The Ignacio wrestlers will mark a new era of high school competition today when they take to the mats at the State Wrestling Championships in Denver.
This year, for the first time in modern history, the Bobcats will wrestle in the Class 2A division of the state finals.
And they can hardly wait for the opening whistle.
"We're ready. The kids are getting excited. They're ready to peak at state," Ignacio head coach Bob Overturf said.
"We ... won the league, we won regionals ... we're ready."
Ignacio will send 10 wrestlers into the fray, searching for individual and team honors at the state tournament at the Pepsi Center.
Alex Peña, a freshman, will lead the charge of the Bobcats. He's 35-1 this season at 112 pounds. He'll open the state tournament against junior Andrew Murphy of Burlington (17-15).
Teammate Jeff Herrera, another Ignacio freshman will wrestle at 119. Herrera (28-16) will face Ty Lebsock of Merino (29-5), a sophomore.
Casey Haga of the Bobcats, who was second at state last year as a freshman, returns this year at 125 pounds. Haga (28-9) will wrestle Nick Williams of Hayden (12-18) in the first round today.
Josh Plehinger, another state veteran, will take his 33-8 record into a first-round bout against Adrian Lopez of Paonia (26-11) at 130 pounds.
One of the leading wrestlers at 130 in the Class 2A field is Brett Brunner of Dolores (34-2).
Will Appenzeller, an Ignacio sophomore, will represent the Bobcats at 135 pounds. Appenzeller (2-8) will take on Cole Barlow of Rangely (24-15).
Ignacio senior Raudel Lucero (28-4) will go against Broc Pelle of Holyoke in the first round at 140 pounds.
Ethan Pearson, Ignacio's 145-pounder, will open the state tournament against Adonis Sheeley of Byers (22-4). Pearson is 16-9 this season.
The top seed at 145 is state champion Colten Huskey of Dove Creek (36-1).
At 160 pounds, freshman Colton Wyatt of Ignacio (25-14) will wrestle Ty Spangler of Norwood (30-5) today.
At 189, Ignacio's Abel Velasquez (19-13) will take on Adam Montoya of Fowler
(27-10) in the first round.
And at 215, Chance Wyatt of the Bobcats (32-3) will face Kenny Westfall of North Park (15-21) in the opener.
The 215-pound state field in Class 2A includes returning state champion Stryker Lane of Norwood (35-0), who has already signed to wrestle at Dartmouth next year.
Last year, Grand Valley won the Class 2A team title with Paonia second. Wiggins was third with Burlington fourth. Norwood was fifth last year.
"I changed all my practices this year to try to have us peak at regionals and state," Overturf said.
The conditioning is paying off, he said, as the Bobcats are wrestling stronger later in their matches.
"We're ready," he said.