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MEEKER — Six of eight varsity wrestlers placed in the top six at the regional tournament but only Cowboy seniors Jared Doll and Matt Moody qualified for the 2009 Colorado State Wrestling Championships, also know as the “big show,” which features all classifications. The big show is held at the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver and starts today at 3 p.m.
“I thought we were going to get more, but we had a couple of tough rounds Saturday where we lost some matches we probably shouldn’t have,” head coach Joe Gutierrez said of the regional tournament.
Moody won the consolation championship and will represent the Cowboys in the 112-pound bracket this weekend in Denver.
“I hope he puts everything together and wrestles like I know he can,” Gutierrez said of the senior, who finished fourth at state as a sophomore for the Cowboys.
Doll had to wrestle-back to advance to the state tournament after a fifth place finish in the 135-pound class. Doll challenged Cody Rapke, who finished fourth and beat the Paonia wrestler to qualify for another trip to the state tournament.
“Jared earned his trip the hard way,” Gutierrez said. “I hope he gets a couple of breaks and brings home a medal.” Doll was one match away from the medal round in last year’s big show.
“With both Matt and Jared being over there (state tournament) before, I don’t think the atmosphere will affect them as much and hopefully they step up, wrestle tough and reach the goals they’ve set for themselves.”
Meeker senior Aaron Webster lost to the eventual champion, Coy Letlow, of Hayden, and finished fifth, for a third year in a row at the regional tournament, one place away from qualifying.
“I feel bad for Aaron, he worked hard this year, he wrestled Letlow close before, he just couldn’t quite get into the right mindset to just go out and beat him.”
Meeker’s only junior Pat Love and sophomore Joel Nix did not place in the 152- and 140-pound weight classes respectively.
“It was unfortunate Pat’s last match was this weekend,” Gutierrez said. “Pat missed a year of high school wrestling and it makes a big difference, especially in the upper weights and this was Joel’s first year of wrestling. Hopefully they both do some catching up during the off season.”
Freshmen Ean Barrow (119) and Christopher Ruckman (171) both finished fifth in their respective weights and classmate Collin Cochran was sixth at 160.
Gutierrez was pleased with the underclassmen, which also included freshmen Justin Hardy (152) and Ethan Overton (171) and sophomore William Begaye.
“They have all come a long way and it’s been fun to watch them,” Gutierrez said. “Hopefully they all learn from their experience and continue to improve. We will take them all to the state tournament, hopefully it will make them hungry to come back and make some noise next year.”
Gutierrez wanted to thank Ted and Jo Ann Ruckman for allowing the team to say at their house in Grand Junction and to Nikki Stout for help keeping the brackets.