Eagle Wrestlers Complete Season at State Tournament
By Rhonda Uhland
Thursday, 896 of the state's finest wrestlers entered the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado with visions of becoming a 2017 State Champion. For 56 of these wrestlers their dreams came true and for one wrestler he has lived this dream four years in a row. Hunter Willis was the state's 20th, 4 time, state champion. As the Pueblo County wrestler was ending his championship match with a major decision 13-0 victory, the spectators came to their feet to honor his young man's outstanding achievement. He was gracious to his fans, bowing in thanks for their support. That is wrestling at its very best!
Rhett Uhland was making his second state appearance for his high school career and although he didn't make the final round he did get in one win at the big house to add to his list of memorable matches. Uhland started the tournament against Evan States from Byers and although he had bettered the bulldog on two other occasions this time States won by a very narrow, 2-1 margin. Uhland's second match was with Cameron Fury from Mancos. Wrestling strong the Eagle came away with the 12-6 decision. His final match of the tournament was with Brandon O'Hern from Cedar Ridge. Uhland unfortunately was caught and went to his back in 0:32. Uhland ended his wrestling season with a 27-16 record and will be greatly missed next year.
Making his third state trip, Chance Fowler went 2 and 2 for the tournament. Wrestling strong during his Thursday matchup against Dawson Roesch from McClave he managed a major decision 8-0 victory. Carlos Tarin from Wray was lucky to catch his arm during a scramble and Fowler was forced to his back in 1:26. This dropped the Eads athlete into the consolation side of the bracket against Marshall Hornung from Stratton. Hornung was a 4th place, state placer at last year's state tournament so Fowler knew he had his hands full with the rival Eagle. Scoring back and forth it was the Eads Eagle that got the win after six minutes on the mat, 10-8. The final match of Fowler's high school career was on the mat with P.J. Schurr from Crowley County. Fowler tried to fight off his back for a length of time but with one second left on the clock in the third period (1:59), Fowler's season was over. Fowler made it to Saturday morning of the tournament but was one match short of placing. This senior leaves with a 24-7 record and will be missed next year as well.
The lone junior for the team, Trevor Randel was also making his second trip to the big house and this time determined to not come home empty handed. Things started off great for the Eagle as he pinned his opponent, Cody Martinez from Del Norte, in 1:09. Randel was now in the quarters going up against Jered Hulteen from Cedar Ridge. It was a battle to the finish but Hulteen was the winner with the 7-5 decision. This dropped Randel into the consolation side going up against Cade Hillman from Wray. Hillman didn't fare as well as he was pinned in 2:23. Next up was Patrick Roth from Byers who Randel had beaten a few times earlier in the season. This makes things tricky as he could overlook this senior but Randel wasn't about to quit wrestling this season and got another win by fall in 2:06. Randel was now in the medal round. If he wins his next match he wrestles for 3rd/4th and if he loses the next match it is for 5th/6th. He faced Hunter Garcia from Meeker who had made it to the semis but was knocked off by Hayden Harris from Norwood/Nucla, who ended up being the State Champion.
The community can be so proud of these athletes, Ben Splitter included, as they have represented their area, their school, their families, and themselves with such integrity that when people talk about them they have nothing but good things to say. That says a lot about our wrestling program.
Okay just to let all the wrestlers know, "Go home, eat your Wheaties because next season starts right now!" See you next year. Go Eagles!!
Photos courtesy Rhonda Uhland. Top-bottom: Rhett Uhland working over Cameron Fury from Mancos. Chance Fowler putting on his leg band for the final time in his high school career. Trevor Randel getting back points against Jered Hulteen from Cedar Ridge.