By Josh Bronson
Pilot staff writer
With seven wrestlers reaching the championship match, the Brookings-Harbor High School wrestling team took home their first team championship of the year with a first place finish at the Gold Beach Invitational Saturday.
At the eight-team tournament, the Bruins (207 points) took first place as they edged out Reedsport (198) in second.
Myrtle Point took third overall with 152 points and Hidden Valley came in fourth with 151.
"The team, so far, has been wrestling really well," junior Ray Mazyck said. "We've had seven guys in the finals at both tournaments and we have a lot of young guys who are doing really good things.
"There's a good possibility that we could take first at districts," Mazyck said.
Although the Bruins had seven grapplers in the finals, the only one to come away a champion was Mike Althof in the 215-pound weight class.
After pinning Luke Wood of Myrtle Point and Paul Merriam of Bandon in the first period of his first two matches, Althof was pitted against Eric McConico of Illinois Valley.
Althof controlled the match from the start, taking McConico down at will.
With a 12-5 lead in the third period, Althof showed his strength as he hoisted McConico off the mat and slammed him on his back and then pinned him with 14 seconds left in the match (5:46).
"I started to get a little tired in the second period," Althof said. "But I knew I just needed to suck it up and get through."
Six other Bruins reached the championship round, but lost in the finals, earning second place on the day.
At 119 pounds, Ray Mazyck ran into a very talented Chayse Garrison of Hidden Valley in the championship match and lost 14-6.
In his first match of the day, Mazyck made quick work of Brandon Dutton of Hidden Valley as he pinned him in 1:35.
Mazyck then used a 24-8 technical fall a victory by 15 points or more over Tim Spangle of Reedsport in the semis to reach the final match.
In the 130-pound weight class, Mike Schabeck got two byes and then ran over Eric Rains of Myrtle Point in a 14-1 win in the semifinals.
Schabeck then lost to John Covey of Reedsport 8-3 in the finals.
Although Schabeck took an early lead, Covey came back to take a 3-2 lead after the first period and then did lots of leg riding on top to kill time and secure the win.
The Bruins dominated the upper-weight divisions and had wrestlers in the championship match of every division from 160 pounds on up.
At 160 pounds, Ron Hunt, who usually wrestles in the 152-pound division, filled in for an injured Evan Peterson and won a couple tough matches to reach the finals.
Hunt edged out Robert Fuchs of Hidden Valley in a 4-1 win in his first match.
In the semifinals, Hunt advanced by outlasting Cord McCabe of Bandon.
Hunt trailed 3-6 after the second period, but escaped and scored a takedown in the waning moments of the third period to tie the score up at 6-6 and send the match into an overtime period.
But the match never made it to overtime as McCabe was disqualified for taking his third injury time out of the match, giving Hunt the win and sending him to the finals.
In the championship match, Hunt was overwhelmed by T.J. Moore of Gold Beach and was pinned in 3:32.
At 171 pounds, Denny Davis used pins over Tate Lane of Hidden Valley (1:36) and Steven Gaspar of Bandon (5:58) to reach the finals where he was pinned by Zach Sykes of Myrtle Point in 1:34.
In the 189-pound weight class, Joel Mitts received a pair of byes into the semifinals where he easily handled Carlos Villa of Bandon, pinning his opponent in 1:33.
But Mitts then ran into Travis Moore of Gold Beach, who took second in state in the 3A division last year, and lost in a 9-1 decision.
Mike Klein ran into another state placer in the heavyweight division, Nic Morris of Reedsport, who is currently the No. 1 ranked heavyweight in the state at the 3A level.
Morris pinned Klein in 1:46 of the championship bout.
In the semifinals, Klein made quick work of Jamie Painter of Bandon as he pinned his opponent in a mere 40 seconds.
The Bruins also had five wrestlers who took third place at the tournament.
Tyler Drafahl (145) used first round pins over Pedro Lira of Reedsport (1:32) and Keith Campbell of Hidden Valley (1:50) to reach the consolation finals where he took third place with a forfeit.
At 152 pounds, Cody Miller used a third period reversal to take a 4-3 win over James Davis of Gold Beach to take third place overall.
After losing his second match of the day to eventual champion Sykes of Myrtle Point, Kyle Hover won three matches in the consolation bracket to reach the consolation finals where he tied for third place with Tate Lane of Hidden Valley.
In the 215-pound weight class, Cody Brooks, who is normally a 189-pound wrestler, moved up a division and fared very well against the bigger wrestlers, capturing a 12-10 victory in the third place match over Merriam of Bandon.
Favian Fernandez used a pair of wins over Alex Palmas of Myrtle Point, pinning him in 2:42 of their first match and then using a 6-2 decision over Palmas in the consolation finals to take home third place.
Dustin Paradis (135) and Willie Bennett (145) each took fourth place overall while Aaron Miller (112) took fifth place.
On Friday and Saturday, the Bruins will be partaking in the North Valley Tournament in Grants Pass.
The final home meet of the year for the Bruins will take place during Christmas break at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 3.
"We want to try and get a good turnout for our final home meet," Coach Dave Freeman said. "It'd be great to see a big crowd at our last home dual."