IJHS Cats swarm state mats, placing 95th of 380

Ignacio Junior High's wrestling program qualified an impressive nine for the 2013 Colorado Middle School State Championships

Ignacio Junior High’s wrestling program not only captured a third league title this season, but also qualified an impressive nine for the 2013 Colorado Middle School State Championships held March 29-30 in Denver. Back row (left to right): Ethan Appenzeller (8th grade, 115 lbs.), Lexis Velasquez (8th, 145), Lorenzo Pena (8th, 135), Stocker Robbins (8th, 100), Dalton Mickey, Nathan Atencio (7th, 95). Front row: Hunter Robbins (6th, 80), Lawrence Valdez (6th, 70), Tony Diaz (6th, 70), Lewis Valdez (6th, 75).

Arriving at the National Western Complex in Denver, site of competitions of all sorts, fans can grin at the fact its parent street, Humboldt, sounds like “humbled.”

But wrestlers of all ages who enter its doors know that if they’re not prepared mentally and physically, humbled is what they’ll become.

Following the program’s third league title running, nine Ignacio Junior High grapplers earned the right to scrap at the fifth annual Colorado Middle School State Championships, held March 29-30 inside the Mile High City’s historic venue.

But with 379 other squads sending their best – decided through a six-regional system – all brackets containing Cats were deep with talent.

And when all was said and done, IJHS finished tied for 95th overall in the standings, which included both straight-up mid-school rosters as well as “all-star” clubs, such as champions Pomona Elite (246 points) and runners-up Predator Wrestling (240 points) of Greeley.

Loveland Walt Clark Middle’s Cougars were third overall, but topped the mid-school table with their 204. Pueblo-based Steel City Elite followed with 176.5, and Colorado Springs Cheyenne Mountain Junior High’s Thunderbirds (174.5) took fifth (but were the mid-school runners-up).

At 145 pounds, eighth-grader Lexis Velasquez qualified heaviest amongst IJHS’ entrants, but went 1-2 and did not place. Classmate Lorenzo Pena made weight at 135, and went 4-2 to finish a solid fourth – losing to La Junta Growler Wrestling’s William Tyler by pin in 1:31 in his last match.

Eighth-grader Ethan Appenzeller started well with three wins at 115 pounds to reach the semifinals, but lost his last three – including to WC’s Jacob Grudle – to finish sixth.

Eighth-grader Stocker Robbins checked in at 100 pounds, and also raced out with three wins before losing. His state record rebounded to 4-2 but that second loss landed him in the seventh-place match against Brighton Wrestling’s Dessmond Prospero. A result was not shown on the bracket posted online.

Seventh-grader Nathan Atencio qualified at 95 pounds, but went 1-2 and did not place. Sixth-grader Hunter Robbins competed at 80 pounds, and went 2-2 but did not place after being eliminated by Bayfield Middle’s Garrett Beebe.

Sixth-grader Lewis Valdez wrestled amid the 75-pounders and went 0-2, while classmates Lawrence Valdez and Tony Diaz both made the 70s – the latter ending 0-2 and the former 2-2.

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