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MEEKER | The Cowboys entered a varsity wrestler in each of the 14 brackets of the Warrior Classic and three placed in the always-competitive pre-Christmas wrestling tournament in Grand Junction last weekend. The Cowboys will open the 2017 portion of the season at the Tournament of Champions in Vernal, Utah.
“We had a full team and nine advanced to the second day, which is certainly positive but we are still a little flat,” Meeker head coach J.C. Watt said of his varsity team’s performance in the Warrior Classic.
“We are finally getting into a groove but it has been a struggle to get there. It is one of the reasons we go to tougher tournaments though, we know they will make us better.”
Nine Cowboys advanced into Saturday’s action and 11 won at least one match. Three of Meeker’s big men were able to survive the brutal rounds Saturday and earn medals in their respective weights. Senior Caleb Bradford placed fourth in the 195-pound bracket, Chase Rule was fifth at 182 and Tyler Ilgen wrestled seven matches and finished sixth in the heavyweight division.
Bradford won three of five matches, all by pin fall and Ilgen won four, three by pin fall, while Rule also won three matches, including two by pin fall.
Meeker sophomores Jacob Pelloni (113), Tannen Kennedy (126) and Hunter Garcia also won three matches, all recording two pins each but finishing one round short of placing in their respective weights.
Senior Sheridan Harvey recorded two pins in the 138-pound bracket and junior Garrett Frantz had one in the 132-pound division.
Meeker freshman Colton Wille (106), Jake Shelton (170) and Ridge Williams (220) all wrestled in the Warrior Classic for the first time and all of them won a match, while first-year wrestler Christian Wilson (120) and seniors Ty Gibson (145) and Josh Cochran (160) all wrestled two matches.
“Caleb and Tannen both had great tournaments, they are the two varsity wrestlers in the room that did not play football and you can tell,” Coach Watt said of their wrestling condition. “Chase, Tyler and Jacob all wrestled well and had good tournaments too.”
Coach Watt hopes to have defending state champion Casey Turner, who is healing from a football injury, back in the line up after the first of the year.
“It will be very good to have Casey back,” Coach Watt said of the senior Cowboy. “It’s hard on him to spectate but we’ll get him back full strength and it will be nice to have his leadership in the room.”