Panthers put on hometown show

Junior Brent Cantrell (170) will join Panther teammates at the regional wrestling tournament in Meeker this Friday and Saturday. Livestreaming details for viewing are at the bottom of this post. | MATT SCOGGINS PHOTO

RANGELY | This weekend the Panther wrestling team hosted its first home wrestling dual of the year competing against Dove Creek, Nucla and North Park.

“Last weekend against Meeker I felt the men were lacking intensity,” commented head coach JC Chumacero, “but they had a really good week and practiced hard. You could tell they were ready for their home showing and they showed the crowd how hard they have been working.” The Panther wrestling team defeated all three teams by points and out wrestled each team. Nucla and North Park combined for the night since they had such few wrestlers.

“This made us match up pretty good for the first dual of the night,” said Chumacero.

Colton Stevens at 126 pounds, Kasen LeBleu (220), and Jaxon Torsell (195) came up short of wins for the night but all wrestled “really well.” commented Chumacero. LeBleu and Torsell both wrestled the same guy. Cordell from North Park who is currently ranked seventh in the state.

“They wrestled him tough,” began Chumacero, “a few adjustments and I believe it would have been a much closer match for both of them.

Kobey Chism (132), Braxton Moore (145), Anthony Garner (182), Brent Cantrell (170) and Alex Black (145) all defeated their opponent by pin. Junior Zane Varner (currently ranked sixth in the state at 152) once again jumped up a weight to 160 in order to get a match. He came away with a pin and added another victory against Dove Creek. Varner will be the only Panther to enter regionals with an undefeated record.

The Panthers ended the night facing off against Dove Creek, wrestling only six matches. Rangely out–wrestled the Bulldogs winning four out of the six. Stevens and Black came up short of a win but wrestled close competitive matches. Chism, Varner, Cantrell and Pena all defeated sophomore Pena at 170 pounds.

“Pena’s pin was a highlight for the team as he finished the night with a pin for the Panthers,” said Chumacero.

This was Pena’s second win of the year.

“This is a huge accomplishment for this young man,” commented Chumacero, “It’s hard to come into high school and be a first time wrestler. He has handled it very well!”

Unfortunately junior Byron Mackay was unable to get a match due to the other teams not having anyone in his weight.

The Panthers hosted a “parent night” where the young men got to recognize their families for all they do and support them. Chumacero would like “to thank all the parents for supporting their kids and the entire wrestling program.”

As the regular season comes to an end, the Panther wrestling team plans to hit the room hard and prepare for the regional tournament.

“I feel the young men are peaking at the right time,” said Chumancero, “It’s going to be tough to qualify for the big show this year as they are only taking the top two instead of the top four and the consolation side of the bracket is very limited. We will not use this as an excuse. I know they plan to wrestle hard and give everything they have into the postseason.”

This year’s Panther regional wrestling team is Stevens at 120, Chism (126), Black (145) Varner (152), Cantrell (170), Jaxson Torsell (185), LeBleu (220), Mackay (285).

Regionals will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Friday and 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. See the inset above for further info on attendance. You can also view livestreams of the competition on the Meeker High School and Barone Middle School Facebook pages.

2A Region 1 Wrestling Tournament
Meeker High School
March 5-6, 2021

Friday, March 5, 2:30 p.m.

Mat #1 – Live Broadcast on
Weights: (106, 113, 120, 145)
Mat #2 – Live Broadcast on
Weights: (126, 132, 138)

Saturday, March 6, 11:30 a.m.

Mat #1 – Live Broadcast on
Weights: (170, 195, 220, 285)
Mat #2 – Live Broadcast on
Weights: (152, 160, 182)

By TIFFANY JEHOREK – Special to The Herald Times