The second-ranked Southern Oregon wrestling team won the final four bouts to pull away in a 28-12 dual meet victory over No. 12 Menlo Tuesday night in a matchup of the top two NAIA wrestling programs on the West Coast at Bob Riehm Arena.
Southern Oregon (2-0) returns to action Thursday, when it arrives in Redding, Calif., to take on first-year program Simpson at 7 p.m.
"Those guys are tough to wrestle," SOU head coach Mike Ritchey said of Menlo. "That's the best I've seen them in a while, and it's a good program to wrestle against. The final score doesn't indicate how close each match really was."
Top-ranked Mitchell Lofstedt opened the dual in his usual fashion in the 125-pound bout, pinning No. 14 Edgar Paez in 1:18 to put the Raiders up 6-0. Fifth-ranked Prescott Garner followed that up with a come-from-behind upset of No. 2 Angel Garcia in the 133, claiming a 6-2 decision in the final minute of the third round to make it a 9-0 advantage.
Gustavo Lopez put Menlo on the board in the next bout, as the 13th-ranked senior earned a first-round pin over Justin Eldred. Christian Franks followed with a 3-1 overtime victory in the 149 over Craig Trask to tie the dual at 9-9.
The Raiders regained the lead following a 10-2 major decision victory by No. 7 Dalton Urrutia in the 157-pound match. No. 10 Eric Lopez nearly tied it back up in the 165, but a late escape by Brock Crocker pulled the sophomore back to within seven for the 12-5 decision loss to make it 13-12, SOU.
Freshman Reed Tennyson earned a decision victory over Joel Veloni in the 174 to put SOU up 16-12, and No. 8 Tyler Thomas made it 19-12 with a decision victory over Erick Parsons in the 184. A Menlo forfeit in the 197 clinched the dual win for the Raiders, and No. 10 Bubba Owens gave SOU its fourth consecutive bout victory with a comeback decision win over Justin Harrison in the heavyweight bout.
"We have to cut down on our mistakes, but I liked our aggressiveness tonight," Ritchey said. "A couple of guys were a little too conservative, and the guys that won got after it. That's our style, and you've got to get everything out of a tough match to find out where you're at and improve going forward."
125 — Mitchell Lofstedt, SOU, pin Edgar Paez, 1:18; 133 — Prescott Garner, SOU, dec. Angel Garcia, 6-2; 141 — Gustavo Lopez, M, pin Justin Eldred, 2:33; 149 — Christian Franks, M, dec. Craig Trask; 157 — Dalton Urrutia, SOU, maj. dec. Samuel Duchene, 10-2.
165 — Eric Lopez, M, dec. Brock Crocker, 12-5; 174 — Reed Tennyson, SOU, dec. Joel Veloni, 6-4; 184 — Tyler Thomas, SOU, dec. Erick Parsons, 7-5; 197 — Taylor Johnson, SOU, win by fofeit; 285 — Bubba Owens, SOU, dec. Justin Harrison, 7-5
A 6-3 start that included a double-digit upset of archrival and defending national champion Oregon Tech helped the Southern Oregon men's basketball team climb seven spots to No. 16 in the first regular season NAIA Division II Top 25 poll.
Southern Oregon entered the season ranked 23rd. Two of its losses have been by a combined five points to NAIA Division I teams. The other was against a Davenport, Mich., team that climbed into the top 10 this week.
The Raiders are the third of four Cascade Collegiate Conference teams in the rankings, with one notable team not among those four.
After winning the national title last season and ranking second in the preseason poll, Oregon Tech had its streak of 90 consecutive poll appearances — dating to 2005 — snapped this week. The Owls received 50 points in the voting to sit two spots out of the top 25.
Eastern Oregon leads all conference teams with a 12-0 record and the No. 4 spot in the poll, followed by 6-2 Warner Pacific at No. 13, SOU and 8-2 Northwest at No. 20.