With one senior, 14 freshmen, a sophomore and five juniors, Hotchkiss head wrestling coach Richard Flores said his team performed OK at Saturday's Delta Panther Wrestling Tournament.
"I've got a really young team and we know we're going to take our beatings every now and then," said Flores after the Bulldogs placed seven wrestlers and scored 100 points to place sixth at the tournament.
But the team showed a lot of promise — for this year and for the future.
"We had some kids who stepped up," said Flores. Freshman Wade Katzdorn placed second at 145, falling in the second round to Gunnar Chesnik of Paonia in the championship match.
"Tristen Todd had a fantastic day today at 220," said Flores. Todd received a first-round bye, then pinned Livan Santander, a Delta freshman with a 6-3 record, to advance to the semifinals. There he lost by a third-round pin to junior Garrett Humble of Cedaredge. "He barely got caught at the end of the match," said Flores.
Todd pinned Santander in just under a minute to place third.
Todd, who had a 4-13 record at 195 his sophomore year, is now 5-5. "He's going to be tough," said Flores. "He just needs a little confidence."
Flores praised the efforts of first-year varsity wrestler Mitch McCurdy (138), who fought back from a loss to McCabe Taylor of Paonia, pinning wrestlers from Rifle and Meeker before falling for a second time to Taylor to place fourth.
At 170, Cameron Matus placed fifth. The sophomore opened with a win over Durango, then lasted 2:37 against defending state champion TJ Sheldon of Meeker.He pinned Diego Ortega of Coal Ridge in 1:10 to place fifth.
Freshman Kale Litzleman placed fifth after winning by forfeit in the final round, and Conner Collins placed sixth at 285 pounds.
Senior Garrett Toothaker claimed the only championship for the Bulldogs. Toothaker wrestled a total of one minute, 58 seconds to win his three matches, beginning with a 13-second pin and ending with a 43-second match against Gabe Ferguson of Paonia for the championship.
"It's a good confidence builder going into the Warrior this year," said Toothaker, who last year advanced to second-day Warrior competition before losing to a top wrestler from Wyoming.
Toothaker is a returning state qualifier and was a top-seeded wrestler at 113 pounds. He ended the state tournament at 1-2 and with a 23-9 season record.
"This year I just decided that nothing I was doing the last couple of years was working," said Toothaker. The losses and his limited time remaining on the team was a big motivator. "I actually started my diet in June just so I could drop down to 113s."
Toothaker wrestled for Coach Flores in middle school and has been trying some new things under a new coaching staff. "It seems to be working so far," said Toothaker, who is now 8-1. His only loss was to Justin O'Dell in last Friday's home dual against Gunnison. O'Dell is a returning state qualifier who comes from a long line of wrestlers.
" I was beating him and I got lazy in my hips and he just pulled me right over the top and stuck me," said Toothaker.
"It's a lot of pressure," said Toothaker of being the only senior. "You've got to be a leader and make sure everybody steps up and does everything right. It's different having a room full of freshmen. It's a good learning experience for all of us."
"I know what he's capable of," said Flores. "Right now he is the leader in our mat room. He never stops, he wants to be the best he can be. And hopefully that wears off on our young kids."
Hotchkiss has a 3-2 dual record. Last Friday they defeated Gunnison, 46-21.
Flores said Gunnison brought a tough team, and the score isn't indicative of its performance. The Cowboys were missing wrestlers at four weights.
The Bulldog freshmen faired well against Gunnison, with wins by Logan Mayberry (106), Colton Deluzio (120), Kaden Murray-Owens (126), Litzelman (132), and Collins (285).
Hotchkiss lost matches at 113, 138, 145 and 152 pounds, and won by forfeit at 160 and 220. There were no matches at 182 and 195.
The team has "a lot of room to grow," said Flores. "We have kids who are willing to work hard and willing to make some changes. It might not happen right away, but sooner or later these kids are going to be tough. If they stick it out they're going to be tough."blog comments powered by Disqus