PORTLAND — For all the years where Southern Oregon wrestlers could be seen having their hands raised in triumph seemingly at every turn, Friday was a little different for the local boys here during the opening day of the wrestling state tournament.
With all classifications jammed into the Memorial Coliseum, opportunities were plentiful to see kids from the Rogue Valley advance into today's semifinal round in the championship bracket.
But for whatever reason, it generally didn't happen for the locals save for a handful of wrestlers from Eagle Point, Crater and Ashland.
The Eagles made the biggest opening-day impression, pushing three wrestlers into the semifinals while six others remained alive in the consolation bracket. Eagle Point advanced nine of its 12 wrestlers into the quarterfinals after a strong morning round then held it together for the most part to lend hope for a top-four finish at the Class 5A level.
"I've seen a lot of teams melting and stuff but we're right in this thing," said EP head coach Kacey McNulty, whose team has finished fifth at state the past three years.
The Eagles stand fourth with 54 points, trailing only Hermiston (100.5), Dallas (81) and Lebanon (57). Crater sits in 12th place with
"We're right in the hunt for a trophy but we've got to get these guys to come through, especially the guys in the backdoor of the bracket," added McNulty.
Second-seeded Aaron Lorenz (112 pounds) and Gage Baumer (171) were each dominant in securing their spot in the semifinals, while Ben Zomerdyk came up with one of the biggest upsets of the day when he scored a 3-1 overtime victory over No. 1 seed C.J. Dircksen of Hermiston.
Zomerdyk trailed 1-0 to Dircksen, a state runner-up last year, in the third round before Dircksen was called for locking his hands after a restart with six seconds to go. That tied the match and forced overtime, and Zomerdyk slipped in for a double-leg takedown 22 seconds into the extra session.
"Ben was in on some shots and the kid was getting out of bounds," McNulty said of the early rounds. "It was kind of poetic justice, I guess, that he was able to take it into overtime and get a win with a takedown right on the edge of the mat. He didn't get a finish during the regulation period but came out and found a way in overtime. It was a nice shot, good finish, good win."
Also advancing to the semis at the 5A level were Ashland's Jake Scarminach (171) and Sam Cowan (285). Scarminach powered through with a 9-4 win over Putnam's Adam McAdams in the quarterfinals, while Cowan dominated Jefferson's Alex Mitchell for a 16-1 technical fall in 5:51.
Baumer and Scarminach, the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds, respectively, will meet for the fifth time this season during today's semis. Baumer has won all four prior matchups, but each has come down to the wire.
"We knew that was a big possibility," McNulty said of the pairing. "Scarminach is tough. The more you wrestle an opponent the harder it is so we'll see what we can do there."
"It's going to be a very exciting match, hopefully I come out on top this time," added Scarminach, who took a blow to the head with 25 seconds to go in the quarterfinals and sought medical attention after the match for blurry vision. He passed a lengthy workup by staff on hand at the Coliseum.
In contention for the Eagles in the consolation bracket are Orlando DeLaCruz (103), Eddie Perez (119), Travis Woods (140), Johnny Wilkerson (160), Daniel Morgan (160) and Manny Valdovinos (285).
In 6A, North Medford's Cody Wedman remained alive in the championship bracket as the No. 1 seed at 145, while Crater seniors Skyler Prislac (130), Mike Macuk (135) and Brandon Montague (145) also advanced to the semifinals.
The Black Tornado still has Chris McFall (112), Tyler Crist (119) and Alex Smith (135) in the consolation bracket, but the Comets couldn't get any of their remaining wrestlers through the backside of the bracket.
"It's always the ebb and flow of wrestling," said North Medford head coach Nolan Harris, "you get guys that come through the bracket and guys that you know have the potential but it doesn't happen for one reason or another."
Wedman was especially steady throughout the day for the Black Tornado, even though his 6-2 and 5-1 decisions don't tell the full story of how much he was in control.
"Cody's a methodical wrestler," said Harris. "If he gets a lead on you, you're playing into his tempo. He's doing what he's got to do. He's got a goal and he's pretty focused with it. I'm excited to see what he'll do (today) with a pretty tough kid right away (McMinnville's Chris Pearson)."
Smith found tough luck in his quarterfinal draw as he had to face three-time defending state champion Mikey Rodriguez of Hillsboro. The North senior held his own with only a 6-4 deficit midway through the second round, but Rodriguez picked up the momentum and closed with a 13-6 triumph.
Crater's senior trio dominated their semifinals, with only Montague facing some late anxiety. Prislac was a 12-2 winner over Sprague's Brennan Ridling, while Macuk gradually pulled away for a 14-3 major decision over West Linn's Braden Krellwitz.
Montague led 8-2 in his match before a reversal by South Salem's Tyler Scheideman.
Still ahead 8-4, Montague almost had the rug pulled out from under him inside the final 15 seconds when Scheideman got him in a cement mixer and almost secured a match-winning fall. Montague used every muscle in his neck and shoulders to deny the upset.
Grants Pass moved four wrestlers — Casey Coulter (103), Nathan Piader (125), Luke Collins (130) and Jose Cruz III (160) — into the semifinal round.
Eleazar De Luca carried the torch for Phoenix after a rough day at the 4A level for the Pirates. De Luca, the defending champion at 140, is the lone Pirate still in contention on either side of the bracket.
"The day started with probably our second-best kid that should've scored up here (district champion and regional runner-up Austyn Snow) separating his shoulder very badly in the first minute of the match and had to forfeit out," said Phoenix head coach John Farmer. "From that point on it just seemed to take that kind of tone for us. Not a great day but we still have one kid going into the semis who I think has a good shot at going all the way."
