Wrestlers wow 27-team Walsenburg tourney

Ignacio’s Tyler Barnes inverts, and pins, Saguache Mountain Valley’s Mason Armenta during 170-pound division action Sat., Dec. 18, at the John Mall-hosted Pete & Ina Gomez Invitational in Walsenburg. Barnes would place second at the weight.
Ignacio’s Jeremy Roderick attempts to turn Crowley County’s Ian Smith onto his back during action at the John Mall-hosted Pete & Ina Gomez Invitational Sat., Dec. 18, in Walsenburg. Roderick would win the event’s heavyweight division.
Ignacio's Tyler Barnes receives congratulations from referee Dino Aragon following a victory Sat., Dec. 18, at the John Mall-hosted Pete & Ina Gomez Invitational in Walsenburg. Barnes would place second at 170 pounds.
Ignacio's Tyler Barnes inverts, and pins, Saguache Mountain Valley's Mason Armenta during 170-pound division action Sat., Dec. 18, at the John Mall-hosted Pete & Ina Gomez Invitational in Walsenburg. Barnes would place second at the weight.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Heavyweight Roderick takes division title

Having exerted himself fully against a heavyweight-division semifinals opponent visibly outweighing him, and who’d conquered the previous weekend’s Rob Mickel Invitational in Salida, Jeremy Roderick had to dig even deeper still if he wanted to do likewise Sat., Dec. 18, at the Pete & Ina Gomez Invitational in Walsenburg.

Somehow able to stand his ground and show just enough aggression to defeat 2A La Veta’s Chris Williams 4 to 1, Ignacio’s senior could have called it a successful day regardless of how he fared in the finale against 4A Monument Palmer Ridge’s Jaxson Edwards. But after seeing fellow Bobcats Keaton McCoy and Tyler Barnes both denied – at 145 and 170 pounds, respectively – tourney titles, Roderick resigned himself to guaranteeing IHS wouldn’t leave town without something major to show for a positive performance.

Somewhat ‘punching’ above his poundage, Roderick impressed all in attendance by pinning Edwards 1 minute, 39 seconds into the second period – completing a 3-0 bracket run (which began with a first-round ‘bye,’ then a 20-second pin of 2A Crowley County freshman Ian Smith) helping undermanned IHS finish top-ten at the well-stocked event.

“That was the first championship he’s won, I believe, in high school,” said head coach Jordan Larsen. “The kid was real big and strong, and I’m pretty sure Jeremy was a little bit intimidated walking out there. But he just wrestled well; the kid was trying to snap him down, but the first takedown … Jeremy picked up a leg and took him down to the mat.”

“Took him to his back and I think we were up 4-1,” he continued. “The kid was able to get an escape, but was a lot more timid after that; Jeremy just wrestled smart.

“Tyler and Keaton both … wrestled tough in the finals,” Larsen added. “They all wrestled their butts off.”

Finishing three points behind the meet-hosting, ninth-place Panthers, the Bobcats registered 77 points and took tenth overall, having slipped from eighth not long before the final round commenced. First place went to 2A San Juan Basin League force Mancos; the Blue Jays racked up 173.5 points and held off 3A Gunnison (162.5) and PRHS (149), with 3A Lamar (128.5) and Ordway-based CCHS (119.5) filling out the top five.

MHS had placed second, losing 165-163 to Blanding (Utah) San Juan, at the previous Saturday’s Dove Creek Dawg Fight – an event which Ignacio also attended, but in Larsen’s mind did not perform at as well as at the Invitational.

“We took fifth, I think, at the Dawg Fight, but that was out of (nine) teams,” he said. “In Walsenburg it was tenth out of, like, 26 [27, actually]. So obviously I’m feeling better about the tenth-place finish. Very happy with the boys we’ve got out.”

“In general, we had a pretty danged good day … and I was very proud of them.”

At 170 Barnes blew through, in order, 2A Saguache Mountain Valley sophomore Mason Armenta, DCHS freshman Dakota Linton and Mancos sophomore Cole Dainty-Guilfoyle – notching first-period pins in, respectively, 0:23, 1:22 and 1:22 – to reach his division’s championship bout. There he went up against CCHS sophomore Robert San Juan in a 1-seed-versus-2 clash, but the Charger survived just long enough to win by pin 58 seconds into the third period.

“That was a tough kid from Crowley … and it was a one-point match, a dogfight back and forth all the way into the third. We just flat ran out of gas, is the truth of it,” Larsen said. “We were down a point, got into a scramble in the third period, and you could tell (Tyler) was hurting but he was on top cranking the kid, trying to turn him over.”

“The kid ended up catching him … caught his head – I think we got a little too high – and sucked him under, and that was the match. But (Barnes) wrestled a heck of a match; the chips just didn’t fall our way that time.”

McCoy also started off extremely well, pinning 2A Fowler freshman Weston Johnson in 52 seconds and Palmer Ridge soph Paul Tolbert in a faster 44. Pit against 2A Ellicott’s Jedrek Howarth in one semifinal, McCoy’s pin parade continued as he stuck the Thunderhawk sophomore in 1:41 – earning him a title shot against Lamar senior Cyrus Madrid, who’d prevail by 10-2 major decision.

Ignacio freshman Kendrick Nossaman went 0-2 at 152, pinned twice in a total of 41 seconds, but sophomore Cayle McCoy went 1-2 at 106 with a consolation-bracket win – by pin, 24 seconds into the third two-minute period – over 2A Simla freshman Jonathan Choate.

“Cayle getting a win, and Kendrick … figuring out what it’s all about – I was very proud of them,” said Larsen.

Fellow SJBLers Dove Creek tied LVHS for 21st place, with each squad scoring 20 points, while Dolores – which brought just two individuals to the tournament – ended up 27th, unable to register a point.

Following the Christmas/New Year’s break, IHS’ boys will resume action at 5 p.m. Fri., Jan. 7, competing in the Ignacio-Durango-Bayfield Riverside Rumble. After battling for La Plata County supremacy, the ’Cats will then travel to the next day to Pagosa Springs for the Pirates’ Rocky Mountain Invitational beginning at 9 a.m.

“We’re hoping to add a few more to the roster by the second half of the season,” Larsen said, “but they’re doing everything we’re asking them to do. They’re working hard, coming back day after day after the butt-kickings they’re taking in practice – that’s what it’s about.”

TOUGH CROWD

Even with just five wrestlers entered, Ignacio stacked up comparatively well against a Pete & Ina Gomez field filled with highly-rated talent. Mancos came ranked No. 5 in 2A, while Crowley County (2A No. 8) had claimed the previous weekend’s Limon Invite (with Lamar placing third). Gunnison came in having won the Rob Mickel (at which La Veta’s Williams starred), and seventh-place Fowler had initially exited their bus looking to build on their triumph at the Wheat Ridge Invitational.

Additionally, 5A No. 8 Colorado Springs Pine Creek sent its JV squad to Walsenburg, as did 2A No. 2 La Jara Centauri (whose varsity had won the previous weekend’s Pueblo East Invite); CHS’ front-line Falcons competed in Greeley at the Jimmy John’s Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament, while PC’s best Eagles went to the Reno, Nev., Tournament of Champions.

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