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MEEKER | The Meeker Cowboy wrestling team, last year’s 1A Colorado state runner-up, will open the 2017-2018 season in Grand Junction this weekend, competing in the Colorado Mesa University Duals. The varsity Cowboys will wrestle five duals, while the JV team will compete Saturday in tournament in Olathe.
“The kids are excited,” said Meeker head coach J.C. Watt, who is starting his seventh year at the helm of his alma mater. “We have 20 kids out and all 20 are motivated.”
The Cowboys will be led by seniors Garrett Frantz, Jacob Pelloni and Christopher Strate.. Frantz was a state qualifier last year and Pelloni placed fourth in the Big Show last February in the Pepsi Center.
“All of our seniors have four years of experience, which will provide good leadership for our underclassmen,” Coach Watt said.
The Cowboys graduated four state finalists last year and Coach Watt expects to fill 10 or 11 of the 14 varsity weights at the beginning of the season.
“The whole league lost a bunch of seniors last year but the league will still be very competitive,” Coach Watt said of teams like Paonia, Hotchkiss, Cedaredge, Hayden and Soroco. “We have a lot of young kids, so we should improve a lot this year.”
The Cowboys have placed in the top three at the 1A Colorado State Wrestling Championships the past four years, including a state championship two years ago, but Coach Watt expects defending state champion Rocky Ford to be the 1A favorite again this year.
“Rocky Ford returns a bunch of kids from last year, so they will be tough again but we’ll be competitive,” Coach Watt said.