Nathan L.

Maybe the Baker wrestling squad should skip practices more often. At

least that strategy worked for the Bulldogs at the annual Jo-Hi

tournament at Joseph High School Friday and Saturday.

The Bulldogs did not practice during the holiday break, then went out

and won the Jo-Hi meet, edging Pomeroy, Wash., 166.5-146.5.

"I caught some flak for the decision not to practice," said Baker coach

Dee Gorrell. "But, now we're all healed, all healthy and ready to go."

The Bulldogs, who were second to Pomeroy after Friday's action,

finished with 13 wrestlers placing in their weight divisions to gain

the title.

"I'm really proud of the kids," Gorrell said. "Monday they made a goal

that we would be first in the tournament. They battled the whole

tournament and the kids spoke for themselves. We pulled it out in the

championship round."

The Bulldogs finished with three individual champions - Parker Warner (125 pounds), Andrew Porter (130) and Andrew Gettle (145).

Zach Valentine (103), Lane Gray (160) and Ted Shaw (189) each added a second-place finish.

Placing third were Sam Pearson (135), Brandon Zunino (140) and Jake Shukle (215).

Miguel Kitch (119) and Paul Johnson (215) took fifth. Holden Grove (119) and Lane Zacharias (145) placed sixth.

Gorrell said three matches stood out during the tournament - Gettle's 3-0 decision over previously-undefeated Tye Knibel of Pomeroy in the 145-pound title match; Shaw's 4-2 loss at the buzzer to undefeated Klyntin Bott of Pomeroy; and former Bulldog Grant Marcum's pin of yet another previously-undefeated Pomeroy wrestler in the 152-pound championship match.

Marcum receives honor

Marcum, who now wrestles for Joseph, was named the "Wrestler of the Tournament" by the tourney coaches.

"Grant, a Baker alum, wrestled well during the tournament," said Gorrell.

Dennis leads Spartans

Pine-Eagle, third after Friday's matches, finished the tournament in seventh place.

Kyle Dennis (20-0 on the season), earned the individual championship at 171 pounds.

"Kyle went 4-0, but he had a pretty good match against Pomeroy's No. 2 wrestler (Matt Slaybaugh) in the championship match," said Pine-Eagle coach Blake Dennis.

The younger Dennis led just 3-2 in the second round before winning by pin.

Devon Thorn placed second at 119, Cody Powell fourth at 145, and Richie Gonzalez fifth at 189.

"As a team we should have done a little better," Coach Dennis said. "Chalk it up to the long holiday break."

Baker travels to Vale Thursday. Pine-Eagle competes in a tournament at Orofino Friday and Saturday.

Jo-Hi Tournament

Team standings - Baker 166.5, Pomeroy 146.5, Grant Union 130.5, Joseph 120, Adrian 89, Heppner 82, Pine-Eagle 80, Wallowa 68.5, Elgin 60, Enterprise 60, Union 55, Imbler 45, Dayton 20.