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The La Grande wrestling team celebrates after Leon Fullerís overtime victory in the 170-pound bout Thursday night. CASEY KELLAS/The Observer
LHS rallies for 46-18 victory over visiting McLoughlin
The La Grande wrestling team continued its domination in dual meets Thursday night, defeating district rival McLoughlin 46-18.
“I thought they wrestled really well,” LHS head coach Klel Carson said. “All of the hard work is paying off.”
The Tigers got off to a slow start Thursday, dropping their first three matches of the night.
In the opener, Cole Laci lost to Mac-Hi’s Tavis Hodgenat 138 pounds by pinfall with 56 seconds left in the first round. Nic Kavanaugh lost a 7-4 decision to Blake Yensen at 145 pounds in the second match of the night, and Jake Girard lost by pinfall to Vince Roff with 21 seconds left in the third round at 152 pounds.
That put LHS in a quick 15-0 hole.
But Caleb Woodworth got the Tigers off the schneid.
Woodworth won a 12-2 major decision over Jesus Saldana at 160 pounds to put LHS on the board and cut the deficit to 15-4.
Then Leon Fuller delivered perhaps the most exciting match of the night at 170 pounds. Fuller wrestled Brayden Moller to a 1-all tie at the end of the third round, sending the bout to a sudden-death overtime.
Fuller was able to score a two-point move in the extra session to pull out the victory and make it a 15-7 team score.
“That was a big win for Leon,” Carson said. “He’s a senior and he’s hung in there and gotten better and better each year. Moller is one of the top guys in the state, and Leon proved himself as one of the top guys tonight.”
Dylan McHargue won his match at 182 pounds by forfeit, before Micah Fuller earned a first-round pinfall victory over Robert Burton at 195 pounds to put LHS in front, 19-15.
Gunner Long followed that up with an 8-1 decision win over Gregory Moreno at 220 pounds, before Dylan Reece won by forfeit at heavyweight.
“After Leon’s match we got some momentum going. That’s how duels go. Once you get rolling, it just snowballs from there and keeps going,” Carson said.
Cole Rohan pinned Abel Castillas in the first round at 106 pounds. Then Taran Hardwick out-pointed Jesus Diaz for a win at 113 pounds.
In the 120-pound bout, Jared Neiss ended the Tigers’ win streak when he fell 8-4 to Cole Skramstad, but Tyler Isaacson backed him up with a 5-2 decision over Alyx Shaw at 126 pounds.
Ryan Middleton finished the night off on a high note, breaking a 1-all tie late in the third round to score a 3-1 decision win over Chandler Fortune at 132 pounds.
“I think our endurance was the difference tonight,” Carson said. “We were stronger in the third round and we won the overtime match. We have a solid guy at each weight class, which makes for a strong duel team.
“This is probably one of the toughest duel teams we’ve had in a while. Everyone has something to offer.”
LHS will return to the mat Saturday in Heppner.