HERMISTON — Three hundred and seventy-five seconds is how long it took the Hermiston Bulldogs to mathematically secure the win in their Columbia River Conference wrestling dual against The Dalles Wahtonka on Thursday in Hermiston.

The Bulldogs won nine matches by pinfall on their way to a 72-12 win at The Dawg House, and Eagle Indians head coach Greg Burkart said his inexperienced squad knew the final outcome well before 138-pound Bulldog Beau Gleed’s first-round pin of Luis Herrera that made it 48-6 with five matches left.

“We had no illusions that we were going to come in and compete with a team of this caliber,” said Burkart, whose Eagle Indians gave up three forfeits (18 points) but gained one back from Bulldogs at 126 pounds. “We just wanted to wrestle hard. Some of our kids did that, some them not so much. A?lot of our kids were just over-matched and that’s to be expected.

“It’s good for us to come in and see a quality program like this because it gives our young kids a look at where we’re trying to aspire to work towards.”

Hermiston, which is ranked No. 1 in both Oregon and the Northwest, and No. 20 in the nation, knew how the dual would go too, but said it’s still not difficult to get motivated for these conference duals.

“CRC?champs, it’s always good to have that in your belt going into the district tournament,” said junior Tyler Berger, who pinned Daniel Spurr in 52 seconds in the 145-pound match. “You want to get out of these matches as quick as you can.”

Joining Berger and Gleed with first-round pins were Colten Weems (106 pounds), Andy Wagner (113), Joey Almaguer (120), Jesee Rodelo (160) and Alec St. Hilaire (182). The Bulldogs had a few changes to their lineup due to some of their regular starters nearing match-count limits.

Hilaire appeared at a physical disadvantage in his match against The Dalles Wahtonka’s David Saylors — a ball of muscle packed into a maroon singlet.

But Hilaire’s experience allowed him to dominate Saylors, who seemed to break free a few times, only to quickly find himself in a worse position than before.

“Coming in (Saylors) looked pretty big but I?just kind of went out there and wrestled,”?Hilaire said. “Our coaches are pretty good and have taught us pretty well. We usually have the upper hand as far as technique and it worked out pretty well.”

Weems and Almaguer each pinned their opponents in 32 seconds for the quickest wins of the evening, and Weems had the earliest takedown just five second into his match against Lucero Garcia.

Abraham Rodriguez took down Eric Morales six seconds into their 170-pound match, but needed another three minutes and 10 seconds before he could finish him with a pin.

By then the Bulldog led 15-4 and Morales had been penalized for backing away from contact once.

“I just kind of went after him the whole match and he was kind of doing that the whole time,”?Rodriguez said,”but it takes awhile for the ref to call stalling.

“I?like to wrestle a very intense style. I like to attack the guy, forward, forward, forward. I?kind of take wrestling as a territory thing.”

Burkart said Morales is his most experienced wrestler, but with just two seasons on the mat, still didn’t have a chance against Hermiston’s three-time state placer and defending 152-pound champ.

“Abe’s a specimen,”?he said. “He’s a dominant wrestler. He knows exactly what he wants to do and he does it.”

Also winning by pin for the Bulldogs was Mason Ballew at 132 pounds. He led Mitchel Waters 6-2 at the end of the first round and quickly turned the Eagle Indian with a half nelson before pinning him 14 seconds into the second round.

The Dalles Wahtonka’s only win was at 152 pounds when Bryan Sanchez caught Beau Brock with a reversal and pinned him with 12 seconds left in the second period.

The Bulldogs are 2-0 in CRC?duals and still have rival Pendleton left on the schedule, but their main focus remains on dominating the district meet on Feb. 15-16 at Marshall High School, where the CRC will join teams from the PIL to battle for state berths.

“It’s whoever can last the longest throughout the season. It’s a long season wrestling, your body wears down. And I?think it’s whoever can mentally get through those kinds of injuries, fight through them, because everyone’s feeling it right now,”?Berger said. “I?think as a team we’re still going strong and I think we still have that same intensity that we had at the beginning of the year and I?think we’re going to take all the way through to state.”


Contact Matt Entrup at mentrup@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0838.


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