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By René Ferrán 

Three years ago, Crescent Valley had to wait until the very last match to celebrate its first OSAA Class 5A state championship. 

Saturday night at Ridgeview High School in Redmond, the Raiders didn’t have to wait quite as long, clinching their fourth consecutive title when junior 170-pounder Daschle Lamer won his third title with a technical fall of Crook County’s Brayden Duke.

However, after romping to titles the past two seasons — scoring an unofficial state-record 364.5 points at the Oregon Wrestling Association state tournament in June — the Raiders almost enjoyed having to put in the hard work to stave off Crook County and Thurston to add a fourth championship to their collection. 

“Obviously, it’s fun to set the point record,” said junior DJ Gillett, who also won his third title with a third-round pin of Eagle Point’s Dylan Dahling. “But having those close ones is fun, too. You’ve got to fight for every point, and the bonus points matter.”

Lamer, chasing brothers Legend and Chance to join them as four-time champions, added, “This one is more special to me. It means a lot because I haven’t been part of a team that had a close race like that. We had a game plan going in to get as many pins as we can, as fast as we can, and don’t give anyone a chance.” 

Indeed, of the 10 wrestlers Crescent Valley brought to state, nine recorded a pin. As a team, they compiled a 35-5 record, with seven state champions — including four-timers Gabe Whisenhunt at 126 and James Rowley at 182 — a runner-up finish, and a fifth-place, pinning 29 opponents and scoring bonus points in two other matches.

It all added up to a 31.5-point victory over Crook County, which brought a meet-high 21 wrestlers to state, with Thurston (16 qualifiers) just two points behind the Cowboys.

“With our numbers, it’s hard to win when you have other teams with double that,” said junior Hayden Walters, another three-time champion after his third-round pin of Crook County’s Ray Solis in the 195 final. “But I really think it helped us make that effort to get more bonus points. All of us wrestled really well.”

The Cowboys, in their final year in 5A before dropping to 4A next season, had five wrestlers in the finals, but only senior Tucker Bonner took home a title, beating teammate Mitch Warren in the 120 final. They also split their four matches in the placing rounds.

“We had the numbers to make a run at it,” coach Jake Gonzales said. “But we knew we pretty much had to have a perfect state tournament. CV is always tough. They’ve got great kids. We like wrestling them.” 

Thurston, led by NFHS National Coach of the Year Mike Simons, made a charge during the medal rounds, with its three finalists — Kolton Malone (138), Hunter Harwood (152) and Vaun Halstead (220) — all victorious and going 5-2 in the placing matches.

Redmond matched its fourth-place finish from June’s state meet to earn its first trophy at an OSAA championship since 2017.

Class 4A

La Grande won its second 4A state championship in the past three years, putting 14 wrestlers on the medals podium and boasting three individual champions to dethrone Sweet Home by 25 points at Cascade High School in Turner. 

The Huskies had a meet-high four individual champions and finished with 11 medalists. Tillamook (2019 champion) placed third, while Philomath reprised its fourth-place finish from June’s OWA state meet for its first OSAA trophy since 1994. 

Class 3A

Defending champion La Pine won its third 3A title in the past four seasons, this time wrestling on its home mats as it defeated rival Burns by 33 points. The Hilanders (four titlists) and Hawks (three) combined to win half the weight classes. Harrisburg finished third, while Nyssa made it three District 1 trophy winners by placing fourth.

Class 2A/1A

Host Culver maintained its dominance of the 2A/1A ranks, with four individual champions and four other medalists leading the Bulldogs to their 14th title in the past 16 seasons. Runner-up Illinois Valley won its first trophy since 2009, while third-place Vernonia ended a 30-year absence from the podium. Toledo finished fourth for its first team trophy in the school’s 63-year history.