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RANGELY I More than 140 wrestlers from 12 different schools in Colorado and Utah competed in the Panther Invitational last Saturday and the Panthers crowned three champions. The Panthers also hosted a triangular the night before the tournament and defeated the Olathe Pirates by one point but lost to Steamboat Springs by six.
“We had a lot of good matches last weekend,” head coach Jeff Heinle said.
Only seven wrestlers competed in the tournament and more than half placed in the top four, including three champions. Panther junior Lucas Heinle won the 145-pound bracket, while seniors Colton Coombs was the champion at 160 and Drew Collins won the title in the 195-pound bracket.
“Our upperclassmen are taking charge and things are coming together,” Heinle said.
Sophomore Ethan Allred finished fourth in the 152-pound bracket and Caleb Lawson was one match away from placing at 138. Taran Smedley won a match at 120 and Ryan Barlow was 0-2 in the 126-pound bracket. Heinle said Heath Peters and Jesse Odom were both “under the weather and not able to compete.”
“Even only having seven wrestlers, we were able to pull out a sixth place team finish,” Heinle said.
Last Friday in the triangular, the Panthers beat Olathe 27-26 but lost to Steamboat Springs 22-28.
Heinle, Allred and Collins all pinned their Olathe opponents, Coombs earned six team points from a forfeit and Lawson won 7-5 to give the Panthers a one-point team victory.
Against the Sailors, Lawson was the only Panther to pin his opponent, Heinle won 15-5, while Coombs and Collins pulled out close wins, 8-5 and 8-6 respectively.
“We are still putting the little things together but it is starting to show the closer we get to the end of the season, how important it is to finish every move in every match,” Heinle said.
The Panthers will compete in the dual meet tournament this Saturday in Steamboat.