Pena paces Ignacio at its Melton Invitational

Ignacio's Lorenzo Pena grins at the referee's comments after Pena defeated Monticello, Utah's Paul DeAnda, left, 4-2 to win the 160-pound division at the 2017 Butch Melton Invitational (Sat., Jan. 28) inside IHS Gymnasium. Pena went 4-0 at the meet with two pins, and was chosen for the Outstanding Wrestler (Upper Weights) Award.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum



Admittedly overjoyed to have ever-vocal Cody Haga as his top assistant coach, Ignacio skipper Jordan Larsen’s voice left him sometime early during the Bobcats’ 2017 Butch Melton Invitational.

That either meant a long day of wrestling, and/or a great day of wrestling.

Sure, hosting Pine River Valley neighbor Bayfield for a non-league dual – and a close 33-27 one at that – just a night earlier may have had something to do with his diminished volume, but when all was said and done Saturday, Jan. 28, Larsen hoarsely growled how proud he was of the event.

Expanded this year to 17 schools and 18 total teams – 5A Aztec, N.M., brought its varsity and a designated ‘B’ squad – the Melton had IHS Gymnasium roaring for nearly 12 hours straight. And the Bobcats, billed No. 10 in last Friday’s revised On The Mat Class 2A poll, were a big part of the reason.

Leading the way, #1-ranked senior Lorenzo Pena earned a repeat Outstanding Wrestler Award at the annual meet, as he received the Upper Weights’ nod due to a 4-0 run to the 160-pound division title. Last to attempt resisting the grinning grappler was 1A Monticello, Utah’s Paul DeAnda, but Pena managed to control the action from on top in the match and prevailed 4-2.

Senior Stocker Robbins finished second at 132, but not for lack of trying as his clash with 3A Montezuma-Cortez’s Matthew Broughton went into overtime tied 8-8 after six regulation minutes.

Amazingly back in action after blacking out and wracking his neck up in Paonia at the previous weekend’s Screaming Eagle Invite, Robbins would ultimately lose a 10-8 outcome as Broughton managed to drive through him at the mat’s edge and briefly render him horizontal.

Senior Ethan Appenzeller had definitely had most eyes in the house upon him as he stepped in against BHS’ Ryan Nava in the 145-pound finale. Working with a right hand/thumb well wrapped, 2A’s No. 2 Appenzeller still nearly managed what would have been a key takedown at the end of the second period. But 3A’s No. 3 Nava locked in a clinching three-point near-fall with only 15.1 seconds left in the third to win 6-2 and more or less revisit the dual’s deciding match (which he won by pin).

Led by its leading trio, Ignacio piled up 66.5 points – good for seventh place overall. 2A Cedaredge captured first with 164.5, and AHS – including 126-pounder Cody Candelaria, the Lower Weights’ OW – came in second with 131. Bayfield (129), 3A Pagosa Springs (98) and M-CHS (87) rounded out the standings’ top five.

Also active at the Melton for the ’Cats was senior Dalton Mickey. Also competing at 160, Mickey rebounded from an early loss to reel off three straight wins and take fifth place. Senior Timmy Plehinger-Williams wasn’t as fortunate at 152; a damaged left rotator cuff from an initial loss to Aztec’s Austin Littlefield hampered him, and he finished 1-3 after injury-defaulting to 4A Durango’s Austin Albrecht.

Foreign-exchange team member Pablo Garcia Garcia had the unlucky honor of facing Nava right off the bat and finished 0-4. Dustin Sanchez, though, managed eighth-place points at 138 after going 2-3, and 113-pounder Hunter Robbins also earned points for the cause with his 1-2 mark.

Finally, Cesar Pedregon also scored for the squad, as he followed a first-round ‘bye’ at 170 with a 1-3 mark including an elated pin of 2A Mancos’ Cameron Fury for all to see on the middle of three mats.

The final push for Pepsi Center and the CHSAA Class 2A State Championships is now all that remains on IHS’ 2016-17 schedule, and it began Feb. 2 in Nucla with the San Juan Basin League Duals.

The 2A-Region I Championships are set for Feb. 10-11 at northerly-distant Hayden H.S., where four individuals per weight will earn the right to represent their team Feb. 16-18 in the Mile High City.



1.Cedaredge 164.5, 2.Aztec (N.M.) 131, 3.Bayfield 129, 4.Pagosa Springs 98, 5.Montezuma-Cortez 87, 6.Farmington (N.M.) Piedra Vista JV 76.5, 7.IGNACIO 66.5, 8.Monticello (UT) 62, 9.Durango 44, 10.Dolores 37.5, 11.Mancos 36.5, 12.Gunnison 25, 13.Blanding (UT) San Juan 22, 14.Shiprock (N.M.) 11.5, 15.Newcomb (N.M.) 10.5, 16.Aztec ‘B’ 10, 17.Rangely 7, 18.Dove Creek 0.



106–Shawn Higgins, Montezuma-Cortez; 113–Josiah Griego, Aztec; 120–Sean Dale, Cedaredge; 126–Cody Candelaria, Aztec; 132–Matthew Broughton, M-CHS; 138–Tate Hinger, Pagosa Springs; 145–Ryan Nava, Bayfield; 152–Austin Littlefield, Aztec; 160–LORENZO PENA, IGNACIO; 170–Macoy Michaeli, Bayfield; 182–Jacob Bartley, Farmington Piedra Vista JV; 195–Tre LaBossiere, Cedaredge; 220–Taj Van der Linde, Cedaredge; Hwt–Sam Westbrook, Bayfield.



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


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