Wranglers fight way to fifth at Tournament of Champions

PINEDALE – The Wrangler wrestling team kicked off 2022 at one of the largest meets in the region – the Tournament of Champions hosted by Uintah High School in Vernal, Utah, on Jan. 7-8.

Pinedale placed fifth overall with 119.5 points in a field consisting of 38 teams representing programs from Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. The Wranglers beat out significantly larger opponents from schools like Grand Junction, Colo., and programs from the Wasatch Front in Utah.

Pinedale senior Cody Phelps won the championship in the 132-pound weight division. Fellow senior Wyatt Madole took silver in the 157-pound classification. Both brackets included more than 30 athletes.

“The Pinedale wrestling team did an outstanding job at the Tournament of Champions,” said head coach Kendall Horrocks. “Everyone wrestled their hearts out and we couldn’t be happier. We were so excited to come to such a large tournament with so many big schools and come out of it in fifth place as a team.”

Sophomore Dustin Larsen represented Pinedale in the junior varsity tournament, earning the championship in the 132-pound weight class.

“Dustin wrestled well and we are very happy for him,” said Horrocks.

The Tournament of Champions also featured a girls’ tournament. Freshman Mya Swain competed for the first time in the 115-pound division.

Junior Maddox Gehlhausen placed fourth in the girls’ 110-pound division.

“Maddox did such a good job and was so excited,” Horrocks added.

On Saturday, wrestlers not advancing into the top eight on Friday were able to compete in the “second chance” tournament.

Tournament of Champions results

Phelps pinned his opponents from Utah and Colorado in the opening rounds to advance to the quarterfinals.

Squaring off against Kobey Chism from Ranely, Colo., Phelps won by fall 1 minute, 45 seconds into the match.

In the semifinals, Phelps took down Blayne Coleman of Rawlins in the second period.

The first-place match came down to the wire with Phelps battling Byron Christiansen of Emery High School in Utah through three close periods. Phelps pulled out the win by a 5-3 decision to take the championship.

Madole entered the quarterfinals against Kelton Smith of Payson, Utah, pinning his opponent 58 seconds into the second period.

Moving into the semifinals, Madole faced Uintah’s Christian Hartle on the mat. A neck-and-neck, three-period bout ended in victory for Madole by a 10-8 decision.

Madole fell to Connor Blunt of Meeker, Colo., in a closely contested first-place match with Blunt pulling out the win by a razor-thin 10-9 decision.

Sophomore Jake Hammer came in fifth place in the 126-pound weight class, defeating Kasey Curtis from North Sanpete in Utah by a 10-8 decision.

Senior Colton Gehlhausen placed seventh in the 150-pound division, beating Trenten Hess of Pleasant Grove, Utah, by a 5-4 decision.

In junior varsity, Larsen pinned Rawlins’ Diego Buckingham 1:28 into the quarterfinal match. Advancing to the semifinals, Larsen won by fall over Easton Earl of Timpanogos High School in Orem, Utah.

Larsen fought through three periods in the first-place match, defeating Uintah’s Dylan Boren by a 10-4 decision.

Maddox Gehlhausen beat Madison Montoya from Union High School in Utah by fall in the first consolation round. She went on to defeat Beka Wagner of Uintah in the consolation semifinal.

Second chance results

Freshman Garrett Haley earned the second-chance championship in the 126-pound weight class. He beat Jefferson Than from West High School near Salt Lake City in the first-place match by a 6-0 decision.

Senior Skyler Erickson took second place in the 175-pound division, pinning Green River’s Alexander Cooley 27 seconds into the semifinal match.

Freshman Cash McCann earned silver in the 285-pound weight class, beating John Platt of Kemmerer in the semifinals by a 3-0 decision.

Junior Ian Cantu came in fourth in the 215-pound division, pinning Kemmerer’s Aaron Despain in the quarterfinal match.


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