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Named outstanding wrestler
RBC I Rangely senior Cole Barlow won the 152-pound bracket of the Panther wrestling tournament last Saturday in his hometown and was voted the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament by attending coaches. Meeker junior Justin Hardy won the 171-pound class.
The competition was tough, featuring teams from Grand Junction Central, Palisade, Olathe, Paonia and Soroco and wrestlers from Vernal and Duschene, Utah. Only four other wrestlers from Rio Blanco County placed in the top four. Duschene won the team title and the Panthers finished fifth as a team.
Meeker’s Collin Cochran moved down from heavyweight and finished second in the 215-pound bracket.
Two of the best matches of the tournament featured Rio Blanco County wrestlers against each other. At 112-pounds, Rangely’s Jo D Stults avenged and loss earlier in the season to J.C. Henderson, with a win in the quarterfinal round. Stults went on to place third. Meeker sophomore JR Crawford lost to Rangely senior Bo Armstrong earlier but pinned Armstrong in the second round in Rangely. Crawford lost his next two matches and did not place, Armstrong finished third at 189. Rangely’s Zakk Wenzel finished fourth at 160.
“We started the tournament slow but after the first round we picked it up and won a lot of matches,” Rangely head coach Derek Stolworthy said of his team. “I am excited to see every one of our wrestlers giving it all out on the mat.”
Meeker head coach Joe Gutierrez was is also pleased with the way his kids are wrestling.
“Justin (Hardy) is wrestling with a lot of confidence and we are all coming together,” Gutierrez said. “We want it all pulled together in February and I think we are headed that way.”
Both Rio Blanco County wrestling teams will compete in the Paonia Duals this weekend.