RANGELY | The Rangely Panther wrestling team started their opening weekend of competition Friday against region foes the Hayden Tigers. The Panthers had 11 matches including exhibition matches.
Sophomore Zane Varner came away with the only win, bumping up a weight class and beating his opponent by pin in the second period.
“I could see the team was very excited to start the season, we were just simply outmatched by older and more experienced wrestlers,” said head coach JC Chumacero.
The Panthers competed Saturday in Grand Junction at the Colorado Mesa University Maverick Duals.
“This was the first time I have brought a team to this tournament since I started coaching. We had five duals in total against Rifle, Ignacio, Paonia, Battle Mountain and Palisade.”
Varner and sophomore Byron Mackay got wins for the Panthers.
“At the mid-point of the tournament, the team started to seem sluggish and down until Mackay came out in a very explosive manner against his Paonia opponent,” Chumacero said. “Byron performed a beautiful suplex that seemed to have not only brought the team, but also the whole arena, to life. Byron came away with his first win of the season after that match.”
Varner has started his season out strong, only losing one match against his cousin from Palisade. He will go into next weekend with a 3-1 record.
A young team consisting mostly of freshmen and sophomores, the Panthers current roster is freshman Colton Stevens (113); sophomore Braxton Moore (126), sophomore Alex Black (138), freshman Sage Rhea (145), sophomore Zane Varner (145), freshman Kasen LeBleu (not listed); sophomore Brent Cantrell (160), senior Dalton Dembowski (220) and sophomore Byron Mackay, (HWT). Football season injuries have taken out seniors Tytus Coombs, Justin Rusher and Del Garner and junior Anthony Garner.
“We are all hoping to see these athletes return after the Christmas break,” Chumacero said.
The Panthers will continue their season this weekend in Soroco.
Special to the Herald Times