Turner pins through Tournament of Champions

Local wrestling official Matt Scott’s hand slaps the mat, signaling a pin by Meeker senior Chase Rule against a Grand Valley opponent. Rule (8-3), is currently ranked second by On the Mat Rankings, as are the Cowboys (Rocky Ford is ranked first), recorded two pins and a win in the Tournament of Champions last Saturday in Vernal, Utah and finished second in the 182-pound bracket. Bobby Gutierrez photo

MEEKER | The defending 2A state wrestling champion Meeker Cowboys opened the 2017 portion of the season at home with a win over Grand Valley, then competed in the Tournament of Champions where they placed sixth as a team and six individuals earned medals, including one champion. The Cowboys will wrestle in the third annual Vern Rose Memorial tournament Saturday in Rangely.
“We had a great start in 2017 wrestling more than 100 matches the first weekend back between our varsity and JV wrestlers,” Meeker head coach J.C. Watt said. “It was good mat experience and we improved, the work they put in over the Christmas break showed overall.”
The Cowboys beat Grand Valley 51-20 in front of a large crowd to start the new year.
“We had a great crowd for our first competition after break,” Coach Watt said. “It was exciting to have so many fans come out on such a cold day.”
Meeker’s defending state champion Casey Turner wrestled his first match of the season, pinning his Grand Valley opponent, before pinning his way through the 170-pound bracket in the tournament of champions.
“It’s nice to have Casey back,” coach Watt said. “He is getting more comfortable and better every match.”
Turner recorded four pins on his way to the gold medal, including a pin over Grand Junction’s Seth Latham, one-minute and one-second into the first period of the championship match.
Meeker seniors Sheridan Harvey (138) and Chase Rule (182) also wrestled in the championship match in their respective weights but both finished second, both won three matches and both recored two pins each in the tournament.
“Casey, Sheridan and Chase all wrestled well and the hard work they have put in is showing,” coach Watt said.
Tannen Kennedy has been working hard too, as the Cowboy sophomore wrestled eight matches in the Tournament of Champions, won six of them, including three by pin fall and finished fourth in the 126-pound bracket.
Seniors Caleb Bradford (195) and Tyler Ilgen (heavyweight) both finished fifth in their respective brackets. Bradford won four matches, three by pin fall and Ilgen won three, including two by pin fall.
“Tannen continues to improve and Caleb and Tyler both wrestled well,” coach Watt said.
Junior Garrett Frantz (132) won three matches, including two by pin but did not place, nor did senior Hunter Garcia, who won two matches in the 145-pound bracket.
“We seem to be in mid-season form and I feel good about that,” coach Watt said.