Three boys from La Plata County will wrestle on the final day of the state tournament in Denver. Three were eliminated Friday.
Bayfield junior Daniel Westbrook and Ignacio junior Dustin Sanchez reached the semifinals Friday night in their respective brackets, while Bayfield senior Garrett Beebe worked his way into contention for third place by picking up a consolation round win after he was beat in the quarterfinals.
Durango’s lone state qualifier, Rashaad Liggins, saw his tournament come to a close, as did Ignacio junior Skieler Grooms and Bayfield senior Jake Sandrey.
Here’s a closer look at Friday’s action at the Colorado High School Activities Association wrestling state championships:
Bayfield High SchoolThe Wolverines watched as Westbrook worked his way into the semifinals with a big 7-3 decision win against Centauri’s Bennie Chacon in the quarterfinals. But Westbrook (34-12) came up against the top seed in the Class 3A 220-pound bracket in the semifinals and didn’t have the experience to hang with Lamar senior Bart Gruenloh (37-5).
Gruenloh scored a first-period pin of Westbrook with three seconds remaining in the period.
Westbrook will wait for his opponent in the consolation semifinals, as he will need to win two matches Saturday to place third in the state. He is guaranteed no worse than a sixth-place finish.
Westbrook will know his consolation semifinal opponent well. He will face the winner of Alamosa’s Logan Thompson and Pagosa Springs’ Nolan Stretton. Stretton is 2-1 against Westbrook this year, but that is a match Westbrook said he wanted going into the state meet. Westbrook beat Stretton and Thompson in the regional tournament last weekend.
Beebe dropped his quarterfinal match of the 3A 138-pound bracket. He lost a 10-3 decision to Brush’s Oswaldo Nunez. But Beebe responded with a win in the second consolation round, as he pinned Lamar’s Walker Kee with only three seconds remaining in the first period. Beebe still has a shot to place as high as third. Beebe (37-11) will face Conifer’s Captain Payne (33-9) in the third round of the consolation bracket Saturday morning. He will need to win three matches Saturday to place third.
Sandrey, a three-time state qualifier, saw his final state tournament end Friday. The senior finished the tournament 1-2 in the 3A 145-pound bracket.
After an unexpected loss to open the tournament, Sandrey scored a first-round consolation win Saturday with a pin at the first-period buzzer against Skyview’s Tristan Eskridge. But Sandrey couldn’t get any further, as Steamboat Springs’ Lance Bryant pinned him one minute into their second-round consolation match.
Ignacio High SchoolSanchez continued his strong wrestling from Thursday’s preliminary round in Friday’s quarterfinals. He picked up a 7-2 decision win against Dayne Hines of Stratton to reach the semifinals.
But Sanchez ran into the top seed in his Class 2A 152-pound bracket in the semifinals. Fleming’s Kobryn Mann built a quick 5-0 lead on Sanchez and finished the Ignacio junior with a pin at the buzzer of the second period.
Sanchez is guaranteed no less than a sixth-place finish. He will face the winner of Josh Trujillo of Gilpin County and Wray’s Cade Hillman in the consolation semifinals Saturday morning. He is two wins away from taking third place.
Grooms saw his season come to an end with an 18-12 record. The IHS junior lost an incredibly close 11-9 match to Swink’s Kaleb Fisher on Thursday to open the 2A 145-pound bracket. He responded with a huge 9-1 victory against Dolores Huerta’s Xavier Mendoza in the consolation bracket’s first round.
But that was as far as Grooms would go, as he lost a 7-0 decision to Fowler’s Dylan Palomino in the second consolation round.
Durango High SchoolLiggins, who only began wrestling two years ago, saw his state tournament end after two matches.
After losing a tough 6-4 decision to Widefield’s John Underwood on Thursday night to open the Class 4A 182-pound bracket, Liggins fell to the consolation bracket. He ran into Montrose senior Cole Simmons, and Simmons came away with a 9-2 decision win Friday to eliminate Liggins.
Liggins finished the year 11-11 overall. He was the Demons’ lone qualifier.