Photo by Tamie Meck Cedaredge freshman 106-pounder Austin Todd wrestles fifth-ranked Cody Lacy of Grand Junction at the 35th annual Warrior Classic. Todd, who placed fifth at the all-class tournament, is among several up-and-coming wrestlers for Cedaredge.Among the 84 names announced at Saturday night's parade of champions was a little-known 106-pounder by the name of Austin Todd.
Todd was 6-2 at the two-day Warrior Classic tournament, which is considered one of the most competitive tournaments of the season.
There were 30 wrestlers competing in his bracket, including several top-ranked 5A wrestlers. But Todd quietly worked his way through the ranks, and defeated Eli Konrad of Fruita Monument (5A), 2-0, Saturday evening to place fifth. Todd is now 11-3 for the season.
"He's put a lot into wrestling," said head coach Ted Schanen. He wrestles year-round and he and his younger brother ran from their house to Schanen's almost every day last summer to train. "He's on his way, for sure."
Todd, a freshman, had a tournament-opening 13-0 loss to Pueblo South, then defeated Cortez, Rocky Mountain, Mountain Vista and Montrose to advance to Saturday's competition.
Todd opened Saturday with a 7-5 win over sixth-ranked Cody Pfau of Grand Valley, whom he lost to a week earlier at the Delta Invitational. Pfau won the Delta tournament. Todd then went three rounds for a 5-3 loss against sixth-ranked Cody Lacy of Grand Junction – another 5A wrestler.
Todd is among several freshmen and sophomores whose hard work and off-season training are starting to pay off. Cedaredge ended the tournament with 44.5 points to place 31st out of 38 teams. Nothing to brag about?
"We took dead last last year," said Schanen. Ten of his wrestlers went two-and-out. After that showing, he said he wasn't sure if the Warrior Classic was the place for his team. This year, all but one wrestler had wins.
There are no seniors or returning state qualifiers on this year's 25-member Bruins squad. Cedaredge was open in four weights at the Warrior Classic after sending several freshmen and sophomores to the junior varsity tournament at Fruita Monument High School. One of those is freshman 220-pounder Mario Madaleno, who placed third at state in middle school and is currently 16th in On the Mat rankings.
Last season, said Schanen, the middle school team placed first or second at all of its tournaments. And in the last two seasons, twice as many wrestlers came out for the team as in the previous 10 years.
"We have an incredible junior class," said Schanen. All of them – Beau Hebert, Ty Morton, Brian Leahy, Peter Williamson, Alejandro Alejendre and Mickey Madaleno – have wrestled on varsity since they were freshmen.
Hebert (126) also advanced to Saturday's competition after losing his opening match Friday, then winning the next four. He ended the tournament at 4-2 after a loss by pinfall to Coy Zang of Rifle.
At 182, Alajendre was 2-2 and lost his final match to a Denver East wrestler who is ranked eighth in state. At 170, Leahy opened with a loss to second-ranked Jacob Seely of Fruita Monument, who went on to win in the championship.
Due to an extended football season (the Bruins took the 1A state title), several wrestlers, including Hebert, Jacob Ostrom (120), Mickey Madaleno, Mario Madaleno, Ethan Fritchman, Isaiah Surber (160), Alejendre, and Williamson (138) are just getting on the mat. Two are recovering from minor injuries.
Williamson, a junior, took fifth at regionals his freshman year. His sophomore year he suffered an injury and was unable to wrestle at regionals, said Schanen.
Cedaredge opened the season with dual losses at Meeker and Rangely, and had forfeits or no-match losses in six weight classes. On Dec. 7, they won at home, 63-18, against Basalt, with just one win by forfeit. This is the first time in 10 years the Longhorns have had a team. "We had so much support" from the community, said Schanen.
Cedaredge will open the new year against Hotchkiss on Jan. 10, then wrestle at the Eagle Valley tournament Jan. 12.
"The kids we have right now, they know how to work hard, and they like wrestling. That makes my job easy," said Schanen. "Things are really building in Cedaredge. It's an exciting place for wrestling right now."