Thu Feb 14th, 2019
Special to the Drum
Regional Grapplers to face stout State-qualifying tests
In releasing the Week 10, “on the mat” high-school rankings before the San Juan Basin League Duals, amongst other events across Colorado, began in Dove Creek Thursday, Feb. 7, noted longtime wrestling observer/analyst Tim Yount stated the obvious in looking ahead to the weekend of Feb. 15-16, “All one needs to do is put together two great weekends of wrestling. Not complicated but very hard to do,” he wrote in his comments, summarizing any individual’s plan of attack for regional and State success. “We see if often – kids who have incredible two-week stretches. It will happen again. Few will see it coming.”
“You sleepwalk now and it will cost you,” Yount continued. “Again, everyone is 0-0 and no kid is guaranteed a win over a kid with a lessor [sic] record.”
Lesser or greater, much talent stands between the Bobcats and the 2019 CHSAA State Championships (Feb. 21-23) in Denver, with only the top four per weight surviving the loaded 2A-Region I Championships held at the Montrose Event Center.
Ranked No. 6 at heavyweight in Class 2A, Randy Herrera might see at least one or two wrestlers billed ahead of him, with Paonia’s #3 Levi Peterson, Cedaredge’s #4 Derek Sanchez, and Hotchkiss’ #5 Christian Matus all likely to be in contention, with #7 Michael Johnson of Ault-based Highland also in the mix.
Eighth at 160 pounds, senior Dustin Sanchez could see PHS’ top-ranked Grey Neal and/or Norwood’s #5 Austin Overholt, while junior Cesar Pedregon, eighth at 182, may clash with any number of standouts including Nucla’s #3 Will Gabriel, Hayden’s #4 Hunter Planansky, Oak Creek-based Soroco’s #9 Jesse Amrein, or Meeker’s #10 Kesston Hobbs.
A top-20 inclusion at 138, senior Skieler Grooms (No. 16) will have Paonia’s #2 Sackett Chesnik, HHS’ #5 Traycer Hall, Highland’s #6 Lucas Hefner, Nucla’s #7 Tad Sickels and Rangely’s #8 Tytus Coombs with whom to contend.
“At this point we’re going to be drilling the same stuff we’ve been drilling … and that’s working the moves that the boys have chosen themselves,” Ignacio head coach Jordan Larsen said, following IHS’ Butch Melton Memorial Invitational (Feb. 2) at which Sanchez prevailed, Grooms placed second, Herrera fourth and Pedregon fifth.
“Some people run kind of a two-move … or a one-move program where they make it their signature. We kind of do something a little different; we give them a lot of options and then they choose, essentially, what they’re going to work on. So … we’ve been working their favorite moves, their go-to moves, and that’s what we’re going to continue to drill, continue to condition and continue to improve.”
“In general, it’s the same thing I say all the time: What we’re training for is two weeks away.”
“I wasn’t able to take first,” Grooms said, post-Melton. “But it means hopefully I’ll have a good chance of making it to State! Then once I make it, I’ve got to work for that podium! Keep my mind focused … just ‘do me.’”
Sanchez’s postseason plan contained even less wiggle room.
“Just what I did today: Dominate, in every aspect,” he stated. “Wrestle all three periods and … Dominate everyone on the mat, whatever they want.”
Sixth place at the Melton, senior Hunter Robbins will enter the MEC unranked at 126 pounds but could be a sleeper in a field expected to include Hotchkiss’ third-ranked Presley Pene, Highland’s #5 Zach Tittle, Cedaredge’s #12 Adrian Nieto and Norwood’s #16 Harley Workman.
“Too many kids lose that first match because they overlook their first opponent,” cautioned Yount.
Meeker’s top-ranked Tannen Kennedy will anchor the 145-pound division, through which unranked Bobcat freshman Tyler Barnes will also attempt to battle. Joining him will be Highland’s #4 Hector Flores, PHS’ #9 Zeb Etter, Rangely’s #11 Zane Varner, Hotchkiss’ #12 J.D. Miller and Soroco’s #15 Kody Logan.
Soroco’s second-ranked Jace Logan will command attention at 170 along with IHS junior Clay Campbell, Cedaredge’s #5 Toby Waddell, Meeker’s #7 Colby Clatterbaugh and Hotchkiss’ #8 Jace Peebles. Including #1 Anthony Felice of Paonia, the 195-pound bracket could include not only unranked IHS freshman Jeremy Roderick but as many as three more top-12 grapplers.
If able to go at 132, freshman Shawn Campbell could represent IHS in a division featuring #1-ranked Sean Dale of Cedaredge and Highland’s #8 Dante Chirichango, while freshman 113-pounder Isaac Welker could do so against the likes of Hotchkiss’ #5 Landen Mayberry and Hayden’s #7 Dylan Zimmerman.
Requests made of Larsen and Dove Creek athletic director Shane Baughman for info/results from the aforementioned Duals were yet unanswered as of press time Monday, Feb. 11.