PENDLETON — That his team boarded the bus leaving Pendleton on Saturday afternoon with eight district champions and 17 state qualifiers was pleasing to Crook County wrestling coach Jake Gonzales.
But it was hardly surprising.
“Our freshman at 120 (pounds) stepped up and competed very well,” the Cowboys’ first-year head coach said of Trentyn Maryanski, just one of Crook County’s champs. “And our guys at 152 (sophomore Benjamin Sather) and 145 (freshman Brayden Duke) had really good tournaments.”
Overall, though, Gonzales said it was pretty much business as usual for the Cowboys.
“I just believe in my guys,” he said after Crook County stormed to a convincing victory in the two-day Intermountain Conference championship meet at Pendleton High School. The Cowboys racked up 408 points to 306 for runner-up Pendleton.
“If you qualify 17 guys (for state),” said Gonzales, “you’re going to score some points.”
Crook County, winner of the Class 4A state championship in five of the past six years, is in its first year in Class 5A.
Redmond finished a solid third in the six-team IMC tournament with 257 points, and Ridgeview was fourth with 124.5.
Joining Maryanski, Sather and Duke as IMC champions for the Cowboys were Tannon Joyner at 106 pounds, Hunter Mode (126), Zachary Mauras (132), Kyle Knudtson (182) and Caleb Parrott (285). Joyner’s win in the final was a 17-7 major decision over a fellow Crook County state qualifier, Tucker Bonner.
Steven Ware (113) and Garrett Bond (170) also reached the championship round for the Cowboys.
For Redmond, Kagen Lawrence (113), Clayton Elrod (160) and Austin Carter (170) were district champions, Carter pinning Bond in the final. The Panthers’ Kole Davis (120), Junior Downing (138) and Dillon Young (220) were runners-up in their classes. In all, 11 Redmond wrestlers qualified for state.
Ridgeview was represented in the district finals by Joseph Martin, the winner at 220 pounds, and Cole Jackson, runner-up at 182. Martin and Jackson were among five Ravens to qualify for the state championships.
The top four placers at each weight class qualified for the Class 5A tournament at the OSAA state championships, set for Feb. 22-23 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.