Junior Sackett Chesnik wrestled to a 5-0 record and a first-place finish Saturday at the 45th annual Tournament of Champions at Vernal, Utah. Paonia was one of eight teams from Western Colorado competing in the tournament. In quarterfinals Chesnik, who wrestles at 138, defeated Moffat County's No. 2 ranked Daniel Caddy by a 6-3 decision. In semifinals Chesnik won by 4-2 decision over Cade Bowring, a 29-7 wrestler from Juab, Utah.
In the championship match Chesnik defeated Shawn Sorensen of North Sevier, Utah, 3-1, leaving Sorensen with a 41-1 record for the season.
This was Paonia's first time at the TOC. "We got an invitation and we accepted," said head coach Nate Wiggins.
Finishing fourth at the highly competitive tournament were Clay Campbell (145); Grey Neal (152), who was seeded 10th; and Jaden Miller (182), who pinned three of his opponents in a total of 4:34.
All five of Campbell's wins were by pin. His 21-second win over Ben Smith of Fruita Monument was the seventh-fastest fall of the meet.
Sophomore heavyweight Levi Peterson placed sixth on a an 8-6 sudden victory loss to a wrestler from Unitah, Utah.
Despite being down three varsity wrestlers -- Anthony Felice, Cyrus Malek-Madani and Caden Meilner -- Paonia scored 119 points to finish ninth at the 28-team tournament.