Hardy places 3rd at TOC

Cowboy senior Justin Hardy prepares to put his opponent in a guillotine in the first round of the Tournament of Champions in Vernal, Utah. Hardy won five of six matches to finish third in the 170-pound bracket.

Cowboy senior Justin Hardy prepares to put his opponent in a guillotine in the first round of the Tournament of Champions in Vernal, Utah. Hardy won five of six matches to finish third in the 170-pound bracket.
MEEKER I After the holiday break, the Cowboy wrestling team opened the 2012 part of the season in the toughest tournament it has entered so far. The Cowboys traveled to Vernal, Utah, last weekend for the Tournament of Champions and returned with one consolation champ.
Meeker senior Justin Hardy won five matches to finish third in the 170 pound bracket and was the only Cowboy to place.
“Justin wrestled tough,” head coach J.C. Watt said. “He lost in the quarterfinals but came back and pinned all of his next four opponents and he was beating them when he pinned them.”
Hardy, who is ranked third in the state by On the Mat Rankings, lost 2-6 in the quarterfinals in the only full match for him in the tournament. Hardy pinned all five of his other opponents, including two league opponents, two of them in the first period and the other three in the second.
Meeker freshman Tristin Pelloni won two matches at 106, as did sophomore J.C. Henderson at 126 and his classmate Willis Begaye at 145. All were two matches away from placing, in the always competitive 32-man brackets of the Tournament of Champions, which is wrestled on eight mats.
Freshman Anthony Watt (138), junior J.R. Crawford (182) and senior Ethan Overton (195) each won a match in their respective weights.
Freshman Matt Frantz made his varsity debut in Vernal but did not win a match at 132, nor did junior Lathrop Hughes at 152.
Coach Watt said Calvin Shepherd (106), Kylloe Goedert (106) and Isaac Robertson (126) all got valuable experience in the JV brackets.
“Everybody wrestled well and wrestled hard,” Watt said. “I didn’t see us gassing a lot and we may have got pinned a few times but nobody gave up.”
The Cowboys will wrestle the Grand Valley Cardinals tonight in Parachute starting at 5 p.m., then compete in the Rangely Invitational Saturday.