MEEKER I For the second year in a row, Meeker’s three-time defending state champion T.J. Shelton has won the competitive Tournament of Champions, and this year he was also named the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.
Five other Cowboys placed and the MHS team finished in eighth place overall.
Meeker will wrestle in the Vern Rose Memorial tournament on Saturday in Rangely and compete in a dual meet against the Moffat County Bulldogs on Tuesday in Craig.
“T.J. really wrestled well, and we had five other kids place, so that was good,” Meeker head coach J.C. Watt said.
The Cowboys advanced six wrestlers into the quarterfinal round of the 32-man bracketed tournament but only two advanced to the semifinals.
Sheridan Harvey (126), Casey Turner (152), Chase Rule (160), Shelton, Devon Pontine (182) and Tyler Ilgen (285) all advanced to the quarterfinal round, but only Rule and Shelton advanced to the semifinals.
“We had a bad round in the quarterfinals, but the kids came back and wrestled well in the consolation rounds,” coach Watt said.
Shelton dominated the 170-pound bracket, pinning four of his five opponents, including a first-period pin in the championship match, and he impressed the coaches enough to be named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.
Casey Turner wrestled seven matches and won six, including three by pin fall in the 152-pound bracket. He finished as a consolation champion.
Harvey also recorded three pins in the tournament, while Pontine had two and both Cowboys finished in fifth place in their respective weights.
Rule finished sixth in his bracket and Ilgen recorded three pins in the heavyweight division, where he finished in seventh place.
Hunter Garcia won two matches in the 145-pound bracket while Tannen Kennedy (120) and Garrett Frantz (132) each won a match in their respective weights. Jacob Pelloni (106) and Ty Gibson (138) did not win a match.
Before the Tournament of Champions, the Cowboys hosted a triangular dual meet with Grand Valley and Ralston Valley, beating both teams by large margins.
The Cowboys wrestled on their brand new mat for the first time.
“I don’t remember the last time we got a new mat,” coach Watt said. “It was fun to wrestle on it and we all appreciated the community support.”
The new mat is dedicated to the memory of former Meeker wrestling coach Bill Turner.