RANGELY | The wrestling season came to an unfortunate end for all but one of the Panthers at the regional tournament. For a second year in a row, junior Tytus Coombs (138) is the lone Rangely wrestler to advance to the 2019 Colorado State Wrestling Championships, aka, “The Big Show,” this weekend in Denver.
Coombs and classmate Justin Rusher both advanced to the semifinals Friday which automatically put them into Saturday’s competition. Braton Moore (106) Zane Varner (145) and Brent Cantrell (160) lost their first two matches and were eliminated from the tournament Friday.
“These three wrestled hard all season and they have nothing to be disappointed about,” said head coach JC Chumacero.
Dontea Pearce (170) Dalton Dembowski (195) and Byron Mackay (285) lost their first match and were put into the consolation side for Saturday. Things got hard for the team Saturday as the two semifinalists joined the other three on the consolation side of the bracket losing two tough matches. Dembowski (one match away from the consolation semifinals) also lost a tough match, eliminating him from the tournament. The remaining four wrestlers started the next round in the consolation semifinals where Tytus Coombs advanced to the third and fourth place matches and the other three lost tough matches putting them in the fifth and sixth place matches.
“Any wrestling fan knows how difficult it is to beat the same competitor more than three or four times in the same season,” Chumacero said. Team captains Justin Rusher and Tytus Coombs found this out in their next matches. Rusher fell to Waylan Fletcher from North Park (beaten twice this season) to place sixth. Coombs fell to Skieler Grooms from Ignacio in overtime (beaten three times this season, one of which was the first match on Friday) for fourth place.
“Beating an opponent over and over can be difficult as the competitor learns your style and is determined to beat you,” Chumacero added.
Normally, fourth place finishers advance to state, but in this instance the fifth place wrestler—Tad Sickles from Nucla—had not wrestled Coombs in this tournament, requiring a wrestle-back to determine the top four wrestlers.
Sickles had beaten Coombs twice earlier in the year but Coombs returned the favor this time by pinning Sickles in the third period.
Freshmnn Dontea Pearce and Byron Mackay won their final matches of the day putting them into fifth place. Unfortunately, the same situation did not line up for these two and a wrestle-back was not available.
“I am very proud of this young wrestling team and how they finished this season. As always it was a very long and grueling season filled with very difficult practices, heartbreaking losses and injury. The season will continue for one more week for Tytus Coombs as he will head to his second state tournament. He will continue to work hard and we will head over the mountain hoping for great success out of him,” Chumacero said.
By Bobby Gutierrez | Special to the Herald Times