MEEKER I During the regular season, the Meeker High School wrestling team has always sought out the best competition to prepare them for the 2A regional and state tournaments, and this season was no different, as the Cowboys wrestled in the CMU Duals, the Warrior Classic, the Tournament of Champions and the Meeker Duals, which they hosted on Saturday—the last matches of the regular season.
After the final match was wrestled, the Cowboys had won all 16 duals they wrestled in during the season, but they will not have an undefeated wrestler, as Meeker’s three-time state champion, T.J. Shelton, lost his first match of the season.
The Cowboys defeated Cedaredge on Friday, then Steamboat Springs, Soroco, Rangely, Rifle and Glenwood Springs on Saturday.
It was Glenwood Springs’ defending 4A state champion Myles Wilson who gave Shelton his first loss of the season.
“It was a good, hard match,” Meeker head coach J.C. Watt said of Shelton’s 8-4 loss. “T.J. has never let losses negatively affect his attitude. Instead, he gets better by learning from his losses.”
Coach Watt was happy for Ty Gibson’s first win and he complimented, hard-wrestling freshman Tannen Kennedy.
“Ty won his first match ever,” coach Watt said of the junior 132-pounder. “Tannen lost three really close matches against tough kids and proved he can compete with bigger and older kids.”
Meeker did have four wrestlers win all of their matches wrestled last week, including Sheridan Harvey (120), his cousin, Casey Turner (152), senior Devon Pontine (182) and heavyweight Tyler Ilgen.
“Our team wrestled well and everyone won a match,” coach Watt said. “I think our kids are ready for the post season.”
The post season starts Friday in Brownson Arena, located on the campus of Colorado Mesa University at 1 p.m., when the Cowboys will compete in the Region 1, state-qualifying wrestling tournament, which features four of the top seven 2A teams in the state, according to On the Mat Rankings.
Meeker finished third in the regional tournament last year and second at state. The Cowboys are currently ranked third in 2A and they will be joined at the regional tournament by No. 4 Hotchkiss, No. 5 Norwood/Nucla and No. 7 Paonia in Grand Junction, where the top four wrestlers in each of the 14 weights will qualify for the 2016 Colorado State Wrestling Championships in Denver.
“There are some really solid teams in our region, and we expect to be in the top three,” coach Watt said. “It is more important how many we get to the state tournament.”