Panthers qualify seven wrestlers for the “big show”

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RANGELY — The Panther wrestling team competed in the western regional tournament last Friday and Saturday at Grand Junction High School and qualified seven wrestlers for the 2008 Colorado State Wrestling Championships in the Pepsi Center, starting today.
“We wrestled well for the most part but we also lost some very big matches,” head coach Jeff LeBleu said.
Devon Rose continues to pile up tournament titles at 103. Rose won the regional tournament and is currently ranked second in 2A by On the Mat Rankings.
At 112, Ryan Petty wrestled a very good tournament placing third and at 119 J.C. Chumacero was one match away from advancing to Denver.
Stephan Boleng won a couple of matches and lost a couple of matches in the 125-pound bracket. Boleng had a wrestle back challenge and lost in overtime to advance to the state tournament. At 130, freshman Brandon Gray had a tough go, going 0-2 in the tournament.
Travis Witherell advanced to the finals before being defeated by the No. 1 ranked kid in the state at 135. Witherell is currently ranked second.
Freshman Cole Barlow placed fourth at 140 and wrestled a very good tournament, although he lost his wrestle back challenge in overtime.
Ryan Cramer advanced to the “big show” placing fourth at 145. Cramer is currently ranked eighth in the state.
Christian Holcomb placed second at 152 and advanced to the state tournament. Holcomb is currently ranked fourth. Keane Raley will also be wrestling in Denver with a fourth place finish in the 160-pound bracket and is currently ranked seventh.
Nick Halcomb advanced to the finals but lost a hard fought match in the finals of the 171-pound bracket, to the No.1 ranked kid 10-8. Halcomb is currently ranked second.
Mike Dillon placed sixth at 189, in the tournament.
The Panthers finished third as a team behind champion Paonia and runner up Grand Valley.
“I would like to thank the parents and those of you who traveled and supported our team this season,” LeBleu said. “I also want to apologize to the region, Rangely High School, the fans and the community for the behavior of one of my wrestlers. His actions are not what this team is about. We do strive for good sportsmanship. If we win, we win like champions; if we lose we should lose like champions.”
The first round starts at 3 p.m, today, Feb.21.