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MEEKER I The Meeker Cowboy wrestling team appreciated the crowd support in their first home dual of the season and are hoping for more crowd support Friday when the defending state champion Paonia Eagles come to town.
“It was nice to have the great support from the community,” head coach J.C. Watt said of the large crowd attending the first home meet of the season.
In a new scheduling twist, the Meeker girls’ basketball team played and defeated Plateau Valley before the wrestling mat was placed in the middle of the court for five matches between Grand Valley and Meeker wrestlers.
Meeker’s J.C. Henderson (138), Kylloe Goedert (126) and Nick Burri (120) all won their matches, Henderson 16-2, Goedert and Burri by pin. Devon Pontine (160) and Aaron Cochran (132) both wrestled but lost. The match against Grand Valley was Cochran’s first match of the season.
Friday, the Cowboys traveled with 11 varsity and eight JV wrestlers to Vernal, Utah for the 41st annual Tournament of Champions, which featured more than 30 teams from three states and is wrestled on eight mats.
“It’s the toughest tournament we’ll go to all year,” head coach J.C. Watt said. “Everybody got a lot of mat experience against kids we don’t see often and that’s good.”
Pontine wrestled seven matches, won five and earned a seventh-place medal in his bracket.
Henderson and freshman Sheridan Harvey (106) also won five matches but lost three and finished eighth in their respective weights.
Meeker’s defending state champion T.J. Shelton (170), defeated two Utah defending state champions on his way to the championship match, where he lost 14-1 to senior Kimball Bastain of Maple Mountain. Bastain is also a defending state champion, a Cadet Nationals Greco-Roman champion and nationally ranked (seventh) at 170.
“We’re not at the level we want to be at yet but we are improving,” Watt said.
The Cowboys, who are currently ranked No. 2 in 2A, will host the No. 1 ranked defending state champion Paonia Eagles on Friday, with the entertainment starting at 6 p.m.
“We’re looking forward to the dual and looking forward to a big crowd to watch,” Watt said.