If there's a tournament that tests a wrestler's ability before February's state tournament, it's the Warrior Classic. The highest placer for the Bruins at last week's Warrior was Trey Geyer, who at 120 pounds placed third on a 12-5 decision over a wrestler from Pueblo South. Geyer didn't plan on placing third. "I was just kind of looking to place anywhere I could," he said.
Cedaredge scored 122 points and had four wrestlers place in the top six at the 41st annual Warrior Classic. Held Dec. 15 and 16 at Central High School, the all-class tournament attracted 42 teams from three states, and almost 400 wrestlers. The Warrior consistently attracts top-ranked athletes from all classes and in each weight division.
Geyer (120) was a dark horse, winning six of his seven tournament matches and scoring 51 match points and 25 team points. In quarterfinals he lost, 8-6, in sudden victory against reigning state runner-up A.J. Serna of Grand Valley.
Geyer is a freshman. In 2017 he was the middle school regional and state champion at 110 pounds and won the 15-and-under division at the New Mexico National Showdown last January. He was ranked third in Class 2A by On the Mat.
At 126, Sean Dale, placed fifth. The only Bruin to advance to the semifinals, Dale lost by decision to top-ranked wrestler Randon "Cubby" Deets of Uintah, Utah.
In consolation matches Dale pinned his first four opponents in a total mat time of 4 minutes, 7 seconds -- ranking him eighth for the tournament in the "most pins, least amount of time" category.
"I'm not satisfied at all. This is not where I want to be," he said. "But you can only work from there."
After pinning a top-10 wrestler from 5A Rocky Mountain in 37 seconds in quarterfinals, Dale lost to Deets, then lost in sudden victory consolation semifinals to Fabian Lujan of Montrose. In the fifth-place championship match Dale won, 13-11 over Pagosa Springs.
Dale, who placed fourth at state as a freshman, called his performance a "wake-up call... It showed me I need to keep working to get where I want to be." Fortunately, said Dale, "We've got a long way until state. We've just got to keep grinding."
Junior Taj Van der Linde (220) was ranked third in state heading into the Warrior. He was 5-2 for the tournament and dropped to the consolation bracket on a quarterfinal loss to 4A Thompson Valley. In his only match against a 2A wrestler, Van der Linde took fifth on a decision over Paonia senior Cyrus Malek-Madani.
"Really tough tournament," said Van der Linde. But the Warrior does give wrestlers a chance to see different styles and compete against athletes they wouldn't otherwise meet.
Colton Hoerr (152) was seeded 12th at 152 pounds and finished sixth.
After dropping to the consolation bracket on a loss to Delta's Brandon Harper, Hoerr won five straight matches, including a 5-2 decision over top-10 ranked Central High School wrestler Paul Salazar, to advance to consolation semifinals.
The Bruins' eight non-placing wrestlers, Ryan Imhoff (113), Alex McCracken (132), David Schipmann (145), Jared Hulteen (160), Drew Markley (170), David Lopez (182), Toby Waddell (195), and Derek Sanchez (285), scored a combined 46 team points.
The Bruins head into the holiday break and will dual Hotchkiss when they return on Jan. 5.