Ignacio’s Dante Sandman is presented as the winner over Blanding, Utah, San Juan’s Eoin Kaer at the Dec. 14 Dove Creek ‘Dawg Fight.’ New to the Bobcats this winter, Sandman finished in second place at 132 pounds.
Ignacio’s Jeremy Roderick ties up Bayfield’s John Foutz during 220-pound competition at the Dec. 14 Dove Creek ‘Dawg Fight.’ Roderick would place sixth at the weight.
Ignacio’s Keaton McCoy goes for a pin of Durango’s Chris McGrath at the Dec. 14 Dove Creek ‘Dawg Fight.’ Undefeated on the day, McCoy placed first at 126 pounds.
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 earn top-5 result

Newcomers lead the way at IHS’ second stop

With only three squad members available to make the long trip to Grand Junction, to compete Saturday, Dec. 7 at the season-opening Maverick Duals at Colorado Mesa University, there wasn’t a whole lot of hope for marked success.

But with four – of a reported six in camp – ready to go one week later to the bracket-style 2019 Dove Creek ‘Dawg Fight,’ drawing multiple teams with similar numbers, expectations of Ignacio Wrestling were much higher.

So, too, were the results.

“After the Dual … at Mesa, I’m really proud of all of them,” stated head coach Jordan Larsen. “For it being a small tournament, it was a good first ‘tournament.’ And for what we had, I thought we performed very well.”

Leading the way for the Bobcats, who amassed a fifth-place 54 team points, was young Keaton McCoy.

Giving a confident wink to mat-side photographers after receiving his medal, the freshman polished off a 5-0 run through the 126-pounders’ bracket with a first-period pin – his fourth stick during the tourney – of 4A Durango’s Chris McGrath.

“Against decent competition, it’s a good confidence-booster I think,” Larsen said. “Keaton’s a freshman – made it to Mid-School State last year – and he’s got a lot of technique. Just got to iron out some ‘habits,’ figure out what high-school wrestling’s all about … and he’s doing a great job. He wrestled smarter today than he did all last weekend.”

Sophomore Tyler Barnes took second at 160, losing twice to DHS’ Tyler Woodworth – the second time, with first place at stake, via pin with 0:08 left in the third and final regulation two-minute period – but still going 3-2 on the day.

“In what I considered the toughest weight of the tournament,” stated Larsen, “the guy wrestled his butt off.”

Pinned five times, sophomore Jeremy Roderick, who went 3-2 up at CMU    still placed sixth at 220.

“Didn’t have the best day, match-wise, but he’s doing a lot of things that are going to lead to success,” Larsen said.

Fortunately, the skipper says just about the same of newcomer Dante Sandman.

After a first-round loss to DCHS’ Caden Baker, the eventual champion at 132, the senior finished much like a champ by pinning his next four foes and securing second place with a first-period stick of 3A Blanding, Utah, San Juan’s Eoin Kaer.

“Dante … came from Newcomb – wrestled at Newcomb two years ago – then transferred into Ignacio last year,” explained Larsen. “Wasn’t able to wrestle … but he’s out this year and is a great addition to the team.”

And undoubtedly with high expectations for himself as well; though unable to compete as a ’Cat last winter, a sophomore Sandman had been one of six Skyhawks qualifying for the 2018 New Mexico Activities Association Class A-4A State Championships, following his District 1/3 Championships third-place finish at 138 pounds.

Ignacio was to next host a triangular against Del Norte and 2A San Juan Basin League rivals Dolores at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, but results were unavailable at press time. IHS will then get 2020 underway Jan. 4 in Bayfield at the La Plata County Duals, facing the 3A Wolverines plus the Durango Demons, then travel on the 9th to SJBL’ers Mancos for a 6 p.m. dual.

And with all SJBL teams but Norwood-Nucla attending the Dawg Fight, the Bobcats’ standing – just two points behind the meet-hosting Bulldogs – was encouraging to the boss.

“It’s just a good group; I’m super-stoked,” said Larsen.

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