Wrestling Completes 2009-10 Class by Adding Six

May 28, 2009

Corvallis, Ore. The Oregon State wrestling team completed its 2009-10 signing class by adding six more, announced Thursday by head coach Jim Zalesky.


The Beavers already signed RJ Pena (Salem, Ore./Sprague HS), a four-time Oregon state champion, ended his high school career on a 147-match winning streak, going 47-0 in his final season with 45 pins. Pena racked up 138 total pins in his career. He was named the Salem Statesman Journal’s Regional Wrestler of the Year four times and was the Dave Shultz Award recipient for Oregon and the Western Region of the United States.


Joining Pena are Jacob Lauderdale (Mile Falls, Wash./Lakeside HS), projected to wrestle at 125 pounds, John Tuck (La Grande, Ore./La Grande HS), projected to wrestle at 165 pounds, Taylor Johnson (Redmond, Ore./Redmond HS), projected to wrestle at 184/197 pounds, Caleb Cardwell (Lowell, Ore./Lowell HS), projected to wrestle at 174 pounds and Scott Sakaguchi (Clovis, Calif./Clovis HS), projected at 149 pounds.


Also joining the Beavers is transfer Colby Covington (Springfield, Ore./Thurston HS/Iowa Central CC/Iowa), who is projected at 174 pounds.


“I think these six on top of RJ add a lot to our room as far as kids we’re looking for,” Zalesky said.”They all have high goals and a strong work ethic. So we’re really happy to have these guys as a part of our team next year.”


Jacob Lauderdale (Mile Falls, Wash./Lakeside HS) – Projected 125 pounds


Jacob Lauderdale comes to Oregon State after a successful high school career, culminating in three Washington state titles at 125 pounds, including going undefeated in his senior season. He earned regional recognition, finishing third in Greco and fifth in freestyle at the 2009 Western Junior Regional Championships.


Lauderdale earned 2009 Wrestling USA Magazine special mention at125 pounds on the list of best high school seniors.


“We were looking for a 125/133 pound guy even though we already kind of have guys in those spots,” Zalesky said. “But I feel good about him being there to push for the spot. We’re looking to get competition into the room, and that’s what he brings – passion and work ethic.”


John Tuck (La Grande, Ore./La Grande HS) – Projected 165 pounds


John Tuck posted an Oregon state tournament record of 15-3 over his career, earning back-to-back state titles at 160 pounds in 2009 and 152 pounds in 2008. He added a third place finish in 2007 and fifth place showing in 2006 at 140 pounds. He went 38-1 in his 2009 state title run, holding opponents scoreless at thet tournament, leading to 2009 Outstanding 4A Class Wrestler accolades.


Outside of high school wrestling, Tuck was the 160 pound champion at the 2009 Cliff Keen World Wrestling Championships.


“John Tuck’s an Oregon kid, and one of those late signing kids coming in pretty solid,” Zalesky said. “He comes from small school, but I think our program improve a lot with having him in it.”


Taylor Johnson (Redmond, Ore./Redmond HS) – Projected 184/197 pounds


Taylor Johnson capped off his high school career with a 2009 OSAA 6A 189 pound title after finishing runner-up the year before. He finished fifth in 2007.


Johnson found success off the mat as well, earning All-State honors in football as a running back.


“Taylor Johnson is very athletic, having played football, wrestled and being a part of the rodeo,” Zalesky said. “He’s big guy, which we need since we didn’t really have anyone there besides Chad Hanke last season. He really brings lot to the wrestling room.”


Caleb Cardwell (Lowell, Ore./Lowell HS) – Projected 174 pounds


Caleb Cardwell is a three-time OSAA 2A/1A state champion. He earned his first title in 2007 at 160 pounds before taking back-to-back championships at 171 pounds. Cardwell also was a standout in football and baseball.


Cardwell comes from an Oregon State household with father, Jeff, being a two-time All-American for the Beavers and a former assistant coach.

“Caleb is one of those kids we watched on film and liked what we saw,” Zalesky said. “I think he got overlooked a little, but he’s what Oregon State all about. He has a goal to be a national champion and that’s what we want to help him do.”


Scott Sakaguchi (Clovis, Calif./Clovis HS) – Projected 149 pounds


Scott Sakaguchi finished a solid senior season with All-America status at the National High School Coaches Association Senior National Championships, finishing third, after taking the California title at 145 pounds. He was named the Fresno Bee Wrestler of the Year.


“Scott really fills a need for us in that weight class,” Zalesky said. “He really came on this year by winning the California state championship, and he’s from a great program with great coaching.“


Colby Covington (Springfield, Ore./Thurston HS/Iowa Central CC/Iowa) – Projected 174 pounds


Colby Covington returns to Oregon after spending the last three seasons in the Midwest at Iowa Central Community College and Iowa. Over his two year collegiate career, Covington has amassed a 43-2 record, going a perfect 34-0 during his rookie season, leading to a NJCAA national championship at 165 pounds. After redshirting his true sophomore season, he went 9-2 overall at Iowa, winning the 165 pound title at Flash Flanagan and Grand View Opens. Five of his nine wins were bonus point wins.


In his prep career at Thurston, Covington went 118-34 with 58 pins, winning the 171-pound title his senior year. He was a two-time conference champion, helping his team to two conference titles. He placed fifth at 2005 Greco-Roman Junior Nationals, third at 2006 NHSCA Senior Nationals and fourth at the 2006 Freestyle Junior Nationals. He was a three-sport athlete, also competing in lacrosse and football.


“With Kyle Bressler graduating, we didn’t have anyone to fill the void, and Colby fills that hole for us,” Zalesky said. “He won a junior college national championship, and we’re happy to get him back in Oregon at Oregon State.”


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