javier Mandera, Roseburg, 3-1 ot; 160 — Jake Bennett, Forest Grove, dec. Jose Cruz III, Grants Pass, 5-3.

171 — Dylan Fors, Roseburg, tech. fall over Ryan Harman, West Linn, 5:11; 189 — Brandon Griffin, Sprague, dec. Devan Fors, Roseburg, 4-2; 215 — Wes Heredia, McNary, dec. Mick Dougharity, Barlow, 11-5; 285 — Jared Groner, Oregon City, pinned John Wolfe, Barlow, 3:45.


103 — Casey Coulter, Grants Pass, pinned Joel Timmons, Westview, 1:38; 130 — Luke Collins, Grants Pass, pinned Nathan Fritz, David Douglas, 3:50; 135 — Mike Macuk, Crater, dec. Chris Gomez, McKay, 9-4.


119 — Jesse Orndoff, Grants Pass, pinned Kyle Flaig, Glencoe, 2:31; 135 — Alex Smith, North Medford, dec. Braden Krellwitz, West Linn, 4-3.

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

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