Granby " Middle Park wrestlers low on numbers, big on grit |

Granby " Middle Park wrestlers low on numbers, big on grit

Will Bublitz
Grand County, Colorado

Middle Park High’s wrestlers proved themselves to be among the toughest and most skillful athletes during tournaments held last Saturday, Dec. 13.

The Panther varsity squad took only six wrestlers to the 16-team tournament at Louis Palmer High School in Monument, but earned an overall eighth place. Four of the team’s grapplers won medals in the competition’s 14 weight classes.

“As a team, we were in fourth place for most of the day until those finals,” said coach Cal Cherrington. “And three of our wrestlers were in the finals. That’s not bad at all.”

Wrestling in the 103-pound weight class, the Panthers’ Brandon Strang won three matches and lost in the finals to take a second-place medal.

“In the finals, Brandon was up against a Louis Palmer wrestler that he had beaten twice at the Middle Park Invitational the previous weekend,” Cherrington said. “But we were in that kid’s house and he wasn’t going to be beaten again. He won on points 8-4.”

Also earning a second-place medal after going 3-1 in the tournament’s matches was 152-pound Nathan Birdseye.

“Nathan wrestled tremendously better at Louis Palmer than he did in our first tournament,” Cherrington said. “On Saturday, he won a very tough semifinals match in overtime with a takedown and then lost in the finals to a Louis Palmer wrestler.”

Mitch Strang was the third Middle Park varsity wrestler to earn a second-place medal. Competing in the 215-pound weight class, he went 3-1 in matches with his only loss coming in the finals against a Liberty wrestler.

Earning a third-place medal at Louis Palmer was Panther senior Joe Visconti in the 135-pound weight class. He lost a close match 5-4 in the semifinals to a skillful opponent from Sierra.

“It was a great match,” Cherrington said. “Joe made a couple of mistakes, but he came back in the three-four match to beat the defending state champion by a score of 12-6. Joe pretty much handled that wrestler.”

Also wrestling in the varsity tournament was 145-pound Jesse Johnson who went 1-2 in matches. The Panthers’ Jacob Finch, who is recovering a shoulder injury, was 0-2.

“Overall, everybody wrestled pretty doggone tough at Louis Palmer,” Cherrington said.

While the varsity was in Monument, Middle Park’s junior varsity were at a JV tournament at Dakota Ridge High School in Lakewood. Competing against 17 other teams, the Panthers emerged in sixth place.

“We only had five guys there, but they gave a great effort,” Cherrington said.

Wrestling in the 152-pound weight class, the Panthers’ Eric Scholl could not be beaten. He won all four of his matches to take the first-place medal. Three of his match victories were by pins.

Fourth-place medals were earned by Mitch Steffen at 140 pounds, Andrew Hemm at 145 pounds and Brian Macchione at 189 pounds. Ricky Ramirez also wrestled in Saturday’s tournament.

“I just expect our wrestlers to get better every week,” Cherrington said. “Their attitudes and work ethics are excellent. As hard as they are working, they should expect good things to happen this season.

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