Grizzlies shine in three-way meet

Just as the public address announcer was about to thank the fans for coming, Ashland High wrestling coach Joe Crane managed to organize one final match.

The more matt time the better, explained Crane afterward.

And besides, the Grizzlies were on a roll.

Jake Scarminach earned a third-round pin over Hidden Valley's Josh Sarot to put an exclamation point on what turned out to be a solid three-way meet for the Grizzlies Thursday at Mountain Avenue Gym.

Facing off against perennial power Crater and Hidden Valley, Ashland's five wrestlers won eight of their 12 matches. The Grizzlies managed five pins and a technical fall and went out on a high note, recording four consecutive wins to send Grizz fans home happy.

"Overall I'm really pleased with our guys," Crane said. "There's a couple things we need to touch up on, and if we keep kicking our conditioning in the butt and we'll be there."

Ashland's big three — Scarminach at 160 pounds, Christian Ostmo at 189 and heavyweight Sam Cowan — were outstanding, combining to go 8-0.

And it was a dominating 8-0, too: Scarminach earned a first-round pin, the pin of Sarot and a technical fall (18-3); Ostmo earned one pin and won two decisions by a combined score of 21-6; and Cowan needed just 50 seconds to pin his first opponent, Crater's Austin Ganey, then earned a second-round pin in his only other match.

Ostmo, a junior, continued to show major improvement from a year ago, when he had "a real tough season," according to Crane.

"The matches he's lost, he's only lost by one or two points, and he's taken second in a couple tournaments," Crane said of Ostmo. "He's really turning it around."

The three-way appeared to be over after Ostmo pinned Crater's Josh Hesse with 44.5 seconds to go in the third round, but Crane quickly set up a match between two of the best wrestlers in the building — Scarminach and Sarot, who wrestled up from his regular 152 weight class.

It proved to be a good move for both the wrestlers and the fans as Scarminach scratched and clawed his way to a 4-0 lead through two periods in what turned out to be one of the best matches of the day. He wound up flipping Sarot late in the third and gained the pin with 44.5 seconds to go.

"(Sarot) was the best wrestler on (Hidden Valley's) team and he was one weight class away from Jake Scarminach, so I just thought it would be a great time for both of them to get better," Crane said.

Ashland's next chance to get better as a team will be Saturday at the Sutherlin Tournament. After that, the Grizzlies will have just three more meets to prepare for the Southern Sky District Championships Feb. 20 at Klamath Union.

"We've got a lot of room to improve," Crane said. "We're still a little bit out of shape, still a little bit rusty. We haven't had a lot of matches this year so that's why tonight was so good for us. A few of our guys got three matches tonight, which was huge. But we have a long way to go and we're ready to start working hard for state."

Sports editor Joe Zavala can be reached at 482-3456 x224 or

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