Fast start propels Raiders

ASHLAND — The second-ranked Southern Oregon wrestling team won the first five matches and picked up four pins as the Raiders rolled to a 38-12 victory over No. 20 Menlo Friday night at Bob Riehm Arena.

Southern Oregon, 9-3 in duals this season, knocked off the Oaks for the second weekend in a row after taking a 22-18 victory last Saturday in Atherton, Calif.

The Raiders return to action today when they host Clackamas Community College — the junior college defending national champion — in a 5 p.m. exhibition dual and Simon Fraser in a 7 p.m. dual at Bob Riehm Arena.

"We were aggressive tonight compared to when we wrestled them down south, and I think that made a huge difference," SOU head coach Mike Ritchey. "You've got to push yourself this time of year in matches and I was pleased to see our aggressiveness tonight and it paid off."

Top-ranked Mitchell Lofstedt opened the dual with his 19th pin of the season, taking down Menlo's Drake Medieros in 5:37 to win the 125-pound bout.

Miguel Baltazar and No. 5 Kyle Wirkuty followed with a pair of major decision victories at 133 and 141, while No. 6 Jimmy Eggemeyer picked up a forfeit win in the 149 class, and Dalton Urrutia pinned Mike Lopez in 1:45 to take the 157.

"Miguel did a great job against a pretty tough kid who has been to the national tournament," said Ritchey. "He just kind of dominated him."

Urrutia's victory was especially impressive. Lopez had defeated another Raider, Derek Mestrovich, in an earlier match. Mestrovich is ranked No. 1 in the region and No. 3 nationally at 165.

"He stepped up tonight and that kind of was the dagger for them," said Ritchey. "That set the tone for the evening. It showed them we're a little different team when we're here in Bob Riehm Arena. I wouldn't say we were expecting to lose that match, but we definitely were not the favorite."

David Rios earned the first win of the night for Menlo at 165, picking up a 4-3 upset of No. 7 Brian Lemmon, and Menlo's Nick Gill followed with a 9-7 win over Tucker Van Matre at 174.

The Raiders bounced back with a pair of pins at 184 and 197, getting pins from Tyler Thomas in 4:08 and Derek Rottenberg in 6:31.

Menlo's seventh-ranked Leonard Romero ended the dual with a pin of No. 10 Bubba Owens in 4:25.

"We've been training hard so this was a heck of an effort," said Ritchey.

Southern Oregon has already clinched its 42nd consecutive winning season, stretching back to 1970-71, when legendary coach Riehm led the Raiders to an 11-2 record. During the streak, the Raiders are 408-135-2 in duals.

TEAM SCORES — Southern Oregon 38, Menlo 12.

125 — Mitchell Lofstedt, SOU, pinned Drake Medieros, 5:37; 133 — Miguel Baltazar, SOU, maj. dec. Alex Varela, 15-1; 141 — Kyle Wirkuty, SOU, maj. dec. Christian Franks, 10-2; 149 — Jimmy Eggemeyer, SOU, won by forfeit; 157 — Dalton Urrutia, SOU, pinned Mike Lopez, 1:45.

165 — David Rios, M, dec. Brian Lemmon, 4-3; 174 — Nick Gill, M, dec. Tucker Van Matre, 9-7; 184 — Tyler Thomas, SOU, pinned Greg Alvarez, 4:08; 197 — Derek Rottenberg, SOU, pinned Justin Harrison, 6:31; 285 — Leonard Romero, M, pinned Bubba Owens, 4:25.

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