Fri Mar 4th, 2016
Special to the Drum
Appenzeller finishes second at 138
Standing with a former State Champion (older brother Jacob) during the Parade of Champions, and listening to instructions from another former State Champion (head coach Jordan Larsen) and his assistant (Cody Haga), who’d ended his Ignacio career with a third-place podium finish, IHS’ Ethan Appenzeller had about as much CHSAA State Wrestling Championships knowledge from which to reference as a grappler could want.
And after having pinned Limon junior Braden Kappel in 1 minute, 33 seconds, dominated Rocky Ford junior Cody Venem by 11-0 major decision and stuck Ordway Crowley County senior Rigan Pfeiff in only 1:35 of the semifinal’s first period, it had appeared the Bobcat junior had done precisely that as he earned his shot at No. 1 seed Britton Holmes of Peyton for the Class 2A, 138-pound title Saturday night, Feb. 20, in Denver.
Seeded No. 2 in the bracket, Appenzeller overcame an early Holmes takedown with an escape and a flooring of Holmes just before the first period expired to take a 3-2 lead. Holmes tied the score with a second-period escape, then unfortunately scored a three-point near-fall in the third after Appenzeller started in the down position.
Appenzeller managed an escape after Holmes’ best opportunity, but was unable to bring the Panther junior to the mat one last time before the regulation six minutes ran out and lost 6-5, ending his season with a 37-2 record as Holmes’ improved to 43-2.
However, the Cats enjoyed a higher placing in the standings when all was said and done inside Pepsi Center; Appenzeller’s runner-up showing, plus junior Lorenzo Pena’s third at 160 and senior Tyler Beebe’s fifth at 132 amounted to 56 points and a healthy 11th-place status, while PHS managed only 35.5 and settled for 16th.
Powered by the 19th four-time State Champion in state history, senior 170-pounder T.J. Shelton, Meeker clipped RFHS 143-142 to win the team championship. Helped by 170 runner-up Chris Martin, La Jara Centauri was a close third with 132, with Paonia (107) and Buena Vista (88) rounding out the top five.
Pena began by pinning Manzanola junior Ryan Saine 1:31 into the second period, then stuck Akron senior Tyler Hottinger 36 ticks into the second. But against BVHS senior Sabyn Diamond, the 160’s No. 1 seed, in the semifinals, Pena’s run towards a state title came to a halt underneath the Demon – who did go on to top the podium – only 65 seconds in.
Recovering with a vengeance, Pena then pinned Wray freshman Carlos Tarin in 1:54, then took third place 4-0 over MHS junior Chase Rule to finish the 2015-16 winter an imposing 44-5.
Beebe started off pinning Center junior Erik Perez 42 seconds into the third period, but then lost to Holly senior Brendon Crum 4-2 in the quarterfinals. On the backside of the bracket, Beebe pinned Yuma junior Spencer Holtorf and defeated Hotchkiss junior Colton DeLuzio 7-1 before losing 11-8 to Centauri sophomore Brandon Buhr.
Still not yet finished, Beebe then defeated Sedgwick County (Julesburg/Ovid Revere)-Fleming senior Keith Graham 5-2 to close out his last season an impressive 37-12 overall (Graham ended up 40-7).
CLASS 2A TEAM STANDINGS
1.Meeker 143, 2.Rocky Ford 142, 3.La Jara Centauri 132, 4.Paonia 107, 5.Buena Vista 88, 6.Ault Highland 83, 7.Ordway Crowley County 78.5, 8.Hotchkiss 75, 9.Walsenburg John Mall 73.5, 10.Sedgwick County (Julesburg/Ovid Revere)-Fleming 67, 11.IGNACIO 56, 12.Akron 51.5, 13.Limon 51, 14.Norwood-Nucla 48, 15.Cedaredge 41, 16.Peyton 35.5, 17.Fowler 33, T-18.Holly & Monte Vista 32, 20.Eads 31, 21.Stratton 30.5, 22.Yuma 26, 23.Wray 23.5, 24.Hayden 23, 25.Oak Creek Soroco 22, 26.McClave 21, T-27.Baca County & Wiggins 20, 29.Merino 18, T-30.Del Norte/Dolores/Dove Creek 17, 33.Kiowa 13, T-34.Mancos & Kremmling West Grand 11, 36.Burlington 9.5, T-37.Westcliffe Custer County & Manzanola 7, T-39.Hanover & Lyons 6, T-41.Las Animas & Rye 3, 43.Holyoke 2, 44.Rangely 1. (Not scoring: Byers, Calhan, Center, Cheyenne Wells, Saguache Mountain Valley, Sanford, Blanca Sierra Grande-San Luis Centennial, Simla.)