Sports Wrestling

Page meet pushes Bobcats’ envelope

Ignacio High School Bobcats
Photo Credit: Ignacio School District

IHS gents wrestle to 18th, ladies 14th

Preparing most properly to host the 2023 Butch Melton Memorial Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 28, Ignacio Wrestling traveled to, and competed against stout resistance at the Sand Devil Classic, January 20-21 in Page, Ariz.

After two days of action, IHS’ boys ended up finishing 18th overall, totaling 45 points and landing between Window Rock (57), Ariz., and Phoenix, Ariz., Barry Goldwater (43) as 27 scoring schools – and 28 total – were represented at the event, held every year but two since its 1991 unveiling.

For Jordan Larsen’s Bobcats, freshman Zane Pontine led the way with his sixth-place result at 132 pounds.

Including one no-contest victory in the consolation rounds, he finished 5-3 at the meet after dropping a 13-2 major decision to Show Low senior Caleb Cisneros (an Arizona Interscholastic Association Div. III State Championships qualifier last season at 120) in the fifth-place match. Pontine’s other losses were courtesy PHS’ Tsinajinnie Green – a 12-8 decision in the winners’ second round, and a 5-0 decision in the consolation semifinals as Green went on to place fourth at the weight.

Competing at 144 pounds, senior Keaton McCoy won his first match by pinning Mohave Valley, Ariz., River Valley’s Connor Gerard in just 51 ticks, but McCoy then lost by pin to Mesa, Ariz., Skyline’s Ethan Harrington. Regrouping well, McCoy then scored a 16-0 technical fall and a 7-6 win against his first two consolation-round opponents before injury-defaulting to Camp Verde, Arizona’s Ari Hammond.

Freshman 138-pounder Lincoln deKay finished 4-2, including two pins and a tech, but was stopped short of placing via an 8-3 loss to fellow Colorado representative Ryan Pipkin – who later earned fifth place – of Montezuma-Cortez.

Eliminated via pin in 0:54 by Gilbert, Ariz., Higley’s Ryder Hockett, IHS sophomore Kendrick Nossaman finished 1-2 at 165, while Asher Gallegos, also competing at 144, finished 2-2 (with two pins) after losing 6-4 to Wayne, Utah’s Ryker Grundy. Freshman Aven Bourriague went 1-2 at 106 pounds, notching a 10-1 major over Blanding, Utah, San Juan’s Grady Lacy, while young ’Cats Joshua Kerrigan (113) and Dillon Brann (120) each finished 0-2.

Phoenix Desert Vista – an AIA Class 6A school, enrollment of roughly 3,000 students – piled up 310 points to beat two-time defending AIA Division II State Champion program (DVHS took fourth in Div. I last winter) Queen Creek Casteel’s 205.5. Cedar City, Utah, Canyon View (187) placed third, followed by Page (160) and Show Low (135) in the standings’ top five.

Running concurrently during the weekend was PHS’ She Devil Classic, the girls’ equivalent tourney, into which Ignacio skipper Aimee Larsen entered five Lady ’Cats. One was senior Faye Hackett, who suffered her first two losses this winter but still finished a fourth-place 2-2 at 132 pounds, helping IHS total 35 points and place 14th out of 27 represented (25 scoring) schools.

Canyon View (163) placed first, ahead of Casteel (146) and Page (126).

After receiving a first-round bye, Hackett pinned St. George, Utah, Dixie’s Alexis Mora in 1:13 but was then pinned by Casteel’s Mia Johnson 42 ticks into the second period. Making amends, Hackett – who’d won 14 consecutive matches beginning the 2022-23 season – responded by pinning Goldwater’s Sade Peters 47 seconds into the third period, but ultimately succumbed 8-6 to Winslow, Ariz., sophomore Tatum Estrada (a 2022 AIA Girls’ State Championships qualifier at 120) in the third-place bout.

IHS 120-pounder Audrey Roderick went 1-2 with a pin of Ganado, Arizona’s Johanna Attson, and Kacey Brown went 1-2 at 126 with a pin of GHS’ Naima Hubbard. Marlene Martinez-Perez finished 0-2 at 138, but Larissa Espinosa went 1-3 – pinning Page’s Kaydence Lee 1:14 into the second period – and placed sixth at 185 pounds.

To top