As the County Line Rivals wrap up their regular season at the Crowley County Tournament this last weekend, they seem to have turned the corner and are ready for Regional action in Sanford this coming Friday and Saturday. County Line scored a total of 144 points giving them the tournament championship plaque and was 40 points over the 2nd place team, Crowley County Chargers. They were clicking and came away with 3 tournament champions, 2 - 2nd place, 1 - 3rd place, 2 - 4th place, 1 - 5th place, and 2 - 6th place. That folks are how you come together to win championships.
Let's start with the champions.
KEN COX was bumped up to heavyweight to compete and probably had to drink water to make weight. He was in a 5-man round robin and his opponents were big! His first match was a quick 0:16 pin over Brady Mattoon from Ellicott. Next was Tyler Mullins from Fowler who went down in 1:24. The Calhan opponent, Ethan Dustrude, was a little longer going 2:25 before getting called pinned. The final match was against the #3 ranked wrestler in the state, Ben McCaffrey from Ellicott. The first period was a little crazy as Cox had to fight off his back, keeping McCaffrey to just back points before they ended the first two minutes. The second period, Cox chose the top position. He was able to turn his all of 285- pound opponent to his back and get the ref to slap the mat just short of the buzzer in the second period, 3:55. Cox was the 285-pound champion but also was given the Outstanding Wrestler Award at the end of the tournament.
JAMIE IBARRA was competing in a 3-man round robin in the 170-pound weight class. He didn't spend much time on the mat as Pablo Valencia from Center was called pinned in 0:40, and Jacob Burgess from Miami-Yoder was declared pinned in 1:03. Ibarra received the 1st place medal in the 170-pound weight bracket.
TREVOR RANDEL who started the season wrestling light in the 170-pound weight class but has made his way down to be a heavy 152-pound contender. The Eads senior worked his way down giving his teammates open weights to compete in their individual weight classes. Randel was wrestling in an 8-man bracket. With a first round bye he advanced to the semis wrestling, Johnny Feldmann from Custer County. Feldmann only lasted 1:12 before the ref called the match in Randel's favor. The championship match was with a tough Crowley County Charger, Jared Bauer. Randel wrestled with poise and determination and after a hard-fought time on the mat, Randel pinned his opponent in 5:07. Randel was the tournament champion at 152-pounds.
The 2nd place finishers for the day were A.J. Wilk at 160 pounds and Dawson Roesch at 182 pounds. Wilk was in a 5-man round robin and Roesch competed in a 6-man round robin bracket.
A.J. WILK wrestled one of his best tournaments getting a first match pin over Taylor Dahm from Kiowa in 0:48, and a 1:26 pin over Aaron Anderson from Custer County for his second match. His third match was against a tough Crowley County Charger, Adam Schultz. Wilk gave it his never give up try but was called pinned in 5:03. His last match was a major decision over Devin Lagasse from Ellicott, 16-6. Wilk was the 2nd place medalist at 160 pounds.
DAWSON ROESCH wrestled and won his first four matches in a total of 1:50 but went the distance with Tyson Martinez from Fowler. His first match was a 0:16 second pin over Matthew Brant from Ellicott; the second match was 1:12 with Cheyenne Bishop from Miami-Yoder; next was Merrick Vigil from Hanover in 0:16; and the fourth match was a 0:06 (that's right) pin over Lauren Pesola from Miami-Yoder. The championship match against the Fowler Grizzly was good mat time although it didn't go in Roesch's favor giving up the 7-1 decision. Roesch will perhaps meet up with him again at the Regional Tournament so he knows what to work on this week. Roesch was the 2nd place finisher in the 182-pound weight class.
Third place finisher was AIDEN MICHAEL at 132 pounds. It was great to see Michael back on the mat and he didn't disappoint in his performance for the day. It was a 16-man bracket for 132 pounds and Michael got a #4 seed placement on the bracket. His first match was a 3:19 pin over Cauy Pennington from Kiowa; then he met up with Tanner Howells from Crowley County where Michael was called pinned in 2:50. In the consolation side he met up with Seth Bergsma from Calhan who he managed to pin in 2:18, thus advancing him into the 3rd/4th place match. It was Don Rivera from Miami-Yoder that hit the Michael road block in this match as Michael won with a major decision, 9-0.
