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Eagle Point's Ben Zomerdyk, top, wrestles Churchill's Max Thomas during the 130-pound championship match on Saturday. - Larry Stauth Jr.

Eagles' rally falls short

EAGLE POINT — There was no quit in the Eagle Point wrestling team Saturday afternoon but the Eagles simply couldn't get over the hump in their pursuit of Churchill during the 18-team Eagle Point Invitational.

Eagle Point trailed the Lancers by 101/2 points heading into the finals but, despite crowning three champions, could only trim four points off that deficit as Churchill won, 1831/2 points to 177.

The Lancers chalked up only one championship in six attempts but that was enough in a preview for the end-of-season regional tournament.

"We're right there," said Eagle Point head coach Kacey McNulty. "I thought we had a good effort. Churchill's talented ... they're very good. It's going to make for an interesting (regional) tournament."

Marshfield, another regional foe, finished third with 1521/2 points, followed by Bend (149), North Medford (120) and Phoenix (115).

Rogue River used a championship effort by Aaron Longtain at 119 pounds and a runner-up showing by John Dees (160) to finish 11th, while South Medford was 15th.

Aaron Lorenz (112), Ben Zomerdyk (130) and Gage Baumer (171) each won their weight divisions for Eagle Point, while the team's fourth finalist — Travis Woods — was turned away in another methodical showing by Phoenix standout Eleazar De Luca, who won 19-9.

De Luca's teammate, Tyler Hudson, was ahead in the third period of his championship match but a costly stalling penalty and subsequent takedown led to his undoing at 171 against Churchill's Trevor Davis.

Lorenz got the Eagles off to a good start in the championship finals with a 6-4 decision over Klamath Union's Tee Nguyen. Lorenz, ranked fourth at Class 5A, built a 4-1 lead in the second period but, after a Nguyen escape in the third, got caught being a little too aggressive for a match-tying takedown with 15 seconds remaining. Undaunted, Lorenz scored a reversal with one second to go.

"I just knew that it was the third round and I had to go out and attack because you can't just stall," said the EP junior. "I went out and attacked and it kinda backfired on me a little bit. After that I just had to work hard to get the reversal."

Zomerdyk had one of the more interesting matches of the night, if only for the gore factor. Churchill foe Max Thomas battled a bloody nose throughout the match, leading to two stoppage times to stop the bleeding in the first period and another in the second of what developed as a pretty contentious matchup of 130-pounders.

"There were a lot of stops in there but you've just got to keep going," said Zomerdyk. "Throughout the match you get cold just sitting there so I had to work to get going and keep the pressure on the whole time."

Zomerdyk, ranked fifth, led 2-1 when the eighth-ranked Thomas was penalized a point for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Lancer then had two straight cautions, giving him three overall and resulting in another penalty point for Zomerdyke. After an escape, the EP senior had built a 5-1 lead early in the second.

Thomas battled back with a takedown but still trailed 6-3 in the third period when the wrestlers combined for a wild scramble that went from Thomas' reversal to an instant reversal by Zomerdyk for an 8-5 score with 1:25 to go. Thomas cut his deficit to 8-6 but missed a shot with 39 seconds to go, and Zomerdyk capitalized with a takedown for the final margin of victory at 10-6.

Baumer made the nip-and-tuck finish by his teammates look almost comfortable in comparison to his comeback at 171. The top-ranked senior fell behind midway through the first period when he missed a throw and Churchill's Trevor Davis slid through his arms for a takedown.

The match essentially remained a stalemate, save for a Baumer escape, to put the outcome in doubt heading into the final minute. Trailing 2-1, Baumer caught a retreating Davis and appeared to have scored a go-ahead takedown at the edge of the mat with 18 seconds to go. The takedown was overruled moments later, however, following a conference between the two mat referees.

Instead of hanging his head on the missed opportunity, however, Baumer dialed it up a notch and caught Davis in a no-doubter with one second to go for the winning takedown in a hard-fought, 3-2 victory.

"It just goes to show that he has some tenacity and is really able to push himself," McNulty said of Baumer. "He's been in those situations before and he's confident that he can score when he has to, and he does."

Only last week, Baumer trailed Ashland state-placer Jake Scarminach with seven seconds to go before rallying for a victory over his second-ranked opponent.

"Gage has matured a lot this year compared to where he was last year and in the past," added McNulty. "He's really confident and he doesn't let any of those things distract him."

The same could be said for Phoenix's De Luca, who is the reigning 4A state champion and wrestled at 140 for the first time this season. De Luca found good resistance in Woods in the finals, but all nine points allowed in his major decision were by virtue of allowed escapes.

"He was a strong kid with a good base," said De Luca, who had been wrestling at 145. "It's a little bit harder to wrestle guys like that and open them up more."

