Ignacio 145-pounder Dustin Sanchez tags Bayfield's Tyler Conner with a well-placed, damaging cross-face to assert control during the teams' non-league dual inside IHS' auxiliary gymnasium on Friday, Jan. 29. Starting the event off with gusto, Sanchez executed a late takedown to take a shaky 10-9 lead before ultimately finishing Conner by pin with only 0:02.4 left in regulation.
Ignacio 138-pounder Ethan Appenzeller attempts a pin of Cedaredge's Colton Hoerr using a potent move known as a "guillotine" during the 2016 Butch Melton Memorial Invitational, Jan. 30 inside IHS Gymnasium. Appenzeller would win the weight class with a more conventional pin--shortly after this photo was taken--from on top 35 seconds into the second period.
Ignacio 160-pounder Lorenzo Pena swings a leg over the top of Bayfield's Macoy Michaeli during the 2016 Butch Melton Memorial Invitational's championship at the weight, Jan. 30 inside HIS Gymnasium. Pena prevailed to win by 10-2 major decision.
Ignacio 132-pounder Tyler Beebe plows into Dove Creek's Case Baughman, trying to plant the Bulldog on his back during the 2016 Butch Melton Memorial Invitational's championship at the weight. Beebe ultimately lost the bout 13-6.
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
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Grapplers grab fourth at Melton Invite

Two rule at, two saluted at home meet

Having seen two older, since-graduated brothers strive to prevail at the Butch Melton Memorial Invitational, Ignacio’s Lorenzo Pena could perceive how badly Tyler Beebe would have wanted a first-place medal.

“I think it’s pretty important to win this last tournament here in Ignacio,” said the standout junior inside IHS Gymnasium on Saturday, Jan. 30. “I don’t think you really want to get beat in your last home tournament … but I think everyone would like to get first in this!”

Having prepped to face 2A San Juan Basin League beast Case Baughman (Dove Creek) by destroying non-league 2A Cedaredge senior Wyatt Hamilton via an 18-2 technical fall in the 132-pound division’s semifinals, Beebe also budgeted some time to simply enjoy the event’s 2016 incarnation and unwound with a friendly rumble against inactive senior Wyatt Mickas.

“Being part of our team has been huge for him – and huge for the boys – in ways outside of wrestling, in character,” said head coach Jordan Larsen, who’d verbally saluted both individuals prior to the start of final-round action. “Giving the kid something to believe in … the rest of his life – he loves wrestling, like a convert! You can’t beat the enthusiasm of a convert, and he’s a full convert at this point!”

“He’s got special relationships with several boys on the team, along with Coach [Cody] Haga and myself and Coach [Jacob] Appenzeller … it’s just really cool to at least be able to distinguish him a little bit because he’s not always the kid who wins matches.”

“It’s an amazing feeling to … know you affected somebody’s life in such a positive way. So to be able to distinguish Tyler – especially with his performance today! – I thought it was beautiful for him and for all of us.”

And it took someone of Baughman’s caliber to finally slow Beebe’s roll.

After pinning three opponents all inside of 90 seconds during the weight’s pool-play phase and then handling Hamilton, Beebe braved Baughman for six hard minutes – Coaches Larsen and Appenzeller agreed it was his best head-to-head yet with the Bulldog senior – before succumbing on the scoreboard 13-6.

“I thought today we finished all of our matches – win, loss or draw – in high levels of intensity,” Larsen said. “Which is exactly what you want to see going into the regional tournament and state tournament.”

“Overall I would say we have started to find that element of ‘battle’ you want to see.”

And battle the Bobcats did, with Pena and junior Ethan Appenzeller bagging individual titles at 160 and 138 pounds, respectively, and IHS as a whole ending up in fourth place behind 3A Bayfield, 3A Pagosa Springs and first-place CHS (skippered by former Ignacio boss Bob Overturf).

