January 7, 2006
The Hood River Valley High School wrestling coaches had mixed feelings about the team’s 37-24 at-home loss Wednesday night against Crook County.
On the one hand, the Eagles lost 77-12 to the Cowboys last season, getting pinned from 103 pounds to 189. Considering that Crook County looks to be as good this season, keeping the dual close was a positive for a much improved Eagles lineup.
On the other hand, the team faced a bit of disappointment because, had two matches gone in Hood River’s favor, they would have won their first league meet this season.
“They (Crook County) look about as good as they were last year,” said Polkinghorn. “So it shows we’re that much better. We’ve made big improvements, we’re competing better and we’re being tougher on the mat.”
Sophomore Gage Morris started the dual for Hood River at 103 pounds. Morris faced a takedown technician and after a three-round battle, Crook County’s Riley Wood finished ahead 9-3.
At 112 pounds Gary Thompson stepped up to varsity for the meet after Jose Ramirez missed weight by a tenth of a pound. New rules say that once a wrestler steps on the scale during a weigh-in, he/she can only challenge the measure three times. A challenge is simply stepping off the scale and back on.
Thompson fired up the Eagles with a reversal and a come-from-behind pin.
The Cowboys bumped their 112-pounder up to 119, meaning Ramirez faced the same wrestler he would have had he made weight.
“I just didn’t wrestle my match,” Ramirez said about his 6-2 loss. “I just gassed-out and I didn’t attack. The loss makes me want it more and it makes me want to not lose at home like that again.”
To Ramirez’s credit, the match would have gone the other way but he made a mistake on his feet late in the first period that gave Cowboy Brandon Gass a takedown and near-fall for a five-point lead.
The Cowboys were solid at 125 and 130, picking up hard-fought wins over Brandon Nakamura and Kevin Dye.
At 135, a still undefeated Leo Gonzalez trounced his opponent. After building a lead with several takedowns, Gonzales picked up a fall early in the second round with a head and arm combination.
Crook County went on to win the next three, with a tech fall at 140, a major decision at 145 and a forfeit at 152.
The best match of the night came at 160, with sophomore Eric Lujano battling to a 9-7 win over a returning state qualifier. With a takedown and near-fall, Lujano was up 5-1 after the first period. With both wrestlers visibly exhausted by the final minute, Lujano wrestled defensively on his feet to hold on to the two point lead.
Sal Ledezma and Cory Miller, at 189 and 215, added more points to the scoreboard for the Eagles, with Ledezma winning by decision and Miller picking up a fall using the ever-painful Banana-Split pinning combination.
When asked what weaknesses the Cowboys revealed for Hood River, Coach Polkinghorn answered, “They basically came in and did a takedown clinic on us. We came to practice today and worked a lot on counters to different takedowns. It comes down our kids just needing more time on the mat and more hands-on learning. It’s a trial by fire of sorts.”
Today, Hood River Valley High School hosts the annual Elks Memorial Invitational Tournament, which will give the Eagles plenty more mat time and hands-on experience before their next dual meet on Dec. 11 at Hermiston.