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RANGELY I The Panther wrestling team qualified four wrestlers for the Colorado State Wrestling Championships held in the Pepsi Center last weekend and returned with one placer, senior heavyweight Patrick Brown.
“I was very proud of Patrick and all our kids,” head coach Derek Stolworthy said of one his senior co-captains. “Patrick wrestled well, his matches were close and he was in every match.”
Brown, who qualified for a second year in a row, won his first two matches to advance to the semifinals where he lost 1-8 to John Gray of Crowley County, the eventual state champion.
By advancing to the semifinals, Brown was guaranteed a state medal. Brown would face Tony Darling of Paonia in his first round in the consolation bracket, the heavyweight who defeated him in the regional championship the week before. Brown lost 3-6 to the eventual consolation heavyweight champion and then lost to Reed Chris of Akron to finish sixth.
Rangely’s other senior, Jake Smith, won two matches and was one win away from getting into the medal round in the 170-pound bracket and coach Stolworthy was appreciative of the co-captain’s contributions to the team.
“Jake is just a great kid,” coach Stolworthy said. “He did a great job of being a team captain and team leader and he was a very hard worker, both of our captains were.”
Smith pinned Brennan Pacheco of Del Norte in 5:04 then lost to Bo Soden of Rocky Ford 8-15 in the championship quarterfinals. Smith pinned Collin Sires of Baca County in 4:57 before being eliminated from the tournament by league foe Justin Hardy.
Rangely junior Colton Coombs won a match in his second trip to the state tournament in the 152-pound bracket when he defeated Luke Holmquist of Fowler 6-4 in overtime.
“Colton did very well this year and is really close to turning the corner from being a good wrestler to a great wrestler,” Stolworthy said. “We’ll be working with him this summer to find his hips and help him make the corner.”
Stolworthy will also be working with sophomore Lucas Heinle this summer. Heinle qualified for a second year in a row for the state tournament but did not win a match in the 138-pound 2A state bracket.
“I was proud of Lucas making it to state again this year,” Stolworthy said. “We still have two more years left to try and get him a state championship.”
Stolworthy was thankful to his team managers Monica Briggs and Maddie Lawson for their help during the season and for the support from the wrestling parents and community given to him and his assistant coach Claude Rose.
“We really appreciate the support,” Stolworthy said.
Stolworthy said he would be opening the room up to high school wrestlers after the middle school season is over, for practice during the summer.
“Summer wrestling makes winter champions,” Stolworthy said.