Hardy finishes second

Meeker senior Justin Hardy pinned four opponents and won 13-0 in the consolation championship match of the 2A 170-pound bracket last weekend in the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver, ending his high school wrestling career with a bronze medal.

Meeker senior Justin Hardy pinned four opponents and won 13-0 in the consolation championship match of the 2A 170-pound bracket last weekend in the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver, ending his high school wrestling career with a bronze medal.
MEEKER I “I was proud of Justin. It takes a lot of character to come back and win the consolation bracket when your goal is to win it all,” Meeker wrestling coach J.C. Watt said of the feat accomplished by Cowboy senior Justin Hardy.
Hardy ended his high school wrestling career as the 2A consolation champion at 170 last weekend in the Colorado State Wrestling Championships. The championships are held in the Denver Pepsi Center. Hardy entered the tournament with an impressive 22-4 record and a regional runner-up for his second trip to the state tournament. Hardy was the first state placer for the Cowboys since Josh Prescott finished as a runner-up in 2008.
Hardy pinned his first opponent, Brandt Shields of Custer County in the second period but lost (2-5) to Broc Pelle of Holyoke in the quarterfinals. Pelle lost in the finals to Brent Harris of Norwood, a defending state champion and the regional champ at 170.
“My mindset going in was to do my best in my last high school tournament,” Hardy said. “It was hard after the loss because my goal was to go all the way. I had to gather myself and decide to go out the back door and take third. The experience was awesome.”
Hardy dominated the consolation bracket, pinning Rich Lancaster of Peyton in 52 seconds, before he faced familiar opponent Jake Smith of Rangely, who he also pinned with no time left in the second period to get into the medal round. Hardy then pinned K.C. Christian of Paonia in 4:50 to advance to the consolation championship where he would face Bo Soden of Rocky Ford. Hardy totally dominated Soden, winning the bronze medal with a 13-0 major decision.
“Justin was the hardest worker in the room and it was nice to see the kid that worked the hardest do the best at the state tournament,” Watt said.
“He was always the last one in the room,” assistant coach Lee Overton said.
“He helped other kids in practice, I hope I have a senior like him every year,” Watt,completing his first year at the helm of the Cowboy program, said.
Sophomore J.C. Henderson (126) and junior J.R. Crawford (182) both qualified for their second trip to the “Big Show” and both won one match but did not place.”
“They both won a match so it was good experience for them,” Watt said of the state mat experience for the two underclassmen.
Meeker senior Ethan Overton capped off his high school wrestling career with a free trip to the state tournament but did not win a match in the tough 195-pound bracket.
The Meeker coaches said they had several goals during the year but the first two were to get everyone to win a match and to keep everyone out for the team, which they did.
“It was a positive step forward for the program,” Watt said.
Another positive step for the program is that the Barone Middle School wrestlers started practice last week and head coach Lee Overton was excited about the 27 kids out for the team.
“That’s pretty cool,” Overton said of the middle school participation, which is the highest they have seen in several years.