Last Friday, Southern Oregon University Wrestler, Devin Poppen, tied for second place on Southern Oregon’s all-time pins list. Poppen is the NAIA’s No. 2-ranked wrestler at 141 pounds. By taking down Devin Everk in 5:03, the athlete scored his 52nd win by fall. It was the wrestler’s 14th pin of the season and made him 24-5 overall, and it matches four-time national champion Brock Gutches in the Raider record book.
Poppen was named Wrestler of the Week by the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) for a second time this season at the beginning of the term. With the start of a new year and term, the Southern Oregon University’s men wrestling team proved itself to be a force at their past week’s competitions. He was first voted as Wrestler of the Week by the CCC back in Nov. But for the second time this season he was once again voted in. His other accomplishments include being named Outstanding Lightweight Wrestler of the Tournament after the duel he fought in California. “Wrestling for SOU has been an awesome experience,” said Poppen. “It’ll be really cool seeing my name in the record books, but my ultimate goal is still to be national champion.”
Having come from Oregon City, Ore., Poppen brought skills that he built up from his time with the men’s wrestling team at his high school to the collegiate arena. In addition, he trained at Portland with a club called “All-Phase,” when he was younger. While his memory of how he started competing in his sport is blurry, he does recall his parents taking him wrestling practice when he was four years old. The origin of his skills are unknown. Along with his involvement in wrestling, he is currently pursuing a degree in Business at SOU, with a focus in accounting.
His teammates are quite proud of his accomplishments during their season. JJ Talavera, freshman and 157 pounder, is a part of the new group of “starting guys” as the team puts it. As a underclassmen, Talavera looks up to Poppen as a role model for himself and the team as a whole. He explained that Poppen is a wrestler that can “change the momentum of a duel in around 30 seconds. He’s one of the hardest working guys on the team. He’s pushing other people to work just as hard.”
At this point in the season, Poppen and his teammates are traveling, to compete in multiple duels. At the start of the new the team won duels in Providence, Montana with a win of 20-18 as well as at Montana State-Northern University with a 26-15 win. They also managed to take victory at Warner Pacific University upstate Oregon with a 37-12 win. At Doane University in Nebraska they managed to come away with a 44-12 win. In Iowa they beat Northwestern University with a 36-9 win. Their most recent triumphant was at Wayland Baptist University in Texas with a 49-3 win. When speaking with Poppen, the team was currently located in Nebraska again.
The wrestling team, having come through with their successes this past few weeks, are looking forward to the season ahead. Cody Stahl, freshman and 165 pounder on the team is excited about “how everyone does and how well [they] end the season.” Their season is expected to conclude around early March of this term.
Next Saturday, the team will compete against Western Oregon University on Friday Feb. 2, at 1:00 P.M. They will also duel against Eastern Oregon University at 3:00 P.M. later that day.