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RANGELY I More than 150 wrestlers from 13 schools competed in the inaugural Vern Rose Memorial wrestling tournament in Rangely on Saturday, and all six varsity Panthers advanced to the championship round.
“The tournament was a success,” Rangely head coach Jeff Heinle said.
Teams were placed into pools and each wrestled three duals, from which the No. 1 wrestlers from each pool wrestled for the championship in a four-man bracket. A four-man bracket was also used for the No. 2 and No. 3 wrestlers from each pool, giving wrestlers two more matches.
“It ran a little longer than we had anticipated, but the wrestlers got the mat time we were trying for,” Heinle said. “We will take the suggestions from other coaches and officials and try to refine the format to shorten the day.”
Varsity and JV wrestlers from Vernal and Duchesne, Utah, North Park, Oak Creek, Hayden, Meeker, Grand Junction Central, Palisade, Fruita, Glenwood Springs, Olathe and Rangely participated. Meeker won the tournament with 133.5 points, Hayden finished second and Rangely finished fifth.
Rangely’s Heath Peters was a runner-up in the 132-pound bracket and was the Panthers’ highest placer. Caleb Lawson (145), Lucas Heinle (152) and Ryan Wilczek (195) all finished as consolation champs. Nych DeLeon (138) and Ethan Allred (160) placed fourth. Kiki Ruiz won two of five matches during the tournament.
“I would like to give a huge thank-you to all of the volunteers, officials, coaches and spectators for making the tournament the success that it was,” coach Heinle said.
The Panthers will wrestle in Steamboat Springs on Saturday and wrestle in Ignacio Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.