The second-ranked Southern Oregon wrestling team continues its longest current rivalry this week when the Raiders will travel to Forest Grove for a Thursday night dual against Pacific.
Southern Oregon, 8-2 in duals this season, owns a 50-5 all-time record against Pacific. The Raiders' 50 wins over the Boxers are SOU's most against any opponent. Originally, the Raiders were scheduled to travel up to Canada for a Friday dual against Simon Fraser following the 6:30 p.m. matchup on Thursday, but that match was canceled to allow the student-athletes to focus on academics.
"We're looking forward to going up and wrestling them," SOU head coach Mike Ritchey said of Pacific. "It's going to be a week off for some of our guys. We'll get the guys that are ready to wrestle going and we look forward to getting some new guys in the lineup to get after it and start wrestling."
The Raiders have won 20 consecutive duals against Pacific, stretching back to the Boxers' last win in the series during the 1999-2000 season. Most of those duals have not been close, as the Raiders have limited Pacific to less than 10 points in all but four of those matchups while scoring at least 25 points in every one.
Southern Oregon continues to boast four top-ranked wrestlers, with Mitchell Lofstedt topping the 125-pound rankings, Prescott Garner leading the way at 133, Jimmy Eggemeyer topping the 149 and Brock Gutches No. 1 at 174.
Lofstedt is set to conclude his SOU career in the next six weeks as perhaps the most accomplished wrestler in program history. The two-time national champion entered the year with a 119-18 record that ranked third all-time among Raiders for wins and first for winning percentage among SOU wrestlers with at least 80 wins.
This season he has already posted a 22-1 record to jump Fred Phillips (127 wins) and Nick Cline (129) for a school-record 141 wins with only 19 losses. His 14 pins this season are tied for the sixth most in a season, with the top two totals on that list his own totals last season (26) and in 2009-10 (24). His 73 career pins are almost double the second-place total of 41 accomplished by his brother Trevor from 2005-09 and almost triple the third-place total of his father Brent (29) from 1981-83.
Pacific comes into the weekend with a 5-6 dual record, with the Boxers' most impressive win a 19-18 victory over No. 9 Baker on Dec. 16 in Las Vegas. Thursday's dual will be the first of the season in a home-and-home series for the two programs, with the Boxers heading down to Ashland on Feb. 9 for SOU's final dual of the 2012-13 season.
On Sunday, Southern Oregon will again send a group of Raiders to Forest Grove, this time to participate in the 2013 Pacific Boxer Open. With the NAIA Western Qualifying Tournament less than a month away on Feb. 16, the Raider season is beginning to wind down. Only three more duals remain on the schedule after this weekend to go with one more tournament as SOU keeps an eye on the postseason.
"We're kind of gearing up for regionals at this point and trying to get down to our top 12," Ritchey said.