MHS wrestlers on track, as planned

MEEKER I “We are working our plan to get better each week and we saw big improvements last week in Paonia,” Meeker’s head wrestling coach Joe Gutierrez said. No Cowboys won individual titles but four placed in the Paonia Invitational last Saturday. Meeker will wrestle a triangular in Hayden against the Tigers and the Glenwood Springs Demons.
Junior Justin Hardy led the team with a second place finish in the 171-pound bracket, losing to a ranked wrestler from Fowler.
“Justin looked good but I thought all our wrestlers looked good,” Gutierrez said. “I had other coaches and referees come up to me and comment on how much our kids have improved. We are all wrestling tough and aggressive.”
Freshman J.C. Henderson won four matches, losing one and a coin flip to finish fourth. Wrestlers are only allowed to wrestle five matches in a day and both wrestlers in the consolation championship had wrestled five matches, thus needing a coin flip to decide the consolation champ.
Junior Collin Cochran, who Gutierrez has started calling “Cradling Cochran,” wrestled his way to a fourth place finish in the 215-pound class
Freshman Willis Begaye also wrestled five matches in the 135-pound bracket and also lost a coin flip for a sixth place finish. JR Crawford won a match but did not place in the 171-pound bracket but Gutierrez still likes the sophomore’s progress.
“JR is not afraid to go out and mix it up with anyone,” Gutierrez said. “He’s maturing fast and getting tougher every week.”
Kelly Denny, Ethan Overton and Kang Hee Tak all wrestled matches but did not place.
Hee Tak is an exchange student from South Korea and according to Gutierrez, “is fun to be around.”
“I think he’s enjoying it and getting something out of being on the team,” Gutierrez said of Hee Tak. “The kids love him.”