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Cowboys Place 8th, 10th in Tournament | Time of the Herald of Rio Blanco

MEEKER | In an exciting week of competition, the Cowboys split forces, sending eight wrestlers to

the Top of the Rockies in Lafayette, Colorado; and 13 wrestlers at the Fight at the Fork in Hotchkiss, Colorado. Meeker placed eighth at Top of the Rockies, scoring 95 team points. The Cowboys finished in 10th place with 71 points.

In Lafayette, assistant coach Stryker Lane said, “The Cowboys were strong out of the gate with seven of eight winning their first game.”

Sophomore Cade Blunt at 165lbs was winning in his opening bout when he suffered an injury that kept him from finishing the match and the tournament.

At 126 Clay Crawford won his first match against a ranked opponent from Broomfield. Lui lost his second match against the fourth ranked wrestler from Pomona, and he lost his last match against the fifth ranked wrestler from Pueblo East.

“Trae Kennedy (132) overcame an illness to take a solid win against a ranked opponent

from Broomfield and a pin on its Pueblo East competitor,” Lane said. “His two losses came in close matches against ranked opponents from Grandview and Legacy.”

At 144 pounds Abe Maupin, “struggled in a very tough tournament,” Lane commented. In his opening match he avenged an early season loss to a ranked opponent by Brush. He also pinned an opponent of Brush’s before defeating the top tier wrestler from Erie, Colorado. His losses were to first-ranked Strasburg wrestler, who won the tournament, and a two-point decision to second-ranked contender Rocky Ford.

Connor Blunt placed second at 157 pounds. He opened his tournament with a pin against

his opponent from Brighton. He then won a 6-4 decision over the fourth ranked wrestler from

Pueblo East opponent, before pinning his eighth ranked opponent from Boulder in the semifinals. His final match against Pomona’s top 5A wrestler went to overtime where he was unable to get the win.

“Many people have described the match as the most exciting final match of the tournament,” said Lane.

Brendan Clatterbaugh “looked good in his first tournament since the Warrior Classic in

week three,” Lane commented. He collected two pins and a solid 6-0 decision against a 5A-rated Chaparral opponent. His losses were to the top ranked 5A wrestler from Ponderosa in a hard fought 4-3 decision, and to the 6th ranked Adam City wrestler.

Judd Harvey placed second. He pinned his first two opponents, one of which was fifth

4A ranked wrestler from Thompson Valley. He defeated the third ranked opponent in the semifinals

finals, but unfortunately suffered an injury which prevented him from competing in the finals.

“Judd hasn’t lost a match to an opponent from Colorado this season,” Lane commented, “his return to wrestling is eagerly awaited.”

Tanner Musser placed fourth in heavyweight. He won five games this weekend, three by pin

and two by decision. One of his pins landed on a ranked 5A Monarch High opponent.

Both of his decisions were against ranked opponents, one by Thomas Jefferson in 4A and one by Centaurus High in 5A. Both of his losses were to the same competitor from Pomona who finished fifth.

“It was a very productive tournament for the Cowboys,” Lane said. “They have been able to see some new competition and struggle in tough matches that will prepare them for the state tournament.”

Prep for regionals and state was the rationale behind the team split this week.

“The Fight at the Fork has provided some wrestlers with an opportunity to earn some seeding criteria for the regional tournament,” Lane commented. “It’s a good Western Slope tournament with a lot of teams from the western region in it.”

At 106 Dillon Hobbs struggled with “the high level of commitment and energy he’s known for, but failed to secure a Group A win,” said Lane.

Holton Harvey won Pool B with three pins.

Skylar Browning fought hard at 113lbs, but was unable to get a win. “The varsity competition will help him improve his skills and intensity,” commented Lane.

Bow Muxlow was able to pin his opponent from Olathe at 120lbs. “A nice win over a regional opponent,” commented Lane.

Zeek Gianinetti placed third in the combined 120/126 bracket B. He blocked four opponents this weekend.

Moving on to pool 126A, Coy Richardson pinned a Merino opponent.

In the 138 B bracket Tanner Goodwin placed third and Tristan Rollins placed sixth. They collected four pins between the two of them. At 157 Jake Blazon pinned two opponents, but failed to place.

Trevor Keys won a match at 165 pounds.

“The big shots did very well at the Fight,” Lane said.

Hayden Shults took first place working his way through the tournament, and Noah LeBlanc placed second, pinning down three opponents on his way to the final. Shults and LeBlanc scored 54 team points between the two of them.

“It’s been a very productive weekend across the board,” commented Lane. “The Cowboys have made significant improvements and are positioning themselves for the final push at the state.”

The next competition will be against Palisade in the first home game of the year on Thursday, followed by the Grand Valley Great 8 Dual tournament on Saturday in Parachute, Colorado.

“Connor Blunt was the best this weekend, placing second at the Top of the Rockies

and taking the number one ranked 5A wrestler into overtime,” Lane said. “Connor looks set to win state, with a couple of tweaks to his game he will be unstoppable.”

Curiosity and statistics

1. Tanner Musser has joined the 100 win club, congratulations to Tanner

2. The Cowboys brought their varsity pin total to 161

3. The Cowboys have won 63% of their college games this season.

By Tiffany Jehorek | Special for the Herald Times

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