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R.J. Pena gets it done on the mat Monday, January 26, 2009

R.J. Pena of Sprague High School (front) lifts Josh Cate of Burns in the 145-pound final at the Reser's Tournament of Champions Jan. 24 in Hillsboro. Pena won the title by fall at 3:12. The senior, who recently signed with Oregon State University, pinned all four of his opponents at the tournament.

R.J. Pena is undoubtedly the best high school wrestler that Oregon has seen in recent memory. Maybe longer than that. Quite possibly a lot longer.

He's ranked no. 1 in the nation at 152 pounds, and the no. 5 recruit overall, and it's easy to see why: he just doesn't lose.

The senior is already a three-time state champion. He holds two titles from the Reno Tournament of Champions which draws wrestlers from across the country. And now, he is a four-time champion at the Reser's Tournament of Champions, the toughest meet in Oregon.

Pena doesn't just beat his opponents, he dominates them. Everybody gets pinned. Most don't make it past the first round.

Wrestling at 145 pounds at the Reser's tournament last weekend, Pena pinned his opponents at 1:30, 1:27, and 1:23 en route to the title match. There, Josh Cate of Burns pushed him into the second round before falling at 3:12.

It's hard to see how anything short of an injury will prevent him from becoming a four-time state champion. The state wrestling tournament is Feb. 26-28 at Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

I'll post more images from the Reser's TOC later this week.

[left] R.J. Pena puts Josh Cate's shoulders to the mat at 3:12 in the 145-pound final at the Reser's Tournament of Champions Jan. 24 in Hillsboro.