De Luca used Saturday to help hone his technique in setting up and finishing shots.

"My game plan is always to end the match as quick as possible but I like working my takedowns, honestly," said the nationally ranked junior. "That's where my strength is."

Longtain scored the quickest decision in the finals with his pin of Brookings-Harbor's Peter Peterson in 1:19, while Dees was turned and pinned in 4:39 by Churchill's Zac Brunson.

North Medford's Marlon Campos couldn't quite get anything going against Klamath Union's Will Morse in the heavyweight final, settling for second after a 3-1 decision by Morse.

TEAM SCORES — Churchill 183.5, Eagle Point 177, Marshfield 152.5, Bend 149, North Medford 120, Phoenix 115, Willamette 96, Brookings-Harbor 90, Klamath Union 87, South Umpqua 80, Rogue River 73, Del Norte 63, Mazama 48.5, Corvallis 41, South Medford 29, Etna 2, Cascade Christian 0, North Eugene 0.

CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS

103 — Brandon Campbell, Mar, dec. Joe Bendix, Wil, 6-2; 112 — Aaron Lorenz, EP, dec. Tee Nguyen, KU, 6-4; 119 — Aaron Longtain, RR, pinned Pete Peterson, Bro, 1:19; 125 — Tyler Nixon, Mar, maj. dec. Houston Ezell, Chu, 10-1; 130 — Ben Zomerdyk, EP, dec. Max Thomas, Chu, 10-6.

135 — Jordan Lacey, DN, pinned Patrick Arnold, Cor, 1:40; 140 — Eleazar De Luca, Pho, maj. dec. Travis Woods, EP, 19-9; 145 — Gage Redden, Wil, pinned David Tena, Chu, :39; 152 — Jesse Moore, Mar, dec. Chase Kearney, Chu, 9-5.

160 — Zac Brunson, Chu, pinned John Dees, RR, 4:39; 171 — Gage Baumer, EP, dec. Trevor Davis, Chu, 3-2; 189 — Kenny Dailey, Bend, dec. Tyler Hudson, Pho, 5-3; 215 — Chance Crane, SU, pinned Shane Buck, Bend, 3:29; 285 — Will Morse, KU, dec. Marlon Campos, NM, 3-1.

THIRD-PLACE FINALS

103 — tie, Jorrin Ishihara, Chu, and Chris Bowers, SU; 112 — Thaddeus Nelson, Mar, dec. Alek Callahan, EP, 7-6; 119 — Eddie Perez, EP, dec. Dylan Beneat, Chu, 4-2; 125 — Hunter Goguen, Chu, dec. Russell Pascual, Wil, 6-0; 130 — tie, Riley Dodd, Pho, and Rowdey Wells, Maz.

135 — Cole Hannan, Bro, pinned Noah Smith, Wil, 5:47; 140 — Ricky Stockwell, SM, pinned Chantz Mariscal, KU, 5:36; 145 — Austin Wolf, Pho, dec. Edward Martinez, EP, 7-6; 152 — tie, Dre Golden, Bend, and Tim Drafahl, Bro.

160 — tie, Branden Todd, NM, and James Simmons, SU; 171 — Johnny Wilkerson, EP, dec. Gavin Gerdes, Bend, 5-3; 189 — tie, James Greenleaf, KU, and Kody Campbell, Mar; 215 — Jake Browning, Mar, pinned Jacob Cox, Maz, 2:54; 285 — tie, Manny Valdovinos, EP, and Johnny Castro, Mar.

FIFTH-PLACE FINALS

103 — tie, Noah Haines, Bend, and Brycen Cessnun, Bro; 112 — Chris McFall, NM, default over Edgar Cox, NM; 119 — tie, Austin Snow, Pho, and Nico Spring, Bend; 125 — Tyler Crist, NM, and Jackson Evans, DN; 130 — tie, Jacob Willis, Pho, and Nathan Lucas, EP.

135 — Colby Deskins, NM, default over Kyle Bradfield, Pho; 140 — Spencer Ebert, NM, dec. Izaak Simar, Bend, 7-4; 145 — Jason Vinton, Bend, pinned Michael Freitas, RR, :52; 152 — Jake Ashcraft, Cor, default over Reid Shipley, NM.

160 — tie, Joe Jones, Wil, and Daniel Morgan, EP; 171 — tie, Kaden Johnson, NM, and Kris Hunt, Bend; 189 — tie, Trevor Olsen, EP, and Jesse Ashley, Bro; 215 — Graham Bellerby, Chu, pinned Alejandro Valle-Romero, EP, 2:45; 285 — Isaac Terry, DN, pinned Trevor Derra, Maz, 3:49.

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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