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RANGELY I The Rangely Panthers wrestling team first traveled west to Altamont, Utah, for two dual meets before turning around and heading east across Colorado to wrestle Wray in a dual, before competing in the Bob Smith Invitational on Saturday.
With only six varsity wrestlers on the team, the Panthers did not win any of the dual meets, but they placed fourth as a team in the tournament, placing five of their six wrestlers in the top three, including two champions.
“It was a long couple of days for us traveling in a small bus, more than 1,100 miles round trip,” head coach Jeff Heinle said. “We had a lot of good wrestling, meeting quality wrestlers all the way from Duchesne, Utah, to St. Francis, Kan., and in between.”
The Panthers lost to Altamont (48-24), Duchesne beat them 51-21 and Rangely lost to Wray 48-18, but the Panthers won the majority of the matches wrestled in the duals.
“We lost our duals by points but we won all three in the head-to-head matches,” Heinle said. “We came out of this weekend with a head of steam going into the long break.”
Heath Peters (132) and Caleb Lawson (145) won by decision against Altamont and Ryan Barlow won by pin. Lucas Heinle (152) and Ethan Allred (170) both won by forfeit and Ryan Wilczek (195) lost. Nych DeLeon wrestled a JV match at 145 and pinned his opponent.
Against Duchesne, Lawson won again by decision, Heinle and Wilczek both pinned their opponents, Allred won by forfeit, while Peters and Barlow lost.
Rangely then traveled back and across Colorado to the eastern slope to dual the Wray Eagles on Friday before wrestling in the prestigious 51st Annual Bob Smith Invitational on Saturday.
“We met a lot of teams we won’t see until the state tournament, like Calhan, Kiowa, Merino, Sedgwick County/Fleming, Stratton, Wray, Yuma and St. Francis, Kan.,” Coach Heinle said. “Given a different day, the results could have been different, but we were hitting on almost all cylinders last weekend.
Heath Peters started the wins for the Panthers, winning by technical fall (19-4) in the first round, then defeated Jacs Fox, a senior from Stratton with a 10-1 major decision before winning the 132-pound championship with a 10-3 decision over David Ruiz of Wray.
Allred wrestled in a six-man round robin, and, although he was caught and pinned in the first round, he pinned opponents from Calhan, Sedgwick County/Fleming, Yuma and then he pinned Cade Shultz of Wray in the final round to win the gold medal at 170.
Lawson advanced to the championship match and finished second at 145. Heinle and Wilczek did not make the finals, but both came back after losses to finish as consolation champions in their respective weights.
Barlow won two matches but did not place. Neither did DeLeon.
“We met a lot of good wrestlers and it was good to get away from wrestling the same teams over and over,” Coach Heinle said. “It was good for our team to see new faces, and we were treated exceptionally well with eastern Colorado hospitality.”