By Josh Bronson

Pilot staff writer

Eight varsity wrestlers competed in the prestigious Cottage Grove Invitational as the Brookings-Harbor High School wrestling team took 15th place at the 28-team tournament Saturday.

andquot;It was a very tough tournament,andquot; Coach Dave Freeman said. andquot;There were a lot of top wrestlers and top teams there.andquot;

Several Bruin wrestlers ran in to top-notch opponents Saturday, grappling with some of the best in the state in their respective classifications.

andquot;We were still missing some kids, but for what we had there, the kids tried hard and I saw some improvement,andquot; Freeman said. andquot;We just have to keep fixing some things.andquot;

Junior Ray Mazyck had another impressive performance as he took second place in the 112-pound weight class.

After a first round bye, Mazyck pinned Brayan Mendoza of Harrisburg in 2:59 of his second round match.

Mazyck then pinned Marcus Hartwig of Philomath in the semifinals in 3:10.

In the championship match, Mazyck ran into the buzzsaw that is Zach Clark of Cascade - the No. 1 ranked wrestled in the state at the 4A level.

Clark used a 15-0 technical fall to beat Mazyck in the finals and won all his matches on the day by pin or technical fall.

The only other Bruin to place at the tournament was senior Willie Bennett in the 140-pound division.

Bennett took fourth place overall as he lost to John Hedge of Marist - ranked No. 2 in his weight class in 4A - in a 17-7 majority decision in the consolation finals.

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In the second round, Bennett used a 14-2 win over Charles Williams of Cottage Grove to reach the semifinals, where he then lost 14-2 to Jake Boyd of Oakridge - the defending state champ and the No. 1 ranked wrestler at the 2A level.

Bennett then pinned Jacob Klaassen of Barlow in 3:59 to reach the consolation finals against Hedge.

At 152 pounds, Tyler Drafahl lost his first match of the day and then used a 6-0 win over Chris Benston of Cottage Grove and a default win in the consolation bracket before getting pinned by Cory Haggans of North Medford in 2:04, eliminating him from the tournament.

In the 189-pound weight class, Cody Brooks went 1-2 on the day, winning his first match of the tournament by pinning Mitch Doig of Klamath Union in 2:19.

After defeating Jake Haggerty of Barlow in a 7-2 decision, the Bruins' Mike Althof ran into a pair of top-ranked wrestlers in the 215-pound weight class.

In the heavyweight division, Mike Klein pinned Mike Russell of Hidden Valley in 1:53 of his opening bout, but then lost his next two matches of the tournament.

Because of the size of the tournament, there was also a JV bracket, where Ron Hunt and Dustin Paradis each went 2-0 in their respective divisions.

The final league dual meet of the year for the Bruins will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31 at Sutherlin.