TORRINGTON – The Torrington Trailblazers had 13 wrestlers place at the 3A East Regional Tournament in Wheatland over the weekend and qualified 14 wrestlers for the state tournament.
“We have a very young team. We had two seniors and a junior place and the rest are sophomores so we are very young,” coach Doyle Meyer said. “Other than our open weights, we qualified someone in every weight class and that’s great for our team.”
Trey Rodriguez represented Torrington well over the weekend, taking the top spot at 120 pounds in Wheatland. He won all four of his matches by pin. He pinned Jacob Rhodes (Newcastle/ Upton) in the first period and Jonathan Hagen (Thermopolis) in the second to advance to the semi-finals.
Rodriguez picked up a pin over Worland’s Vance Curtis in the first period in the semi-finals. In the first-place match, the Blazer got the pin over Dallas Lopez (Buffalo) with 20 seconds remaining in the third period.
“I think he has as good a shot as anybody at 120 pounds,” Meyer said of Rodriguez’s chances at the state tournament.
Rodriguez was the only Blazer to reach the finals, but Torrington had six wrestlers reach the third-place match. At 120 pounds, Quentin Meyer took third behind Lopez and Rodriguez. Meyer picked up an opening win by pin in the first period over Carden Dowse (Douglas), before losing to Lopez by a 9-3 decision in the semi-finals.
In the semi-finals of the lower bracket, Meyer won by a 9-4 decision over Hagen. Meyer beat Wheatland’s Ethan Read by a 6-2 decision to capture third.
Jacob Polkowske (138) also picked up a third-place finish. His weekend started with a decision win over Zach Schuessler (Newcastle/ Upton), 9-3, before he fell to Buffalo’s Ben Elmlinger. Polkowske won his next two matches by major decision, beating Kanyon Cecil (Douglas) 8-0 and Garbiel Munoz (Rawlins) 12-0 in the third-place match.
At 145 pounds, Casey Britton snagged a podium finish. He won his first two matches of the weekend, pinning Rawlins’ Beau Hines in the third period and beating Thermopolis’ Koy Myers by an 11-4 decision. Buffalo’s Jake Waterson pinned Britton in the second period.
Britton rattled off two-straight wins in the consolation bracket. He beat Hines for the second time, but pinned him a period earlier. The Blazer picked up a win in the third-place match over Myers by injury forfeit.
Lane Johnson (285) was the last Blazer to pick up a third-place finish. His weekend started with a loss to Nate Kern (Worland) by pin in the second period. Johnson went on to beat Aaron Williams (Buffalo) by a 6-0 decision. He picked up a win over Wheatland’s Cody Cagle by injury forfeit to take third.
“I fully expect him to contend for a state championship,” Meyer said of Johnson.
Chase Dominguez (160) reached the third-place match, but could not take the bronze. He suffered an injury in his first match and lost by a 4-3 decision to Anthony Graves (Buffalo), dropping him to the lower bracket. After the opening loss, Dominguez put together three wins. He pinned Chance Watt (Buffalo) in the second period and Eduardo Troioni (Douglas) in the first, before getting his revenge on Graves, beating him by a 4-1 decision. Dominguez went the distance in the third-place match against James Moberly (Newcastle/ Upton), but lost 3-1.
“I’d have to give our grittiest an gutsiest performance to Chase Dominguez in his quarterfinals match,” Meyer said. “It was a gritty performance from a junior who could have been out with the injury he had, but he came back to finish fourth.”
Tristan Kingsley went the distance in three of his five matches at 126 pounds on his way to a fourth-place finish. He pinned his first opponent, Chase White (Thermopolis), in the third period and advanced to the semi-finals with a win by a 11-10 decision over Alan Baker (Newcastle/Upton).
Buffalo’s Cole Reiner ruined Kingsley’s shot at the title by pinning him in the second period. Kingsley continued on in the lower bracket with a win over Aaron Braun (Rawlins), 12-4. In the third-place match, Baker exacted his revenge on Kingsley, beating him by a 10-1 major decision.
Austin Fox (132) picked up a sixth-place finish. He lost his first match by a one-point decision, 6-5, before getting a pin in the second period. In the third round of the consolation bracket, Fox was pinned in the second period, ending his weekend.
Jakob Brott (195) and Brandon Bennick (220) both recoded a seventh-place ranking. They each started the weekend with a win by pin, before losing their next two matches. Brott’s two losses came by pin in the second period and Bennick lost by pin in the second and a 5-2 decision.
“Brandon Bennick was 10 seconds away from a third and fourth place match,” Meyer said. “That is a huge improvement from where he was last year.”
Nathan Davis (152), Josh Kingsley (160) and Ryan Walson (170) were the final Blazers to place, with all three taking eighth in their weight classes. Josh Kingsley had two of his matches go the distance, going 2-2 on the weekend. Walson went 1-2 with his win coming by pin in the second period. Davis posted a 3-2 record in Wheatland, with two of his wins coming by pin and the other coming by rule over fellow Blazer Kevin Ferguson.
Gavin Garner (126), Pake Haun (132), Brett Posten (138), Carlos Fitzwater (145), Ferguson (152) and Alejandro Chavarria (170) rounded out the Torrington athletes in Wheatland. All six of the remaining Blazers suffered two straight losses, ending their weekend early. Chavarria did draw a qualifying spot for the state tournament so he will join the other 13 Blazers in Casper this weekend.
The Blazers racked up 119 team points in Wheatland, putting them sixth at the tournament as a team. Douglas took the top spot with 235.5 points.
The 14 wrestlers that qualified for the state tournament hit the road for Casper. The first round of action starts at 9 a.m. on Friday.