Cowboys win West Grand Tournament, again
“It was exciting for our kids,” head coach J.C. Watt said. “Our hard work in the room is paying off.”
The Cowboys filled 12 of the 14 brackets with varsity wrestlers and entered five JV wrestlers, two of whom placed third in the varsity tournament, which featured a field of 19 teams.
Meeker’s lighter wrestlers set the pace and tone, as varsity wrestlers in the first four weights for the Cowboys advanced to the finals.
Meeker freshman Sheridan Harvey dominated the 106-pound bracket, pinning kids from Middle Park, Steamboat Springs, Buena Vista and pinning J.J. Seamen of Hann-Elk Mountain, Wyo., in 39 seconds in the championship match.
Cowboy senior Calvin Shepherd entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed in the 113-pound bracket and backed it up by pinning all of his opponents too. After receiving a first-round bye, Shepherd wrestled three matches in less time than a six-minute match, pinning his Norwood opponent in 41 seconds, then Ethan Labriola of Steamboat Springs in 2:42 before needing only 47 seconds to pin Tyler Hockaday of Hayden in the championship match.
Juniors Tristin Pelloni (120) and Kylloe Goedert (126) both pinned their first two opponents and won in the semifinals (Goedert won 2-0 in overtime) but both lost in the finals and finished as runner-ups.
Anthony Watt pinned his Coal Ridge opponent in the first round, then won by technical fall (16-0) over Greg Kennedy of Littleton, before pinning Trenton Armintrout of Norwood in the semifinals and Alan Lopez of Glenwood Springs in the championship match of the 145-pound bracket. Watt was also named the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.
Cowboy senior Willis Begaye advanced to the finals with two pins and a win but lost to Tim Armintrout of Norwood in the finals.
Defending state champion T.J. Shelton remained undefeated, winning the 170-pound bracket. Shelton received a first-round by then pinned Dylan Wallace of Steamboat Springs and beat Christian Keith of Coal Ridge 7-2 in the semifinals, then defeated Justin Barham of Glenwood Springs 4-0 in the finals.
Meeker senior J.C. Henderson wrestled for the first time this season and finished third at 138 and sophomore Dillon Frantz, wrestling JV for the Cowboys at 152, also brought home a bronze medal. Freshman Casey Turner, one of two JV wrestlers for the Cowboys at 145, also finished as a consolation champion. Jake Henderson also represented the Cowboys in the 145-pound bracket and won two matches but did not place.
Meeker sophomore Chase Rule also made it to the consolation championship in the 160-pound bracket but had to forfeit because he had already wrestled five matches.
Cowboy freshmen Josh Cochran (132) and Tyler Ilgen (285) both won a match in their respective weights but did not place. Meeker JV wrestler Sam Lange (126) won two matches but did not place, neither did JV wrestlers Nick Burri (120) and Cody Nielsen (132).
The Cowboys won the tournament with 205 points, giving Norwood second with 152, Hayden was third with 140 and Steamboat Springs was fourth with 137.
“The kids wrestled well and it was a successful tournament for us before the break,” coach Watt said. “They’ll have a good attitude going into the break and get ready for the rest of the season, when it gets a little tougher.”
The team will wrestle a dual against Grand Valley Jan. 9, then compete in the Tournament of Champions in Vernal, Utah, on Jan. 9 and 10.