|Six Dragons place; four headed to state|
|Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt|
Four Dragons made it to regional wrestling championship matches last weekend, resulting in two champs and two runners-up.
All four will head to the Colorado State Wrestling Championships Feb. 17-19 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Skyler Dittmer at 135 lbs. and Broc Pelle at 171 claimed regional champion honors, while Mark Edmonds (125) and Parker Redfern (160) placed second to earn berths in the state tourney brackets.
Regional action was held Feb. 11-12 at NJC in Sterling.
State qualifying HHS wrestlers and their coaches are pictured from left, front row,
Astolfo Rojo (189 lbs.) and Jesus Hermosillo (215) were one place short of qualifying for state, but can be proud of a strong finish to their seasons.
Hermosillo had not wrestled the fourth-place finisher in the tourney and was allowed to challenge Luke Davis of Fleming for the trip to state. Davis retained his tourney berth with a 5-0 win over the Dragon wrestler in the challenge match.
“We had a great tournament,” said coach Jack Garrison, noting the boys were right where they needed to be. While it would have been nice to have a couple more team members headed to state, Garrison is well-pleased with the team members’ accomplishments.
Akron won the team trophy at regionals, followed by Yuma, while Holyoke placed fifth.
Individual match results
Individual match results from last weekend’s regional tournament follow:
125 lbs.—Mark Edmonds placed second. He pinned Tryston Keefe of Wiggins in 2:35, pinned Levi Hottinger of Akron in 1:19 and lost a 4-7 decision in the championship to Alex Klopp of Yuma.
“Mark had a heck of a good tournament,” said Garrison. It was a disappointing finish, however, for the returning state champion.
Klopp and Edmonds were tied 4-4 going into the final period of the championship match. Edmonds will clearly be looking to avenge that loss, and hopes to meet Klopp again in the state championship.
135 lbs.—Skyler Dittmer placed first. He pinned Khy Rigel of Fleming in 5:35 and won a 16-11 decision over Matt Seifert of Yuma in the championship.
“Skyler has lots of guts and just keeps coming at you,” said coach Garrison, praising the Dragon senior’s wrestling.
Dittmer trailed 2-6 after one period of action in Saturday’s championship. He quickly turned that into a 7-6 lead in the second, but when the period ended he was down by three, 8-11.
Dittmer tied the score at 11-11 in the third period and never looked back, putting Seifert on his back as the match ended in a 16-11 victory.
Dragon Skyler Dittmer has Fleming’s Khy Rigel on his back in the
160 lbs.—Parker Redfern placed second. He won a 6-2 decision over Travis Groves of Wiggins, upset #1 regional seed Roland Valadez of Lyons with a pin in 1:28 and lost an 8-12 decision to Kale Hubert of Akron in the finals.
Garrison was full of praise for Redfern, citing his effort to come back and beat the #1 seed after having been out of competition since before Christmas. Not only was it a win, but a pin in the first period.
“He has good skills and wrestled very smart,” said Garrison.
Redfern led 3-2 at the end of the first period of his championship match, but trailed 3-5 heading into the final two minutes.
Fighting hard, he tied it at 5-all, then fell behind, then tied it again at 7-7, but Akron’s Hubert took it from there to claim the 12-8 win.
Broc Pelle puts Yuma’s Tyler Korf on his back in second-period action of the 171-lb.
171 lbs.—Broc Pelle placed first. He pinned Ryan Rhea of Akron in 1:28, pinned Justin Stone of Fleming in 1:14 and won a 4-2 decision in the championship over Tyler Korf of Yuma, who was seeded first in the regional tourney.
“If I had to give a tough-man award, it would go to Broc,” said coach Garrison. He added Pelle is so coachable. “He’s like a sponge—he absorbs everything you tell him.”
After winning first-period pins in his first two matches, Pelle wrestled tough in the final bout.
Neither Korf not Pelle scored in the first period, but Pelle held a 3-0 lead heading into the third stanza.
Korf put two on the scoreboard before Pelle added another two to claim the 4-2 victory and a regional championship.
189 lbs.—Astolfo Rojo placed fifth. He was pinned in 1:36 by Jacob Linnebur of Byers, who placed fourth; pinned Tyler Horalek of Fleming in 4:48; lost a 0-17 tech fall to Levi Campfield of Wray who placed third; and pinned Marcos Rodriguez of Lyons in :37.
Astolfo Rojo wastes no time in his quest for fifth place at 189 lbs. Saturday. He pinned
Garrison was full of praise for sophomores Rojo and Hermosillo who entered the season with very little wrestling experience. “What a great improvement those two have made,” the coach added.
Rojo had never wrestled before and had to learn everything like a beginning PeeWee wrestler. Then he started winning some matches. “For a kid who had never wrestled to be one place away from the state tournament speaks loudly,” said Garrison.
215 lbs.—Jesus Hermosillo placed fifth. He was pinned in 5:26 by Josh Johnson of Stratton, who placed second; pinned Lane Venzke of Wiggins in :21; lost a 2-16 decision to Preston Harms of Akron; and won a 10-0 decision over Matt Sullivan of Wray.
Challenging fourth-place Luke Davis of Fleming for the chance to go to state, Hermosillo was defeated 0-5.
Hermosillo wrestled as an eighth grader, but was relatively new to the sport. “He’s a very strong kid,” said coach Garrison, citing the sophomore’s achievement this season.
Jesus Hermosillo puts the squeeze on Matt Sullivan of Wray. The Dragon
Coach Garrison also recognized the efforts of senior Perry Garrett and sophomores Ben Martinez and Spencer Kotch who have fought hard all year. “They wrestled their hearts out for us,” said the coach.
140 lbs.—Ben Martinez was pinned in 3:58 by Jacob Lechman of Sedgwick County, who went on to place second; and was pinned in 4:40 by Peyton Ritchey of Wray who placed sixth.
Coach Garrison called Martinez a very skilled wrestler. He’s been wrestling at a weight class heavier than he could these past two years, but never complained, said the coach, noting his appreciation for that attitude.
152 lbs.—Spencer Kotch was pinned in 3:03 by Jourdan Hottinger of Akron, who went on to claim the championship; and was pinned in :51 by Tioma Frihauf of Wiggins, who placed fifth.
Coach Garrison noted Kotch made lots of improvement this year.
275 lbs.—Perry Garrett was pinned in 1:23 by Zach Jackson of Wray, the eventual champion; and was pinned in 4:59 by David Plute of Lyons, who placed sixth.
Garrett finished the season, and Garrison is proud of that.
Coach Garrison looks for a good returning crew next season, and is optimistic it will be a good year, especially if they can get in the weight room.