Tough go for Cats on Florence mats

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.


  1. Rocky Ford, 2. Meeker, 3. Hotchkiss, 4. Norwood-Nucla, 5. Paonia, 6. Ault Highland, 7. Walsenburg John Mall, 8. IGNACIO, 9. Julesburg-Ovid Revere Sedgwick County/Fleming, 10. Limon.


  1. Colorado Springs Cheyenne Mountain 177, 2. Canon City 158, 3. Gilcrest Valley 156.5, 4. La Jara Centauri 132.5, 5. La Junta 125, 6. Denver Mullen 109, 7. Lamar 100, T-8. Buena Vista & Delta 99, 10. Gypsum Eagle Valley 98.5, 11. Craig Moffat County 95, 12. Eaton 92, 13. Denver Sheridan 79.5, 14. Lakewood 79, 15. Erie 72, 16. Monte Vista 69.5, T-17. Brush & Olathe 67, 19. Montrose 63, 20. Sterling 62.5. 21. Florence 59, 22. Manitou Springs 50, 23. Colorado Springs The Classical Academy 46, 24. Woodland Park 42, 25. Salida 40.5, 26. Trinidad 39.5, 27. Pueblo Central 37, 28. Elizabeth 36.5, 29. Bennett 35, 30. Del Norte 34, 31. IGNACIO 32.5, 32. Monument Palmer Ridge 26.


  1. La Jara Centauri 181.5, 2. Aztec (N.M.) 168.5, 3. Monticello (UT) 158.5, 4. Pagosa Springs 146.5, 5. Bloomfield (N.M.) 143.5, 6. Kirtland (N.M.) Central 124, 7. Bayfield 122, 8. Taos (N.M.) 88.5, 9. Monte Vista 87, 10. Durango 83, 11. IGNACIO 67, 12. Del Norte 63, 13. Dolores 43.5, 14. Center 36.5, 15. Mancos 30, 16. PSHS-2 8.


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