Four Panther wrestlers headed to state

RANGELY I This weekend the Rangely wrestling team competed in their regional wrestling tournament where the top four placers qualify for “the big show” over in Denver. 

“The team had a very impressive showing placing fifth as a team, seven individual placers, four state qualifiers, and two regional champions,” commented head coach JC Chumacero. Freshman Aydan Christian, Landon Carlson, and Izaiah Moody competed in their first ever regional tournament. 

“All three of these guys really impressed me, especially considering all three of them wrestled up a weight class from where they should have been,” said Chumacero. 

At 113 pounds Christian went 2-2 and was able to secure a fifth place finish, but unfortunately there was no chance for a wrestle back. 

Carlson (120) and Moody (138) came up short of wins. “It’s hard as a freshman as there is no seeding criteria for them,” commented Chumacero. “Both of these young men had tough draws right off the bat facing off against top seeds. The freshman impressed me and have nothing to hang their heads about, and they never complained all season.” 

JR Colton Stevens (126) and Brent Cantrell (170) also came up short of wins this weekend. “Both of these gentlemen put their all into this sport and always work so hard,” said Chumacero. “I’m truly going to miss senior Brent Cantrell. He put all his effort into the sport and always knew how to put a smile on the team’s and coaches faces.” 

Seniors Braxton Moore (145) and Alex Black (160) were both able to come away with fifth place finishes. Wrestle backs were not available in both of these weights. Moore finished his weekend 2-2 and wrestled hard to get that spot in the podium. Black finished strong with a 3-2 finish. 

“This was only his third year wrestling so it’s pretty impressive to get on the podium on that stage with his level of experience,” commented Chumacero. 

Sophomore Kobey Chism (132) had a very stacked and full weight. He went 4-2 and battled hard to get himself into the fourth place spot and qualify himself for the state tournament. 

“He hasn’t had it easy all season,” said Chumaero. 

Junior Kasen LeBleu went 1-1 on the weekend and was able to secure a third place finish qualifying him for the big show. 

“He turned it on at the perfect time as that should help his seeding in the state bracket,” commented Chumacero. 

Senior Zane Varner (152) finished his weekend 4-0 and regional champion. 

“Varner looked scary this weekend as he pinned his way through the regional tournament, said Chumacero. “He left no question this weekend and it will really help his seeding at the state tournament.”

Senior Byron Mackay finished 2-0 and was also a regional champion. 

“He pinned in the finals leaving no doubt, and I am so proud of the entire team for sticking out a tough and grueling season,” wrapped up Chumacero. “This sport isn’t easy and for all these young men to stick it out and grind everyday is a huge accomplishment. They all finished strong and now we continue to work towards bigger goals to those who qualified.”

Colorado High School State Wrestling Championships will be televised via the NFHS Network and for class 2A begins at 12 p.m. on Thursday. 

Special to the Herald Times