Fourth place finishers for the day were Samuel Adams and Jonathan Burbank.
SAMUEL ADAMS was wrestling in an 8-man 120-pound bracket. Adams' first match was a barn burner against Kelvin Knapp from Center. Adams was down 5-3 in the first period but outscored Knapp in the second period 4-3 so going into the 3rd period it was 7-8 in Knapp's favor. The third period it was all Adams as he got an escape and then took the Center athlete down for a takedown ending the match, 10-8. It was Jonathan McCombs from Hanover that defeated the Rival in the semi's getting the pin in 0:41. Adams came back strong with a 9-2 decision over Chelsea Garcia from Miami-Yoder. The 3rd/4th place match was against Baca County's Levi Hancock. Hancock pulled off the technical fall 16-0. Adams was the 4th place finisher in the tournament.
JONATHAN BURBANK was competing in an 8-man bracket in the 126-pound weight class. Burbank went 4:28 before getting the pin over Ricardo Vidales from Kiowa in his first match. The semis brought him face-to-face with state ranked Brendyn Nordyke from Holly. The Wildcats got the technical fall, 15-0, knocking Burbank into the consolations. Ethan Gearhart was his next opponent with the County Line Rival getting the pin in 2:03. For the 3rd/4th place match it was a nail-biter until the final buzzer, but Burbank fell short, 4-3. Burbank was awarded the 4th place medal for the day.
CADE ZORDEL was the 5th place medal winner in the 145-pound weight division. Zordel was in an 8-man bracket seeded up against #2 seed Michael Gettner from Calhan. The Calhan wrestler got the called pin in 3:33. Zordel then faced Zack Crowther from Ellicott and the Rival got the pin in 0:35. Up next against Zach Auchterlonie from Crowley County, Zordel was called pinned in 1:30. The 5th/6th place match was with Andrew Rockwell from Las Animas where Zordel fought till the finish and got the major decision, 9-0.
The 6th place finishers for the day were Tate Krentz at 106 pounds and Sam Wollert at 138 pounds.
TATE KRENTZ had a tough day wrestling in the 6-man round robin but he never gives up and wrestles with "heart" every single match. Krentz' first match was a loss by technical fall to Max Salazar from Sanford, 17-2; next was a loss by pin to Noel Rocha from Rocky Ford in 2:23; his third match was a major decision loss to Brody Despard from Byers, 14-6; next was a heartbreaking loss by decision to Kellen Kappel from Limon, 6-5; and the final match was a loss by fall to Juanito Garcia from Center in 5:18.
SAM WOLLERT was wrestling in an 8-man, 138-pound bracket. Wollert got the first match pin over Sebastian Ortega from Rocky Ford in 5:23. The semis brought forth, Ray Perez from Custer County. Wollert was called pinned in 0:53. In the consolation side Wollert lost by decision to Zeke Buker from Kiowa, 4-2. Wollert was tough in the 5th/6th place match but fell short against his first-round opponent Sebastian Ortega from Rocky Ford, 5-3.
Rival Jayce Bauer was nursing an injury, so he was not able to wrestle in the tournament but plans on competing next week. Zack Fowler is also out with an injury and it is unknown if he will be back.
The County Line Rivals will be traveling to Sanford to compete in the Regional Tournament on Friday, February 9th and Saturday, February 10th. The top 4 in each weight division will be advancing to the State Tournament the following week to be held in Denver at the Pepsi Center. GO RIVALS!!!
Photos (top to bottom): A.J. Wilk getting ready to put Devin Lagasse from Ellicott to the mat for a takedown. Dawson Roesch going for the takedown on Tyson Martinez from Fowler. Jonathan Burbank getting the pin over Ricardo Vidales from Kiowa. Courtesy Rhonda Uhland.