Panthers knock off pair of defending state champions

RANGELY — The Panthers completed a busy week of wrestling by defeating two defending state champion teams and going 7-2 in duals. Rangely traveled to Parachute last Thursday for a dual with the defending state champions, Grand Valley. This dual was a dogfight from the start with many matches decided in the final seconds.
The dual started at 160 pounds where Christian Holcomb won by a pin; at 171 Ralph Carabajal followed suit with another win by a pin; at 189 Mike (Butterbean) Dillon won an exciting match 12-8; at 215 Patrick Brown won by a forfeit; at heavyweight, Kindal Cushman was pinned in the second period.
At 103 Chad Petersen won by a forfeit as did Chance Peters at 112. At 119 Blake Wanstedt won by a pin as did Devon Rose at 125; at 130 J.C. Chumacero lost 2-0 in overtime; at 135 Cole Barlow lost 8-7 to the number one ranked 3A wrestler. Cole was up by one with five seconds left. Cole was aggressive and shot in. The shot was defended well and Cole was taken down as the buzzer sounded. At 140 in another outstanding match Travis Witherell won 3-2. These two wrestlers met in the state semifinals last year. Travis also won that match. At 145 Ryan Cramer lost by a pin as did Logan Osborne at 152.
In some extra match action Chance Peters won by a pin, Brandon Gray lost 7-2, Zakk Wenzel won by a pin and lost by a pin. I am very pleased with our team’s effort, we still have a lot of room for improvement.
On Friday the Panthers traveled to Roosevelt, Utah, for a six-team dual tournament.
The Panthers started the day by defeating last year’s Utah state champions 51-21. Next up was Bear River, Utah. This was a good dual as the Panthers came out on top 42-36. The third dual was against host team Roosevelt. The Panthers completely dominated the contest 72-6. The fourth dual of the day was against Uintah and again the Panthers just kept wrestling well and dominated the dual 75-3.
The last match of the day was against Moffat County.
The Panthers kept the momentum and soundly defeated the Bulldogs 51-21. Taking home first place were Devon Rose, Travis Witherell, Christian Holcomb and Ralph Carabajal.
The rest of the Panther wrestling team competing were Chad Petersen, Chance Holcomb, Blake Wanstedt, J.C. Chumacero, Cole Barlow, Ryan Cramer, Keane Raley, Mike Dillon, Bo Armstrong, Patrick Brown and Kindal Cushman, all of the wrestlers won at least two matches on the day. Devon Rose won the outstanding wrestler award for the lower weights.
Also competing in the junior varsity tournament and all three placing first were Brandon Gray, Zakk Wenzel and Logan Osborne.
On Saturday the Panthers were at it again in Grand Junction for the Mesa State Duals.
Our first dual was against 3A Coal Ridge. The Panthers easily defeated Coal Ridge 64-18. The second dual was against 5A Central of Grand Junction. This was a tough contest. Throughout, the team fought hard but was just out-manned in the lower weights. We lost our first dual of the season 45-25.
The third dual of the day was against Center, this was another romp as the Panthers easily won the dual 66-18. The fourth dual was against 5A Legacy (Broomfield). We gave them a very good run but we just couldn’t win the close matches. We lost the dual 33-24. Legacy won the tournament.
Our last dual of the day was against 3A Holy Family which was a no-contest. We won the dual 69-9. We had a very busy week of wrestling and the team competed very hard all weekend long. I am very excited about the direction where this team is headed.

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