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Orediggers Place Four At Rocky Mountain Collegiate Open

13 Feb 2017

CSM staff - GOLDEN, Colo. - Colorado School of Mines had four placewinners and numerous outstanding performances as they hosted the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Open at Steinhauer Fieldhouse. Zach Gracia made the 125 final, John Crowley placed third at 165, with Chase Clayton and Brandon Saunders picking up fourth-place finishes at 184 and 197, respectively. The annual event was a chance for Mines wrestler to tune-up or earn their places in the team for NCAA Super Regionals, which will be held at Steinhauer Fieldhouse on Feb. 24-25. Gracia advanced to the 125 to the final with a 6-3 win over Western State's Colby Duncan and a sudden-victory takedown against Colorado Mesa's Tim Romero to win 5-3 in the semis. He fell to Tony DeCesare of Air Force Prep, 7-1, in the final.

Mines had three 141-pound competitors in the bracket looking to sort out their Super Regional lineup. Justin Ray won by Fall over Adams State's Sage Budd in 1:39, then defeated Lukas Erickson 4-0 on a second-period nearfall-4 after Erickson majored Mesa's Jared Johnshoy 8-0 in his first match. Ray withdrew after the two wins. Jake Woods was on the other side of the bracket and cruised to a 16-1 tech fall against Western State's Tim Edmonson in the opener before falling to Air Force's Garrett O'Shea, 12-2; in consolations, he won two matches, first with a pin and then a 16-4 major, before facing Erickson, who won 6-0. Erickson ended with a pin loss in the consolation quarterfinals.
#5 Jacob Gerken had a dominant tuneup for regionals as he won two matches by fall before withdrawing. Gerken beat Jair Flores in 4:14 to start before taking down Sherod Bride of Adams State for a 58-second pin in the quarterfinals.
At 157, Ryan Carpenter won his opener, 7-0 against Fort Hays' Martin Verhaeghe, but fell in the quarterfinals to Western State's Bronson Spies, 8-0 before losing a close consolation-bracket match, 6-4, to Air Force's Luke Boyle.
Austin Saunders and John Crowley were in action at 165 as the pair ended up facing off for third. Crowley lost his first championship-bracket match, 3-2, to Connor Hedash of Air Force, but won an 8-6 consolation match over Western State's Ryan Pellow and a 7-3 decision against Air Force Prep's Jacoby Ward. Saunders had a similar path as he lost his first match but then picked up an 11-3 major over Western State's Chas Hammaker, an 11-8 win over WSCU's Michael Thelan, and a forfeit from Hedash. Crowley won the third-place bout in a 19-4 tech fall.
Clayton won his opener with a third-period pin over Antonio Navarrette of New Mexico Highlands, but suffered a tech fall loss to Air Force's Bridger Barker, the eventual champion. Clayton received a forfeit win from teammate Ben Krantz in the consolation semifinal, then lost to Roby Ryals of Air Force by fall in the third-place match. Krantz lost his opener by fall to Western State's Ladd Bunker, but pinned Air Force Prep's James Duffy in 1:27 before withdrawing.
Brandon Saunders bounced back from an opening-round loss to make the 197-pound consolation final. Saunders pinned Chadron State's Tristan Ezell and Western State's Foster Houts, but fell in the third-place match to his first-round opponent, Cameron McCrimmon of Western State, 8-2.