“This is my first year doing really, really good, you know, and yesterday was kind of a bummer,” Appenzeller said, referring to the previous night’s close, non-league dual loss to BHS junior Ryan Nava in a clash of Class 2A’s top-ranked 138-pounder and 3A’s top-ranked 145. “I really wanted to do good today, so I’m pretty happy with the outcome, of course. Who wouldn’t be?”

Appenzeller went 5-0 on the day, including three pool-play pins and a 15-0 tech of PSHS’ Nick Talamante before he stuck CHS’ Colton Hoerr 35 ticks into the championship bout’s second period.

“At the beginning of the year we just worked skill and on doing that, and now we’re getting ready for State, having all the energy we can for last-second matches,” he said. “I definitely think we’re getting … to our peak.”

Named Upper Weight Outstanding Wrestler (Baughman was the Lower Weight O/W), Pena also was a dominant 5-0 at ‘The Melton’ beginning with a 20-5 education of 5A Aztec, New Mexico’s Zach Schmidt, ending with a 10-2 major decision over Bayfield junior Macoy Michaeli, and pinning three victims in between.

“That ‘peak’ is almost here – in the next week or two – and right before regionals is when we’ll hit it,” Pena said. “We all wrestled our best; all of our kids are putting it all out there – even our JV kids! Overall I think we all wrestled tough and did our best!”

“We’ve been doing practice at a pretty high level, you know, just trying to push ourselves and make ourselves better no matter who we’re wrestling in the room … always trying to push each other!” said junior Dalton Mickey, who went 4-1 and took third at 145 with a pin of Dolores’ Aiden Hopcia 1:58 into the second period.

Fellow Cat Dustin Sanchez finished eighth in the division after going 1-4 (one loss, an 18-2 tech fall, unfortunately came against Mickey), with the win a pin of BHS’ Tyler Conner 1:53 into the first period.

“There was a lot of good teams here, I believe, and there was some pretty tough matches; it was pretty equal on the brackets,” Mickey said. “I’m making progress as well as the whole team is, and we’re just trying to push ourselves and become better all-around athletes.”

Junior Timmy Plehinger went 3-2 at 152 and also finished in third place after final-round losses to eventual champ Dalton Lucero of PSHS (by an 8-3 margin) and runner-up Andrew Morgan of 2A Mancos (a 7-5 verdict). He was also Ignacio’s only other wrestler entered in the meet, with 113-pounder Stocker Robbins and 170-pounder Mark Kempinski also observing from the seats.

“He should be back before regionals. I mean, he said he will, so …,” Pena said hopefully of Robbins, resting an injured knee (inside which Robbins, a junior, said could be a damaged ligament and/or cartilage). “But I don’t want him to keep getting hurt; there’s always next year! I know he’ll win [the Invitational] next year!”

Ethan Appenzeller said the team has been doing pretty good despite having a short squad.

Larsen said, tongue-in-cheek, “It’s never as crisp as you want to see – at this point – but have we stepped up every single practice every single day to get to where we’re at now? Yes. And if we continue to make those stair-steps for the next two weeks, three weeks, we have good chances at State and regionals.”

The 2A-Region I Championships are set for Feb. 12-13 at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, with each weight class sending its top four wrestlers to the 2016 CHSAA State Championships (2/18-20) in Denver. Results from the IHS-hosted SJBL Championships, Feb. 4, were unavailable by the Drum’s deadline.



106 – Tyrone Abeita (Farmington, N.M., Piedra Vista); 113 – Brandon Ward (Dolores); 120 – Blake Nation (Cedaredge); 126 – Jacob Ostrom (Cedaredge); 132 – Case Baughman (Dove Creek); 138 – ETHAN APPENZELLER (IGNACIO); 145 – Ryan Nava (Bayfield); 152 – Dalton Lucero (Pagosa Springs); 160 – LORENZO PENA (IGNACIO); 170 – Zach Anderson (Cedaredge); 182 – Chance McReynolds (Pagosa Springs); 195 – Tre’ LaBossiere (Cedaredge); 220 – Anthony Antuna (Cedaredge); Hwt – Sam Westbrook (Bayfield).


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