Thu Jan 19th, 2017
Special to the Drum
Tags: Bobcats, CHSAA State Championships, Dalton Mickey, Ethan Appenzeller, joel priest, Lillywhite Gymnasium, Lorenzo Pena, Mel Smith Husky Invitational, Pablo Garcia, Rocky Mountain Invitational, Stocker Robbins, Timmy Plehinger-Williams
Appenzeller leads way, places second
Glad to be back after a December practice-room injury, Ignacio’s Timmy Plehinger-Williams began the New Year pinning 5A Kirtland, N.M., Central’s Kordell Dryden at Pagosa Springs’ Rocky Mountain Invitational, only to then lose to 5A Aztec (N.M.) standout Austin Littlefield – eventually the RMI’s 152-pound champ – in the quarterfinals.
Unluckily destined to drop his first match on the bracket’s dreaded left side, the senior and his fellow revenge-minded Bobcats had originally been scheduled to dual the Tigers their next time out, but the January 12 trip to Lillywhite Gymnasium was hastily scrubbed.
And though weather concerns were the primary reason, with IHS – ranked eighth by On The Mat in that day’s updated Class 2A team poll – hoping to outhustle a predicted snowstorm to their weekend destination in central Colorado, the cancelation was probably for the best; the Cats would need all the energy they could muster for the two-day Mel Smith Husky Invitational.
As one of only two 2A crews (Del Norte the other) present at the 32-team gathering in Florence, goings were about as tough as could be expected at a meet considered a CHSAA State Championships preview, particularly for 2A and 3A teams, and Ignacio – minus a couple regulars – finished 31st with 32.5 points. With 34 points, DNHS ended up 30th.
With individual champions at 160, 195 and 220 pounds, as well as the runner-up at 182 and fifth-placer at 220, Colorado Springs Cheyenne Mountain – ranked fifth in OTM’s Jan. 12 Class 4A poll – piled up 177 points to better second-place Canon City’s 158. Gilcrest-based Valley (No. 2 in 3A) amassed 156.5 to take third, with La Jara Centauri (No. 3 in 3A) fourth at 132.5 and La Junta (No. 4 in 3A) fifth at 125.
Earning the lion’s share (24 points) of the Bobcats’ collective score, No. 2-ranked 145-pounder Ethan Appenzeller was the only team member to place in the top six at any weight, but was unable to squeak out a third straight close decision and fell 3-2 to VHS senior Aaron Trujillo (No. 5 in 3A) in the championship.
It was Appenzeller’s first loss of the 2016-17 season against 21 victories, while also Trujillo’s 21st win against two defeats. Also leaving the Mel Smith having secured his 21st win, CCHS junior Zac Hanenberg (21-3) defeated Centauri junior Brandon Buhr (22-8) 5-1 in the third-place match.
Hanenberg had lost 2-1 to Appenzeller in the semifinals, after Appenzeller – who’d beaten Buhr for first at PSHS – edged 3A Denver Mullen’s Dimitris Flores 3-1 in the quarters. Appenzeller’s first two foes weren’t as fortunate; 4A Montrose’s Wyatt Hughes and 3A Bennett’s Mason Wakeham lost by pin in 1:05 and 4:32, respectively.
After receiving a first-round bye beginning the Invitational at 160 – where he was OTM’s No. 1 in Class 2A, despite losing to 5A Bloomfield, New Mexico’s Avery Scott in the RMI’s finale – senior Lorenzo Pena received his second loss this winter as 3A Eaton’s Connor Moos held on to win 8-7 in Round 2.
Pena recovered with gusto, pinning VHS’ Alex Camacho in 1:31, but then dipped to 19-3 overall after being eliminated by unsportsmanlike-conduct disqualification against 3A Monte Vista’s Jacob Chavez.
Dalton Mickey went 0-2 at 170 after also receiving a first-round bye, and 182-pounder Cesar Pedregon also went 0-2 in Florence – which Ignacio hit without third-ranked 132-pounder Stocker Robbins.
Hunter Robbins went 1-2 at 113 pounds, as did Dustin Sanchez at 138, with each earning one team point. Pablo Garcia went 0-2 at 145, but Plehinger-Williams ended up 1-2 with a 16-0 technical-fall rout of 3A Pueblo Central’s Miguel Gonzales in the consolation rounds.
With the road to Denver only getting rougher, IHS will next travel to 2A Paonia’s Screaming Eagle Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 21, then dual 3A Bayfield at home on the 27th – a preamble to the next day’s Butch Melton Invitational.
ON THE MAT CLASS 2A TEAM RANKINGS (1/12)
MEL SMITH HUSKY INVITE (1/13-14) STANDINGS
ROCKY MOUNTAIN INVITE (1/7) STANDINGS