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MEEKER I “We improved from the previous week,” Meeker wrestling coach J.C. Watt said of his team’s fourth-place finish at the Delta Invitational on Saturday. Watt hopes his team continues to improve this week, because for the first time in several years, the Cowboys have been invited back to the Warrior Classic.
Meeker filled 12 of 14 varsity brackets and two junior varsity Cowboys also entered the Delta Invitational, where 10 placed in the top six, including three champions.
“We had some kids (Sheridan Harvey, Anthony Watt, Casey Turner and T.J. Shelton) move down a weight and it helped, but I think everybody looked better and wrestled better than the week before,” he said.
Meeker advanced five into the championship match, three into the consolation finals and two wrestled for fifth place.
Harvey, Turner and Shelton dominated their opponents and won gold medals. Harvey (113) pinned Colton Godwin of Paonia in the championship match, Turner (152) pinned three opponents, controlled the championship match to win 5-2, and Shelton (170) recorded two pins, a technical fall (15-0) and beat Kory Mills of Delta 9-1 in the finals.
Meeker senior Tristin Pelloni (126), a state runner-up last year, advanced to the finals but lost 1-3 to three-time defending state champion Jesse Reed of Paonia and classmate Anthony Watt (145) lost 7-4 to Gunner Chesnik of Paonia.
Meeker junior Dillon Frantz entered the tournament as a junior varsity wrestler at 160 behind teammate Jake Henderson, and although he did not score team points, Frantz still brought home the bronze medal, as did Tyler Ilgen in the heavyweight bracket. Meeker sophomore Caleb Bradford also wrestled well and finished fourth at 182.
Meeker sophomores Josh Cochran (138) and Hunter Garcia, who was wrestling junior varsity at 145 each finished sixth in their respective brackets.
Freshmen Jacob Pelloni (106), Garrett Frantz (120) and Henderson, a junior, did not place.
Coach Watt said he has asked to be invited to the competitive Warrior Classic, the past two years and is excited about the opportunity to coach in his first “Warrior” this week.
“It’s a tough tournament,” Watt said of the pre-Christmas classic. “Our kids should win some matches and we have some who could place.”
The Warrior Classic will be held at Colorado Mesa University.