SEVEN WRESTLERS ENTER, ONLY ONE - BENNETT - REMAINS
February 15, 2008 11:00 pm
Senior Willie Bennett grabs the ankle of Cody Anders of Estacada and drives him to the mat in his 8-4 victory. (The Pilot/Jef Hatch).
Senior Willie Bennett grabs the ankle of Cody Anders of Estacada and drives him to the mat in his 8-4 victory. (The Pilot/Jef Hatch).

By Josh Bronson

Pilot staff writer

PORTLAND – Out of the seven members of the Brookings-Harbor High School wrestling team that attended the OSAA State Wrestling Championships, only senior Willie Bennett remained Saturday after the first two days of wrestling.

With Bennett's 8-4 decision victory over Cody Anders of Estacada in the consolation bracket, he is guaranteed to place in the top eight of the 140-pound weight class.

"I'm really happy about placing in my last year," Bennett said. "It's a good ending to a great season."

But Bennett isn't done yet.

Bennett will try to work his way through the rest of the consolation bracket this morning (Feb. 16), starting off with a match against Levi Weikel of Sweet Home.

"It feels like a lot of weight has been lifted off my shoulders," Bennett said. "Now that the pressure's off, I just want to go out their and wrestle my match."

Other than Bennett and junior Ray Mazyck, the other five Bruin wrestlers were eliminated after the first day of wrestling.

"There were some good things, but there were disappointing things for some kids as well," Coach Dave Freeman said. "Just getting here was a reward for some of them. I just appreciate kids and everything they did this season."

Following is a short summary of each performance by all seven Bruins who attended the state tournament:

Ray Mazyck – 112 pounds

The luck of the draw was not in Mazyck's favor this year at the state tournament.

After falling to No. 3 Zach Clark of Cascade in the championship quarterfinals, Mazyck had to wrestle No. 2 seed Gabe Goodrich of Scappoose to stay alive in the consolation round.

Mazyck was very quick on his feet and took quality shots, but could not finish the takedowns as Goodrich was able to defend them time and time again.

In the second period, Mazyck was working on turning his opponent to his back, but Goodrich was able to slip out and score the reversal.

Both wrestlers started the third period on their feet in a virtual stalemate before Goodrich was able to step behind Mazyck just before the whistle to secure a 4-0 decision victory.

In the championship quarterfinals, Mazyck, the No. 6 seed at the tournament, lost a close battle to Clark.

Earlier this year, Clark used a technical fall to beat Mazyck 15-0 in the championship match of the Cottage Grove Invitational.

This time around, Mazyck had a much improved performance against Clark as he lost a 7-2 decision.

Mazyck did an excellent job staying active while on the bottom and fought off everything Clark threw at him while trying to put him on his back.

In his first match of the tournament, Mazyck needed a takedown and nearfall in the third period to secure a come-from-behind victory over Nick Ough of Elmira.

Mazyck started out the match as the aggressor, powering Ough down to the mat with a double leg takedown.

But Ough was able to flip Mazyck for the reversal and then turned him onto his back for a 5-2 lead after the first period.

Mazyck began the third and final period on top, but let Ough up so he could take him down again.

Trailing 6-2, Mazyck landed a deep double leg takedown that he was able to use to dump Ough to the mat.

Mazyck then quickly hooked a head and arm and put Ough on his back.

Although he wasn't able to pin him, Mazyck earned the three nearfall points and held Ough down for the remainder of the period to pull out the 7-6 victory.

Dustin Paradis – 135 pounds

Freshman Dustin Paradis' first state tournament experience came to an end Thursday night as he lost his first consolation match and went two and out for the tournament.

Paradis was pinned by Nick Head of Sisters in 4:04 of their consolation pigtail bout.

At the start of the second period, Paradis escaped and pulled with two points, 4-2, of Head.

But Paradis could not control the strength and experience of the Sisters' wrestler as Head took him down and pinned him midway through the final period.

In his first match of the tournament, Paradis came close to upsetting No. 2 seed Brock Crocker of Sweet Home.

Paradis used an excellent sprawl to defend numerous takedown attempts by Crocker in the opening period as the first round ended without a score.

In the second period, Paradis continued to fight, almost reversing Crocker and escaping at the buzzer, cutting the lead to 3-1 by the end of the period.

Paradis started the final period on the bottom, but Crocker was able to take advantage and pinned Paradis in 4:56.

Willie Bennett – 140 pounds

Bennett clinched a place on the podium Friday afternoon as he took an 8-4 decision over Anders.