In 3A action, Cascade Christian's Zac Roberson advanced to the semis at 189 with two first-round pins, while Rogue River's Aaron Longtain advanced at 119 and Illinois Valley placed a pair of wrestlers in the semis in Gabe Miller (125) and Matt Coultas (145).
As expected, Roseburg is closing in on another 6A championship with 96 team points, well ahead of second-place Newberg's 50.5. Grants Pass is fifth with 49.5 points, Crater (27) is tied with Barlow for 12th and North Medford (25) is in a three-way tie for 15th.
Henley leads the 4A race with 91 points, while Burns is ahead with 85 points at the 3A level.
TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — Roseburg 96, Newberg 50.5, David Douglas 50, McNary 50, Grants Pass 49.5, Sprague 49, Oregon City 45, Hillsboro 38, Redmond 36, Canby 33.
OTHER LOCAL SCORES — 12t, Crater 27; 15t, North Medford 25; 36t, South Medford 2.
103 — Casey Coulter, Grants Pass, dec. Peter Huynh, Clackamas, 4-1; 112 — Ernesto Escobar, Westview, dec. Chris McFall, North Medford, 16-4; 119 — Chance Lindquist, Redmond, dec. Jesse Orndoff, Grants Pass, 4-2; Robert Barton, Sprague, dec. Tyler Crist, North Medford, 17-6; 125 — Nathan Piader, Grants Pass, dec. J.R. Ramsey, Centennial, 16-4; 130 — Luke Collins, Grants Pass, dec. Alex Funk, Sprague, 5-2; Skyler Prislac, Crater, dec. Brennan Ridling, 12-2.
135 — Mike Macuk, Crater, dec. Braden Krellwitz, West Linn, 14-3; Mikie Rodriguez, Hillsboro, dec. Alex Smith, North Medford, 13-6; 145 — Cody Wedman, North Medford, dec. Andrew Romaine, Canby, 5-1; Brandon Montague, Crater, dec. Tyler Scheideman, South Salem, 8-7; 160 — Jose Cruz III, Grants Pass, pinned Austin Allen, Barlow, :55.
171 — Ryan Harman, West Linn, dec. Jordon Townsend, South Medford, 6-4.
TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — Hermiston 47, Dallas 37, Eagle Point 30, Lebanon 28, Sandy 23.5, Hood River 23.0, Pendleton 23, Sherwood 22, Churchill 21.5, Silverton 20.5.
OTHER LOCAL SCORE — 22, Ashland 7.
103 — Isaac Aguilar, Hermiston, dec. Orlando DeLaCruz, Eagle Point, 11-3; 112 — Aaron Lorenz, Eagle Point, dec. Tyler Renfro, Dallas, 7-3; 119 — Aldo Lara, Hood River Valley dec. Eddie Perez, Eagle Point, 3-1; 130 — Ben Zomerdyk, Eagle Point, dec. CJ Dircksen, 3-1, OT.
140 — Paul Dodson, Sherwood, dec. Travis Woods, Eagle Point, 17-9; 160 — Ryker Smith, West Albany dec. Johnny Wilkerson, Eagle Point, 7-4; Jordy Mallon, Hood River Valley, pinned Daniel Morgan, Eagle Point. 3:15.
171 — Jake Scarminach, Ashland dec. Adam McAdams, Putnam, 9-4; Gage Baumer, Eagle Point, pinned Ansel Webster, Milwaukie 5:50; 285 — Sam Cowan, Ashland, tech. fall Alex Mitchell, Jefferson, 4:38; Neil Ochs, Wilsonville dec. Manny Valdovinos, Eagle Point, 6-1.
TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — Henley 91, Crook County 76, Sweet Home 70, Ontario 62, Cascade 47, McLoughlin 39, Madras 38, North Marion 33, Molalla 31, Philomath 29.
OTHER LOCAL SCORES — 16, Mazama 22; 21t, North Valley 17; 23, Phoenix 16; 24t, Klamath Union 15; 28, Hidden Valley 10.
103 — David Cornish, North Valley, dec. Kole Wills, Madras, 2-0; 130 — Andy Katzenberger, Crook County, dec. James Bowers, North Valley, 6-5.
140 — Eleazar Deluca, Phoenix, pinned Steven Groce, Yamhill-Carlton, 1:54; Jake Marshall, Molalla, dec. Seth Sotelo, Hidden Valley, 6-2; 152 — Josh Rutherford, McLoughlin, dec. Hector Garcia, North Valley, 4-2.
TEAM SCORES (Top 10) — Burns 85, Nyssa 71, Dayton 58.5, Myrtle Point 43, Riverside 40, Willamina 37, Grant Union 36, Glide 34, Lakeview 28, Rainier 26, Santiam Christian 26.
OTHER LOCAL SCORES — 15, Illinois Valley 21; 21t, Cascade Christian 11; 21t, Rogue River 11.
119 — Aaron Longtain, Rogue River, pinned Brandyn Aberle, Rainier, 1:53; 125 — Gabe Miller, Illinois Valley, pinned Brennan Olsen, Colton, 1:48.
135 — Brennan Bailey, Burns, dec. Zack Anderson, Illinois Valley, 3-2; 145 — Matt Coultas, Illinois Valley, dec. Teigen Winsted, Harrisburg, 8-2; 160 — Austin Tolman, Vale, dec. John Dees, Rogue River, 7-2.
189 — Zac Roberson, Cascade Christian, pinned Hunter Chavarria, Toledo, :36.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/Kris_Henry