Three Cats traveling to Pepsi Center

Ignacio’s Dalton Mickey (top) drills with teammate Lorenzo Pena prior to Day 2 action at the 2A-Region I Championships, held at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. Pena ended up being one of three Bobcats qualifying for the 2016 CHSAA Class 2A State Championships.
Ignacio’s Lorenzo Pena squashes Norwood-Nucla’s Trenton Armintrout during their 2A-Region I encounter at 160 pounds. Armintrout managed to wriggle free and emerge the winner, but Pena also qualified for the 2016 CHSAA Class 2A State Championships by placing third.
Ignacio’s Timmy Plehinger can’t hear the referee’s pin signal quickly enough against Cedaredge’s Tristan Waddell during 2A-Region I action at 152 pounds. Plehinger prevailed, but had the bad luck of being a five-match rule casualty and was denied a chance to wrestle for fourth place – and thus a trip to the 2016 CHSAA Class 2A State Championships.
Ignacio head coach Jordan Larsen and assistant Cody Haga observe Day 2 action at the 2A-Region I Championships, held at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. The Bobcats will be sending three individuals to Denver for the 2016 CHSAA Class 2A State Championships.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Appenzeller, Beebe, Pena State-bound

Other than perhaps seeing regular unleaded gasoline as cheap as $1.42 per gallon – at, fittingly, a ‘Loco’ station – near the Colorado Mesa University campus, Jordan Larsen had to be most pleased by the fact that with only six entrants, Ignacio Wrestling still managed to place sixth at the Feb. 12-13 Class 2A-Region I Championships.

And even more so by the fact that three of his Bobcats qualified individually for the 2016 CHSAA State Championships (Feb. 18-20) in Denver, after there was a possibility that at least five might make it to Pepsi Center.

First-year junior Mark Kempinski II was the only grappler guaranteed not to go, after an unfortunate day one injury-default loss only 0:09 into his first consolation-bracket match with Rangely senior Kiki Ruiz at 170 pounds. But after being planted on his head and reportedly feeling effects down into his mid-torso, Kempinski appeared o.k. on day two and was inside Brownson Arena supporting his teammates.

Junior Dalton Mickey went 1-2 at 145 but was stopped short of the placing round via a 5-4 loss to Norwood-Nucla’s William Gabriel, to whom he’d lost at the previous Thursday’s San Juan Basin League Duals held inside IHS Gymnasium.

And after a first-round ‘bye’ junior Timmy Plehinger was an unlucky five-match rule casualty after pinning Paonia’s Anthony Felice (in an elapsed 4:57) on the consolation side and improving to 2-3 for the tournament.

Though he did take fifth place at 152 pounds, and though it certainly felt good to have taken revenge upon the Eagle freshman – who’d defeated him 14-9 after his own free pass into the quarterfinals – seeing RHS’ Nych DeLeon awarded fourth (and the Mile High City trip) without sweating was an undesired outcome.

Plehinger finished the season with a 26-13 record. Mickey ended up 20-12 and Kempinski 6-12.

Now the good news: senior Tyler Beebe and juniors Ethan Appenzeller and Lorenzo Pena are moving on, after having placed second, first and third, at their respective weights.

At 132 pounds, Beebe (33-10 prior to State) went 3-1 including a quality pin of Hotchkiss’ Colton DeLuzio 52 seconds into the third period in the semifinals. And though Dove Creek’s Case Baughman again managed to lead him on the scoreboard after six first-place minutes, Beebe’s 4-0 loss to the Bulldog – who’d topped him 8-4 at the SJBL’s – again indicated a closing of the gap between the two.

Victimized by Norwood-Nucla’s Trenton Armintrout 4-nil at the SJBL’s, Pena met his circuit rival in G.J. and was unfortunately pinned with 0:06 left in the second period. But bent on still another possible pairing inside Pepsi Center, Pena rebounded to finish his Region I run with three wins in four tries at 160. His last effort produced a 13-3 major-decision domination – and his 40th win this winter against only four losses – of Meeker’s Chase Rule.

Finally, N-N’s Aidan Dabal managed to go the distance with IHS’ Ethan Appenzeller after losing 9-2 in Ignacio, but again settled for second place after the Bobcat junior (34-1) prevailed 4-3 and completed a 3-0 march through the 138-pound division’s bracket after a first-round ‘bye.’

One victory came via forfeit over PHS’ Clay Campbell in the semis, after Andy Pipher elected to get his man some additional rest time after sustaining some Day 1 damage. Campbell then somehow managed to wrestle well enough in the consolation rounds and eventually was a by-rule, Denver-bound fourth-placer.

The Cats had been ranked No. 9 in the final On The Mat team poll before the event, and were joined at it by fellow top-tens Meeker (#2), Hotchkiss (#6) and Paonia (#7) to make for one of the state’s toughest regionals.

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