Cedaredge will send 10 wrestlers to state. The Bruins weren't ranked in the top five heading into the regional tournament and finished fourth with 196 points, just five points shy of first place.
Ryan Imhoff was the top placer for the Bruins. The freshman was the No. 2 seed at 106 and was the sole Bruin to win a semifinal match.
The Bruins sent nine into the third-place round and emerged with four third-place finishes. Senior Zach Anderson placed fourth to qualify for his fourth state tournament.
Freshman Sean Dale earned a trip to state at 120 pounds, defeating Paonia senior Gabe Ferguson in the third-place match. They wrestled five times this season, with Ferguson winning one, said Dale, who defeated Ferguson to win the Montrose tournament, and to place third at the Screamin' Eagle.
The one loss happened at the Bruins' home dual, where Dale said he was nervous wrestling for the first time in front of the home crowd. "He got the better of me that one time," said Dale.
Dale has wrestled most of his life and was a three-time state qualifier in middle school, placing second his eighth grade year. To qualify as a freshman, "It means a lot," said Dale. "I knew it would take a lot of hard work."
In eighth grade, Imhoff was a state qualifier and Dale a state runner up. Head coach Cutter Garrison describes them as "solid freshmen." He's followed them up the ranks from junior high school. Heading into the tournament he expected their hard work and dedication to pay off, and it did.
Dale said he's proud to wrestle for Cedaredge and Coach Garrison. The team has come a long way since Garrison took over as head coach three years ago.
That Cedaredge wasn't expected to place high at the tournament was a good thing going into the tournament, said Dale. "That was one of our goals, to be a regional dark horse."
Junior David Schipmann (138), senior Brandon O'Hern (170), and senior Tre' LaBossiere (195) also won their third-place matches.
LaBossiere takes a 32-3 record into the state tournament. His sole losses were to the top-ranked 195-pound wrestler in the state from John Mall and the top-ranked wrestler in Class 5A. He also won the Screamin' Eagle tournament in January. Garrison said that the 195 division was possibly the toughest of brackets at the Paonia tournament. To win, Labossiere had to defeat a wrestler who beat him at state last year.
LaBossiere was the top seed heading into regionals and lost, 2-0, in semifinals to the No. 4 seed from Soroco. He won his final matches, pinning Meeker and Hotchkiss wrestlers. "I've just got to move on to next week," said LaBossiere. "I didn't wrestle my best, and that's on me."
LaBossiere started wrestling in first grade and placed second in state in eighth grade. "I am worlds better than I was last year," said LaBossiere. He credits Coach Garrison. He treats everyone equally. "He's got a burning passion to win, and he doesn't accept anything less than our best," said LaBossiere. In his three years he's turned the program around. "He's done a wonderful job for the program and he's pushed us. We've come so far since he's been here."
Cedaredge has yet to win a state title.