The wrestling team from Cedaredge High School saw what a difference a year makes when the Bruins went to the state tournament in Denver last weekend.
After posting just six team points and finishing 38th in 2015, the Bruins returned to the Pepsi Center this year and improved to 15th place overall in 2A and recorded 41 team points.
Cedaredge qualified seven grapplers for the tournament and the Bruins placed two of those wrestlers on the podium with individual medals.
"I don't think the nerves or anything are getting to us," Cedaredge coach Cutter Garrison said after the first day of state competition. "They are used to this and they are ready for it."
Bruins senior heavyweight Mario Madaleno came out on fire, winning on the first day by pin and then upsetting Jayden Hifferty of Limon in the quarterfinals. Hifferty had a 14-1 record and Madaleno beat him in a 7-3 decision.
Then the Bruins' big man gave Rocky Ford tough guy Greg Garcia all he wanted in their semifinal dual before losing a heartbreaker in the final seconds.
Madaleno recovered nicely and won out in the consolation bracket to take third place and completed his senior campaign with a 25-9 record.
The second Cedaredge grappler to place at state was junior Tré LaBossiere, who won his first match at 195 pounds before losing in the quarterfinals.
LaBossiere then posted a 3-1 mark in the consolation bracket and earned the fifth-place medal for the Bruins.
Madaleno was the only Bruin to get past the quarterfinal round.
"Like I told them, there's 16 top guys here, that's why it's a state tournament. You gotta beat them," Garrison said Friday evening. "I thought we came out really well last night. Today we kind of slipped down, but that's the score and that's the sport.
"There's going to be lows and highs, and we have to keep building and keep getting them up," Garrison added. "And I think we will. At the end of the tournament I think we'll be pleased with our performance."
All of the other five Cedaredge wrestlers who qualified for state posted 1-2 records at the tournament.
Alex McCracken (113 pounds), Jake Ostrom (126), Colton Hoerr (138), Zach Anderson (170) and Landon Eckhart (182) all lost their first matches, won their second and lost their third bouts at state for Cedaredge.
"We ran into some tough kids," Garrison said. "We need to come out and we gotta win on our feet. That's our philosophy and we know how important that first takedown is.
"We'll bounce back here and come back through and fight like heck and win some medals and take home some hardware," he added.