Kremmling " Three Mustang grapplers headed to state tournament |

Kremmling " Three Mustang grapplers headed to state tournament

Larry Banman
Sky-Hi Daily News
Kremmling, Colorado
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News File Photo
Sky-Hi Daily News | Sky-Hi Daily News

Three wrestlers from West Grand High School advanced to the state tournament, which is being held this weekend at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Seniors AJ Silva and Justin Strang are joined by sophomore Chase Hill at one of the top high school attractions in the state. The three Mustang grapplers advanced from the tough Class 2A regional tournament held last weekend in Grand Junction.

Silva (125 lbs.) and Strang (160 lbs.) both finished in third place while Hill (140 lbs.) grabbed a fourth-place finish.

In the semifinals, Silva lost to Chad Bradbeer of Paonia, a senior with a 25-8 record. He then advanced to the consolation finals, where he defeated Nick Williams of Hayden.

Strang advanced to the semifinals where he faced Mitch Doolin, a senior from Hayden who brought a 26-5 record into the tournament and the distinction of being third-ranked in the state. On the consolation side of the bracket, Strang advanced to the consolation finals and defeated Francisco Delgadillo a senior from Paonia with a record of 16-5.

Chase Hill took a long road to qualify for the state tournament. He lost in the semifinals to two-time state champion Hugh Hardman, a senior from Norwood with a record of 34-0. In the consolation bracket, Hill pinned Chance Johnson, a freshman from Dove Creek. In the consolation finals, Hill lost to Curtis Bushta, a junior from Paonia. Because it was the regional tournament, Hill had to wrestle one more time to secure his 4th place finish and

a trip to the state tournament. Hill won that match by pinning his opponent in the first round.

Coach Jeff Matney said he always believed the three wrestlers for West Grand had the potential to qualify for the state tournament. He was happy to see each secure a chance to wrestle at the Pepsi Center this weekend.

The squad is small for West Grand, but it has had a successful year. Following is a short recap of the season for the Mustangs.

Nucla Tournament (Feb. 7) ” Silva won first place with a triple-overtime victory over a state-ranked Grand Valley High School opponent. Strang earned a third-place by compiling a record of 4-1. Hill had a record of 2-2, earning 4th place. One of his losses was to a nationally-ranked opponent from Norwood.

Center Tournament (Jan. 31) ” Strang had a record of 3-0 and defeated an opponent from Fowler to win first place. Silva earned a second place with a 3-1 mark, losing in the finals to a Paonia opponent. Hill lost his first match and wrestled back to earn a sixth place.

Western Slope League Tournament at West Grand High School (Jan. 24) ” Hill finished in third place with a record of 2-1. Strang had a record of 1-1 to earn second place while Silva finished in third place with a mark of 2-1.

Coach Matney said he appreciated the help that many faithful volunteers provided to help host the tournament. He noted that he received a number of compliments for how the tournament was conducted.

North Park Duals (Jan. 22) ” Silva had a 2-2 mark, Hill was 3-1 and Strang earned a 2-0 record.

Rangely Tournament (Jan. 17) ” Silva earned a fourth place finish with a 2-2 mark. Hill also went 2-2 and was one match away from qualifying for the medal round. Strang lost 10-8 in the finals to an opponent who finished in third place at last year’s state tournament.

Paonia Tournament (Jan. 9-10) ” The first day of the tournament was conducted in a dual format. Strang won his only match and Hill won two matches against no defeats.

On the next day of the tournament, Hill finished in third place while Strang earned a first place finish. Silva was unable to wrestle due to injury.

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