Three boys from La Plata County found the podium at the Colorado High School Activities Association state wrestling championships Saturday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Bayfield’s Garrett Beebe ended his high school career on the final step of the podium, while Bayfield junior Daniel Westbrook and Ignacio junior Dustin Sanchez were able to stand on the podium with visions of climbing higher a year from now when they are seniors.
Here’s a look at how the three boys got to the podium:
Bayfield High SchoolWestbrook reached Friday’s semifinals of the Class 3A 220-pound bracket, but he was sent to the consolation bracket after the division’s top seed, Bart Gruenloh of Lamar, pinned him with three seconds to go in the first period. Westbrook saw a familiar opponent in the consolation semifinals, as he faced Alamosa’s Logan Thompson.
Westbrook beat Thompson a week earlier en route to the 3A Region 1 championship, but this time Thompson was the victor of a 5-4 decision.
That dropped Westbrook (35-13) to the fifth-place match, where he got back to his winning ways in thrilling fashion. He was pushed to an ultimate tiebreaker against Sheridan’s Perrion Gray (29-9), and came up with the escape point to win the match 3-2 and place fifth in the state.
Westbrook went 3-2 in five matches at the state tournament.
Beebe (38-13) had to wrestle six matches in the 3A 138-pound bracket in Denver en route to a sixth-place finish. He defeated Conifer’s Captain Payne with a pin 1 minute, 48 seconds into the second period in the third round of the consolation bracket. But, in the consolation semifinals, Beebe dropped a 6-3 decision to Rifle’s Colt Rohrig.
That set up a showdown of southwest Colorado boys, as Beebe met Montezuma-Cortez’s Matthew Broughton in the fifth-place match. Broughton was able to out-point Beebe for a 10-2 major decision to claim fifth and send Beebe to sixth. It was the first time in Beebe’s career he reached the podium at state. He went 3-3 in six matches.
Ignacio High SchoolAfter going 2-0 to reach the semifinals of the Class 2A 152-pound bracket, Sanchez dropped three consecutive matches to finish sixth at state.
The rodeo star wasn’t afraid of the bright lights at the Pepsi Center in his first trip to state. After a major decision win and a decision got him to the semifinals, he dropped a match to Fleming’s Kobryn Mann when he was pinned at the second-period buzzer Friday night.
Wrestling on the backside of the bracket, Sanchez (24-16) was pinned 12 seconds into the second period of his consolation semifinal against Wray’s Cade Hillman.
Sanchez then found himself in a tough match against the same boy he beat in the quarterfinals in a 7-2 decision. This time, Stratton’s Dayne Hines came out on top with a 3-2 decision win against Sanchez to climb one step higher on the podium to fifth.
“I’m extremely proud of Dustin,” IHS head coach Jordan Larsen said. “For a kid who didn’t even qualify last year to being a state placer this year, it’s outstanding.
“His last match was a great match. At the end there, Daniel nearly took him down in two situations in the last 20 seconds. He was pushing the whole time.”
IHS had two state qualifiers, as Skieler Grooms (18-12) wrestled three matches at 145 pounds before he was eliminated. Grooms is another junior who will return next year along with Sanchez to help lead a young Bobcats team.
“They are going to bring a lot of experience and fire to the room next year,” Larsen said.
“We will see what these guys want to do with their experiences this year. It is up to them, but I am proud of the boys and glad they came up and represented us well.”
Montezuma CountyWhile Broughton wrestled his way to fifth place in the Class 3A 138-pound bracket, one other boy from Montezuma County reached the podium in Denver.
Mancos’ Cameryn Fury (29-10) placed fifth in the 2A 182-pound bracket. He went 4-2 in six matches, with only two going the full three periods.
After losing a quarterfinal to Lyons’ Keegan Bean, Fury won a 5-2 decision against Paonia’s Anthony Miller and pinned Simla’s Davis Shults in 1:21 to reach the consolation semifinals. But Fury dropped a 12-10 decision to Fowler’s Tyson Martinez and had to wrestle the fifth-place match.
Fury had his arm raised one more time, as he quickly pinned Toby Waddell of Cedaredge in 53 seconds to claim fifth.