NORTH BEND — The usual suspects lead the team race in the 33rd Coast Classic wrestling tournament at North Bend High School.
Crook County advanced 12 of its 14 wrestlers to the quarterfinals Saturday and Roseburg advanced 11 of its 12 wrestlers through the first two rounds. The Cowboys (78.5) and Indians (71) are first and second in team points after the first day. North Medford is third with nine in the quarterfinals and 62 team points.
Marshfield is tied for ninth with Sandy with 38 team points and has five in the quarterfinals. Kody Koumentis, the Pirates’ lone returning state champion, advanced in the 132-pound bracket along with Colton West (120), Gold Beach transfer Tandy Martin (152), Peyton Forbes (160) and 195-pounder Aiden Adams.
Coquille’s Brayden Clayburn is in the final eight of the 160-pound bracket, Myrtle Point’s Tyler Huerta will wrestle in the quarterfinals at 126 pounds, and Siuslaw’s Brady Libby (126) and Riley Jennings (170) are also still in the running for individual titles.
Wrestling starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, with a new wrinkle this year. The Coast Classic has girls brackets for the first time, in line with the Oregon School Activities Association sanctioning girls wrestling for the first time this winter.
A total of 60 girls are entered this weekend, with the most of any of the brackets having seven wrestlers. Tournament organizers consider that a good start in the growing sport.
Two of those girls will be for the host Bulldogs, who didn't have any boys in the varsity bracket this weekend.
With a plethora of young and inexperienced guys, North Bend coach Garrett Caldwell elected to enter all of his Bulldogs in the junior varsity portion of the tournament.
It’s not because he’s pessimistic about his team’s capabilities. It’s actually the opposite. Caldwell has upward of 30 in his wrestling room this year, including one of the best athletes in the school, Divenson Willis, who Liam Biskerud managed to pull away from the swim team.
Caldwell said Willis has brought leadership and energy to the room that has been lacking in past years, and that’s diffused into the rest of the team, creating a different, more competitive atmosphere in the bowels of North Bend’s gym.
Caldwell hopes that reinvigoration can propel the Bulldogs to some success in regionals and hopefully a state berth or two.
“I hate to say that I know how we’re gonna end up,” Caldwell said. “I would like to get a handful of guys to place at regionals and possibly get a handful of guys to state. I definitely think we have a couple guys who can do that, but at this point, like I said, the sky’s the limit. I definitely think there can be some guys who can step up and surprise us.”
The Coast Classic also gave Marshfield a chance for a good dual meet.
On Thursday, the Pirates hosted Henley, with the Hornets edging the Pirates 39-30.
The Pirates were without Frankie Harlow, who suffered an injury at last week’s tournament and he’s also unable to compete this weekend.
Marshfield conceded three forfeits at the smallest weights, then neither team had a 126-pounder. Koumentis scored Marshfield’s first win of the night with a first-round pin of Travis Gilliland at 132 pounds, then Isiah Wright followed with a 9-7 decision over Henley’s Roy Wattergberg at 138.
Tulson Higgins of Henley scored three points with a 10-8 decision over Joshua Hinds, but Konrad Hoyer, Martin and Forbes collected a combined 18 points with pins.
Scott Renslow got six points back for Henley with a pin of Chi Garcia.
Adams won a narrow 2-1 decision over Taylor Villa, then Marshfield conceded the 12 points to close with a forfeit at 220 and a Mikey Sierra pin of Alvaro Ruiz.