Wrestlers take Elks Invite by horns

HOOD RIVER — Riding a recent wave of dominating victories, the HRV wrestling team continued to tune up for districts with an unprecedented win at Saturday’s Elks Invitational.

For the past three years, Pendleton has come to Hood River and taken the title, but the Eagles went the extra mile in 2002 to beat the Buckaroos ... by one point ... in the meet’s final match.

Down 93-92 in the overall standings (tournament scoring system), the Eagles sent 140-pound John Harvey to the mat with a chance to win the team title for the Eagles. But Harvey didn’t know just how critical his championship match against Pendleton’s Kelsey Edwards was.

“I just told him to go out and wrestle,” coach Mark Brown said. “I didn’t mention how big it was in the team standings, which allowed him to relax and focus on what he does best — win.”

Harvey’s win gave HRV five individual champions on the day to Pendleton’s four, and was enough to push the Eagles over the top. The Eagles’ 95 points barely topped Pendleton’s 94, while Southridge finished a close third with 82, and McMinnville fourth with 57.

“The win over Pendleton was a huge boost for our program,” Brown said. “They took third at the Best in the West, and we expect them to be a force at state.”

Also winning their weight classes on Saturday were 215-pound Ray Muñoz, 171-pound Jason Macioroski, 145-pound Trent Shelton, and 160-pound

Jacobe Krizman, who lost his only dual match of the season to teammate Macioroski at the Hermiston Invitational on Dec. 8.

“Krizman has really impressed me lately,” Brown said. “He’s very focused and determined, and an extra year of experience is really going to help him at districts and hopefully state.”

HRV placed in the top three in 13 of the 14 weight classes, taking five second places and three thirds. Second-place winners were Josh Van Ek (112), Esteban Avila (119), David Posey (130), Jason DeHart (152) and Tommy Owyen (275). Third-place winners were Caleb Smith (125), Rocky Level (135) and Matt Cody (189). The team’s top 189-pounder Nate Dethman did not compete due to injury. Top 103-pounder Zach Bohince competed at JV and took third place.

Brown said the team is beginning to hone in its season goal of winning the district title. Along with Krizman, he also complimented Muñoz and Macioroski on their personal improvements and team leadership abilities.

He also praised the Hood River Elks Club for their commitment to youth wrestling in this, the sixth-annual Elks Invitational.

In additon to promoting the event, running the concession stand and selling T-shirts, the Elks provided each of the winners with model-size semi trucks embossed with an American flag and engraved with their weight class.

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