The Juneau-Douglas High School wrestling team ran into stiff competition in the championship round of the Northwest Duals Tournament on Friday in Portland, Ore.
After going 4-0 in the preliminary round on Thursday, the Crimson Bears dropped all four of its dual meets on Friday against some of Oregon's top competition.
"These guys are wrestling better than ever before," JDHS coach Kris Mercer said. "(Thursday) they wrestled the best matches of their lives. (Friday) we were just flat. Things weren't happening for us."
Juneau-Douglas, which brought just 10 wrestlers to the meet, gave up 24 points before each match started due to forfeiting four weight classes. While the Crimson Bears were able absorb the blow on Thursday, sacrificing 24 points to the championship-bracket schools proved too much to overcome.
"Man-to-man, I think we've been there with everyone," Mercer said. "With teams though, they're were just a littler fatter in the lineup then we were."
Juneau-Douglas opened Friday's session with a loss to Forest Grove, 38-27. The Crimson Bears received a pair of forfeit victories but dropped three of the contested matches to lose the dual meet.
"The first match was at 10 a.m. and they just weren't they're best and they knew it," Mercer said. "They were just sitting like a bunch of zombies. I think that rattled their cage a bit."
After a rough start, JDHS responded with a more spirited effort against the defending tournament champs, Crook County.
Only Garret Cox (152 pounds), Tyler Zimmerman (189) and Jake Mason (215) earned wins against the Cowboys wrestlers as Crook County won the dual meet, 57-13.
Despite the lopsided score, Mercer said he was pleased with the Crimson Bears' fighting spirit.
"Crook County is tough," Mercer said. "They're a school of 900 with three wrestling teams. ... We're telling them that this is your toughest competition and the kids were like, 'Come on, give us Goliath.' I get goose-bumps thinking about it."
Juneau-Douglas dropped the third match to Century 44-19 before losing a close one to Scappoose, 36-32.
"There were a lot of boys saying we're tough and we were definitely tough," Mercer said. "If you get tough teams to say you're tough, we're pretty pleased with that. Eight meets in two days is pretty incredible."
Only 135-pound sophomore Steven Dyer amassed a perfect 4-0 record during Friday's session.
Dyer earned three wins via major decision.
"Dyer is one of those kids that takes it really seriously," Mercer said.
The Bears' Clinton Clark finished with a 3-1 record on Friday. The senior, who went 4-0 on Thursday, earned wins over wrestlers from Forest Grove, Century and Scappoose.
In the Scappoose match, Clark pinned his opponent in just 24 seconds.
Mason, Zimmerman, Cox and Matt Barry (145) finished with 3-1 records on Friday.
Barry's one loss came in double-overtime to Jare Lewis of Crook County. With the score knotted at 1-1, Barry had 30 seconds to escape from Lewis to win the match. The Crook County wrestler held on for the win.
"I told him that this will make you better for February," Mercer said, alluding to the Alaska State Wrestling Championships. "That's been our bottom line the whole time."
Samson Keeney (171) and Bryce Saviers earned 2-2 records for the Bears.
Juneau-Douglas next wrestles on Jan. 12 at Wasilla, followed by the Diamond Duals Tournament on Jan. 13-14.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org