By Jeremy McDonald
SCIO, Ore.– Seniors Brandon Zeiher, Jake Lowther and Dru Cook find themselves in some unique company:
Towards the top of the State Rankings in their respective weight classes.
Zeiher (152) and Lowther (285) are both ranked first in their respective classes a few matches and tournament into the season while Cook (182) is second in his weight class as Scio comes back from Christmas break in preparation for their next series of matches at Willamina later this week and Sweet Home next week.
“It’s pretty cool, we came from last year being, we were pretty good,” said Zeiher, who goes by Richard and has taken the Scio Holiday Tournament and Hagerty Tournament Championships this year at 152, of the three wrestlers of himself, Lowther and Cook. “Then we came in this year as a powerhouse this year, in all three weights we’re stacked, so it’s pretty good.”
There’s motivation there of course being on the top, especially being a senior, but there’s still motivation to keep getting better as they continue onto the rest of the season.
“When you get on top, the hardest thing is to stay on top, everyone’s gunning for you. Everyone wants to be number one, and at this point in my life I just got to try to stay on top so I’ll work harder than last year by a lot and it helped me quite a bit,” said Lowther.
There’s a drive there after The Big Three’s State Performances last season, Lowther finished State Runner-Up to Nyssa’s Osiris Tapia, Cook took third in State after reaching the championship Semis and Zeiher too found himself in the consolation finals after reaching the Championship Semi-finals before falling to Nyssa’s Elijah Cleaver by decision 9-2 for fourth-place.
And with a young team this year, Lowther spoke to how important it is for the upperclassmen like them to step up and show them the way.
“I think these younger guys are picking up from Dru and Richard and me on how the expectation of what Scio wrestling is all about. They’re catching on faster than I thought, we’re starting to look really soild,” said Lowther.
Showing the younger guys like some making the move to the High School Wrestling competition from the eighth-grade level, it’s important for the seniors like Zeiher, Lowther and Cook to show the young-ins the way as some already are catching the eye of their senior counterparts.
“They’re stepping up a lot faster than I thought too. Coming in here, seeing them come in here I was kind thinking, ‘Oh they’re going to be thinking…thinking, ‘oh it’s going to be just going to be just like Middle School wrestling, I’ve gone to State for that’,” said Cook. “But me and Jake both went to State in Middle School and we walked in High School like it was nothing compare to it. It’s way harder.
“But they’re catching on. We’ve had one kid taking first in a couple of his tournaments and that’s Kade Mask, he’s doing pretty well, that’s a tough weight class he’s at right now. We got Gary McDaniel really well in his weight class and he’s in a tough weight class too. All those young guys are stepping up and really doing good.”
Mask wrestles around 126 and McDaniel wrestles around 152. Mask has already taken the Hagerty and Scio Holiday tournaments at the 120 level while McDaniel finished second in the Scio Holiday Tournament at 170 and third in the 152 weight bracket during the Hagerty Tournament.
As they started practice and started to burn off whatever they consumed during their break away from the mats, Lowther was squatting down chatting with Caleb Shockey who’s recovering from a shoulder injury and was practicing lightly Tuesday and saying some words of wisdom to him during practice during a water break mid-practice.
And as practice roared on with Logger-Grad Austin Zeiher in charge with Head Coach Matt Parazoo out with a cold and the 1990s Country music was switched to a different genre of music in tune with the takedown drills and other sorts of drills they were doing on this afternoon, the sun was setting on another tough practice at Scio High School.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald