The Bulldog wrestlers have not let very much grass grow under their feet since defending their Oregon Wrestling Classic title. Since that Saturday the Boy’s and Girl's teams have participated in an astounding 10 varsity events in the last 14 days.
On Wednesday Jan. 18, we hosted the boys and girls teams from Bend High and Madras in the Dawg Dome. In the girls matchup, the Lava Bears won 12-3 with three contested matches.
Gabby Torres was the lone winner for us, winning a tough 9-7 decision over Bend’s Rickie Dean. The Bend boys team was seventh just a few days prior at the Oregon Classic in the 5A division but on Wednesday it was the Dawgs who came out on top of a close dual meet by the score of 36-37.
The Bulldogs look to be well in control of the dual early but the Lava Bears notched some key, come from behind victories in the later matches to make it interesting. When Culver’s standout heavyweight state champ Wylie Johnson took the mat the home team was behind by five points, but it took Wylie a mere seven seconds to secure the fall and add 6 points to the team total
In the nightcap, Culver’s Hensley Wachter defeated Itzel Andrade from Madras by fall in the only girls match between Culver and Madras, and in the boys match, Culver walked away with a 60-17 win but Madras made it interesting with a couple of key wins against ranked Culver wrestlers at 170 and 145 pounds.
Then on the weekend our girls traveled to Dallas to compete in their first-ever dual meet tournament. We took eight girls to Dallas and wrestled five duals on Friday night. The girls wrestled Scappoose first and the dual ended in a 30-30 tie, but Scappoose won on criteria. Then in the placing match, the Culver girls beat Sutherlin 36-18 and not only earned the very first dual meet victory in school history but with it ninth place in the dual meet tournament.
Gabby Torres was 5-0 on the day at 125 pounds and Hensley Wachter was 4-1 and together they anchored a pretty successful day for the Lady Dawgs.
The girls remained in Dallas and the next morning were part of a 64-team tournament that fielded 364 wrestlers. Culver finished in 23rd place with 50 team points. Gabby Torres advanced to the 125 pound semifinal round with three solid wins but couldn't get by Liberty’s No. 1 seed Gracee Grenfell. Grenfell won that semifinal match 7-2 and Torres dropped into the third place match where she earned a 6-0 decision over McKay’s Marilyn Mentado. Torres won nine matches over the two-day period and scored 21 of the Bulldogs’ 50 points Saturday. The other Bulldog placer was Shelby Bunting, seventh at 135 pounds.
While the girls were in Dallas, the boys were just 25 miles away at Santiam Christian High School’s Screamin Eagle invitational. They were third out of a field of 17 teams with 168 team points behind Columbia River High School from Vancouver, Washington, and 4A Philomath. The Bulldogs had four finalists in 120 Debren Sanabria, 145 Reeden Arsenault, 160 Kelin Abbas, and 285 Wylie Johnson. Abbas was the lone champion on the day with a 6-2 decision over Santiam Christian’s Caleb Ness. On the day the Bulldogs had eight wrestlers make the podium and 12 of their 14 scoring wrestlers won at least one match to show some depth in a mostly 3A or larger school tournament.
The following week was another crazy week for the Bulldog wrestlers.
On Tuesday the 24th we hosted the Hwy 97 Classic (between Culver and La Pine), a regular event for the last eight years. It is unique because it includes a middle school and club component, where every single match counts towards one giant team score. The Hawks came away with the dual meet win, outsourcing us 48-22. Once again we looked good in the beginning of the dual behind key wins from Cole Roff at 106 and Derek Torres at 138 but La Pine pulled away from us at the end. The club dual ended with La Pine winning 63-60 but Culver Middle School saved the day, outsourcing the Hawk team 127-77. The event saw nearly 100 wrestlers compete for each school and in the end after every match was tallied the final team score was knotted at 239 points a piece. I challenged Coach Flack from La Pine to a friendly game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to settle the score. Coach Alley’s scissors cut Flack’s paper and the tie was broken.
Wednesday the 25th was the annual Cowdog Classic with Crook County. The Cowboys were the second place 4A team at the Oregon Classic and they proved to be too much for the Bulldogs on their senior night, but we won four matches on the night and competed well in several others. I think the fans got the money's worth and it was a good dual, despite a bit of a lopsided score of 58-18.
I think the highlight of the night was being able to recognize 13 senior wrestlers on their special night. That is without question a program high for us and very indicative of where our program is today and where it is headed in the future.
League dual meet title
Friday the 27th saw the boys load the bus for Echo High School at 5 a.m. to attend a first-ever league dual meet championship event. We met the top eight teams from our 1A/2A Special District 3 and hammered out the league dual meet championship in five duals over the course of the day. It may seem like kind of a moot point after just having the competed in the Oregon Wrestling Classic just a couple weeks ago, but it has long been a goal of mine to get the OSAA to recognize, sanction and run a state dual meet championship where we see home quarterfinal matchups similar to other team sports with the hopes of generating more public interest and hopefully, in turn, see higher participation numbers as a result of it. So this league dual meet title was just the first step in what I hope to be a successful pilot program to help persuade the OSAA.
We beat Irrigon 55-24, Grant Union 49-24, and Heppner 66-12 in the pool play matches. Then the pools were cross bracketed and we beat Elgin 54-27 in the semifinal match and then met up with Grant Union after they survived their own cross bracketed semifinal against Enterprise.
The rematch saw a few different individual matchups than the first dual of the day but in the end the dual meet score was almost identical at 50-24 and the Bulldogs had secured their first ever league dual meet championship in program history, or at least within the 33 years that I’ve been the coach here. I think that is pretty cool and, like I said, hopefully, just one step towards the end goal of something much bigger within the OSAA for the future betterment of our great sport.
On the day, 106 Cole Roff and 145 Reeden Arsenault were undefeated for the Bulldogs.
The boys stayed overnight in Hermiston but I returned Friday night to take the girls to Hood River for their tournament on Saturday. It was a 30-team event and we were a bit short-handed but by the end of the day two of our girls ended up tied for fifth in their respective weight classes. Kiara Schjoll wrestled at 130 pounds and was 3-2 on the day and tied for 5th place. The other Bulldog placer was 135 Shelby Bunting, Shelby was 2-2 on the day and also tied for fifth place.
The boys team traveled to Heppner for the BEO Invitational. Culver won the 14-team event by outscoring second-place Elgin 202.5-159. Culver had 106 Cole Roff, 113 Debren Sanabria, 138 Reeden Arsenault, 160 Kelin Abbas, and 220 Clancy Rutledge advance to the final round and Debren Sanabria secured a second round fall over Ryan Glascock from Burns for the win. Reed won by tech fall in his final match 21-5 over Saul Lopez from Heppner.
For the day, the Bulldogs saw 12 of their scoring wrestlers advance to a placing match and earn a spot on the podium as well as contribute to the overall team score.
I think it was a great couple of weeks for the Bulldogs, as I said earlier we wrestled in 10 different competitive events in just 14 days. That’s a grind for sure and without question, between injuries, illness and a few other reasons we seemed to always be missing someone from the lineup, but our team just continued to advance towards the end goal at the end of February. I am very proud of the way our group has performed during the month of January. It has been a tough few weeks for sure but things are about to slow down for us.
This week the boys will be at Liberty High School in Hillsboro on Friday and Saturday for the coveted Reser's Tournament of Champions and the girls will travel to Cottage Grove for their regional qualifying tournament on Friday and Saturday.
The Bulldogs are set to host their 1A/2A Special District 3 qualifying tournament on the weekend of Feb. 10.