After two periods of grappling, Bennett used a pair of reversals to tie the match at 4-4 heading into the third round.

Bennett started the third period on the bottom and as he went to stand up, Anders went for a head throw, but Bennett slipped behind him and ended up on top.

Two back points solidified the four-point win for Bennett as he held on for the decision victory.

In a do-or-die situation for Bennett, the four-time state qualifier rose to the occasion and pulled out a 4-2 decision victory over Phillip Henneman of Elmira to stay alive in the 140-pound weight class.

Trailing 0-1 midway through the second period, Bennett used an excellent sprawl and good takedown defense to stuff Henneman's shot and then used his quickness to circle around Henneman and record the takedown for the 2-1 lead.

Bennett started the third period on the bottom and, with less than a minute remaining in the match, pulled a beautiful switch on Henneman for the reversal and the 4-1 advantage.

Although Bennett was the more aggressive wrestler in his first-round bout with Steven Westerlund of Yamhill-Carlton, it was Westerlund who came out on top with a 9-4 victory.

Bennett took multiple quality shots throughout the match, but was unable to finish any of them as Westerlund took advantage of those shots and stepped behind Bennett to record the takedown on four different occasions.

Tyler Drafahl – 145 pounds

In his second state tournament appearance, senior Tyler Drafahl didn't make it past the first day of wrestling as he was pinned in 2:58 by Ryder Willmarth of LaGrande in his consolation match.

After a first period where neither wrestler scored, Drafahl was close to surviving a second round spent entirely on the bottom.

But with just two seconds left in the period, Willmarth stuck Drafahl's shoulders to the mat and kept the match from going to a third period.

Drafahl was shut out in his first match of the tournament in a 7-0 decision loss to Tommy Wyatt of Yamhill-Carlton.

Drafahl was unable to beat Wyatt on his feet, and once Drafahl was on the mat, Wyatt did a good job of keeping him there and not letting him scramble for the escape.

Denny Davis – 171 pounds

An early 3-1 lead quickly dwindled away for senior Denny Davis as he lost an 11-4 decision to Brett Carder of Phoenix that knocked him out of the state tournament.

Davis used an ankle pick to take Carder to the mat early in the first period.

With a 2-1 lead at the start of the second, Davis exploded from the bottom for an escape to take a two-point lead.

Midway through the second period, Davis went for a switch but ended up on his back as Carder racked up three back points.

Carder controlled Davis for the remainder of the match and extended his lead for the seven-point victory.

In his first round match, Davis got caught in a front headlock that turned into a cradle as J.R. Gates of Cascade pinned Davis in 1:02.

The two wrestlers tied up while on their feet and Gates secured the head and one arm of Davis.

As Gates turned Davis to drop him to the mat, he hooked one of Davis' legs and had him in a cradle by the time they hit the mat.

Cody Brooks – 215 pounds

The first tournament appearance for senior Cody Brooks was a short one as he exited the state tournament with an 8-0 loss to Chance Banta of Astoria.

After a scoreless first period, Brooks started the second period on top but quickly got reversed by Banta.

For the remainder of the second period and the entire third period, Banta neutralized Brooks on the mat and held him down, turning him for three nearfall points on two different occasions.

In his first bout of the tournament, Brooks had a difficult match as he was pinned in 3:53 by Heath Honeycutt of Philomath.

At the start of the second period, Brooks only trailed 2-0 and nearly reversed Honeycutt early in the round, but Honeycutt was able to hold on and keep Brooks on the mat.

Brooks escaped from one pinning combination, but could not get free of the second one as Honeycutt pinned him late in the second round.

Mike Althof – 215 pounds

A double leg takedown in the first period gave junior Mike Althof a quick 2-0 edge, but he could not sustain that lead as Alex Machado won the second and third periods to take an 8-6 decision victory.

Althof used an escape at the beginning of the second period to take a 3-1 lead, but Machado took control of the match and built a 5-3 lead by the end of the second period.

After cutting the lead to four, 8-4, with an escape in the third period, Althof took Machado to the mat, but the takedown came too late as the referee blew the whistle and Althof fell by two points.

Althof received a very tough draw in his opening match and lost to No. 2 seed Mike Furrer of Junction City in a 15-2 majority decision.

In the first round, Althof scored his only points of the bout with a reversal to cut the lead to 5-2.

Although Althof did an excellent job of squirming and avoiding the pin, he was unable to get out from under Furrer.