Photo by Tamie Meck Kylie Hodges releases the discus at the Bruin Invitational. Hodges will compete in both the discus and shot put at this week’s state 2A track meet in Lakewood. Teammate Daryl Batt had her best throw of the season and is going to state in…
Photo by Tamie Meck Senior Josiah Spano, of Paonia, was an All-Conference first team selecton in the 2A WSL for the 2012-13 hoop year.This year's Class 2A All-Conference and All-State honors in the 2013 Photo by Tamie Meck Paonia High School senior Annavah…
Photo by Tamie Meck Hotchkiss heavyweight Zach Taylor, right, grapples No. 1-ranked Tony Darling of Paonia. Taylor, a senior, missed early-season wrestling while recovering from an injury sustained during football. Taylor placed second at Salida and Eagle Valley tournaments.The Bulldogs placed eight wrestlers and earned two championships and 139 points to finish third Saturday at the 51st annual Rob Mickel wrestling tournament at Salida. Del Norte earned 195.5 points to win the 19-team tournament.
Salida was second with 143 points, and Cedaredge earned 119 points to place fourth.
Jesse Head pinned his way to the championship round at 138 pounds. "I plan on making it to state," said the senior, who is ranked ninth in state and second in the region. He remains undefeated at his current weight. His junior year, an injury forced him to miss the regional tournment.
Head is staying healthy this season, his weight is down, and after struggling with negative thinking he can relax. "Now I focus on the positives and what I can do to win," said Head prior to boarding the bus to Salida on Friday. "Instead of going out there scared to lose, I go out there to have fun."
Head was one of two Bulldog wrestlers to score pins against Paonia last week.
Joe Boyle wrestled to a 4-0 record Saturday to claim the 145-pound title. Boyle pinned Brennan Pacheco of Del Norte in 41 seconds for the win. Del Norte claimed four titles and the team win at Salida.
A returning state qualifier, Boyle opened the season at 160 pounds, then dropped down a class in time for the Warrior Classic in December. "I didn't think I could drop to 52s," said Boyle. "It was just hard," and left him feeling weak. For the first time, Boyle didn't get past preliminary competition. "That was crushing," said Boyle.
After the Warrior he dropped more weight, and is wrestling at 145, with weight to spare. "I'm finding new ways to eat healthy and still lose weight," said Boyle. "I eat a lot when I go home because I know I can."
Boyle said his early-season losses are working to his benefit. "Wrestling's all in your head," he said. "You can't have a coach tell you to go wrestle. It's something that you just want to do. You have to be the one that wants to wrestle."
Senior heavyweight Zack Taylor was one of two Bulldogs to place second. Taylor lost 2-0 to Shane Shaerin of Del Norte in the final round. Taylor, a returning state qualifier, was injured in week one of the football season and wasn't able to compete until last week. "After not being able to play football it's good to be back," said Taylor, who was ranked fifth in state coming into the season. He hasn't returned to the state rankings yet, but is hoping that changes this week. In his first week back, Taylor placed second at Eagle Valley.
Taylor said he's starting to get in shape after his workouts were limited to riding a stationary bike. "That's not a good way to get in shape for wrestling," said Taylor, who spent the summer working out in the weight room. "I finally feel like I'm in shape now."
Tanner Bizer had his best performance of the season with a second-place finish. Bizer (126) upset No. 1-seeded Noah Trujillo of Antonito with a second-round pin to advance to the championship round. Trujillo was the state runner-up in 2012 and is currently fifth in state 2A rankings.
Bizer was pinned in 3:55 by Deangelo Martinez of Center in the championship round.
Tony Ibarra was 4-1 to place third. Ibarra opened with a pin over Kolby Starks of Norwood, won by pin in the second round, then lost to Austin McDonald of Del Norte. Ibarra again pinned Starks to advance to the third-place round, where he won by forfeit.
Eric Steckel was 3-1 to place third. Steckel opened with a pin over Alejandro Alejandre of Cedaredge, then defeated Landon Eckert of Cedaredge to advance to the third-place round, where he pinned Alejandre in 3:06.
Trinton Ballard was 1-2 to place fifth at 220 pounds.
Hotchkiss dualed to a 52-24 Friday over Peyton.
Hotchkiss had two forfeits, and claimed wins by forfeit at 132, 145, 152, 195, 220 and 285 pounds. Hotchkiss won three matches: Bizer won by major decision over Casey Bangs, Head pinned Jimmy Matthews in 55 seconds, and Ibarra won by pin over Mike Dilloinaire.
The Bulldogs compete on Saturday at the Rumble in the Rockies tournament at Rifle High School. Last year, Hotchkiss was 5-0 to win the dual tournament.