Panthers find tough competition at Tournament of Champions

RANGELY | Things did not work out for the Rangely wrestling program to host the Vern Rose Memorial tournament, instead, the Panthers entered the Tournament of Champions in Vernal, Utah, and found the competition.

“We got humbled this weekend in the Tournament of Champions,” Rangely head coach J.C. Chumacero said.

Only two Panthers won matches in the varsity tournament Friday but several won matches in the “Second Chance” and JV tournaments held Saturday. If a varsity wrestler is eliminated Friday, they can enter the “Second Chance” tournament to get more mat experience.

Rangely junior Tytus Coombs, who entered the Tournament of Champions undefeated, won two matches and lost two matches Friday, then won two more matches in the second chance bracket.

Freshman Zane Varner won his first match Friday then was eliminated from the 145-pound varsity bracket but he came back to win two matches Saturday.

“Some guys struggle in big tournaments and we need to figure out how to break Tytus of this,” Coach Chumacero said. “Zane simply lets his emotions get the best of him, he just needs to learn to take a big breath and wrestle smart.”

Coach Chumacero said Justin Rusher (152) and Dontea Pearce (170) “came up short of getting a win Friday,” but both came back with “an attitude” Saturday and earned wins in the second chance.

Braxton Moore (106), Anthony Gardner (132), Brent Cantrell (160) and Dalton Dembowski (195), all “came up short of wins but continue to wrestle well and continue to improve,” Chumacero said.

“I also wanted to thank all of the wrestling parents who put so much work into our home tournament, which unfortunately got cancelled,” coach Chumacero said. “They all had so much planned, I hope to get us a home tournament next year.”

The Panthers will compete in the Rifle duals Saturday.

“This will be new for us but I expect us to start seeing what kind of wrestlers we will be as the season is nearing an end,” Chumacero said.

By BOBBY GUTIERREZ | Special to the Herald Times