Cowboys finish third in Paonia, crown 2 champs

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MEEKER I The Meeker High School wrestling team finished third in the Screamin’ Eagle tournament Saturday in Paonia, then pinned the Bulldogs seven times to win a dual in Craig on Tuesday. Tonight the Cowboys will wrestle a triangular in Palisade against the host Bulldogs and the Bulldogs from Hotchkiss.
“We’re improving,” head coach J.C. Watt said of his team. “We are being more aggressive at the end of periods and at the edge of the mat.”
In Paonia, the Cowboys placed 11 wrestlers, including two JV wrestlers in the top six, including two champs, two runners-up, two consolation champs, one fourth, three fifth and one sixth place.
Cowboy senior J.C. Henderson won the 138-pound bracket and T.J. Shelton won the 170-pound bracket.
“This is the first tournament J.C. has won and he beat two tough kids to do it,” coach Watt said about Henderson’s perseverance.
Watt said Henderson was down by five points to Nick Jones of Dove Creek in the semifinals and “battled back” and pinned him.
“That was the highlight of the tournament for me,” Watt said. “J.C. beat a kid (Jose Chavez) from Center, in the championship match, who took third in the Warrior.”
Henderson won 4-3 in his championship match.
Shelton pinned three opponents to advance to the championship match and won 7-3 over Logan Schopp of Paonia.
“T.J. is wrestling well,” Coach Watt said.
Tristin Pelloni (113) and Devon Pontine (160) both advanced to the championship match in their respective weights and finished as runners-up.
Cowboy senior Willis Begaye (152) and freshman Tyler Ilgen (285) finished as consolation champions in their respective weights and Sheridan Harvey advanced to the consolation match but had to forfeit because he had already wrestled five matches.
Aaron Cochran (132), Casey Turner (145) and Chase Rule (160) all finished fifth and Anthony Watt was sixth at 145.
Calvin Shepherd (120), Kylloe Goedert (126), Sam Lange (126), Jake Henderson (145) all won at least won match but did not place, nor did Josh Cochran (126) Cody Nielsen (132) or Caleb Bradford (152).
Against the Bulldogs in Craig on Tuesday, 10 matches were wrestled, all were decided by pin fall, each team forfeited two matches and Meeker won 54-30. Harvey started the mat slapping, Pelloni, Goedert, Cochran, Turner, Watt (152) and Pontine (170) all followed with pins.
Begaye moved up a weight against Moffat County and was pinned, as was Shelton, who also moved up a weight, was leading 16-3 before he was taken for a “Saturday night ride” and pinned. Shepherd was also pinned.
The Cowboys will wrestle in Palisade tonight in a triangular against the host and the Hotchkiss Bulldogs.