The Monticello Buckaroo wrestling team headed to the 1A State Tournament this past weekend with a trophy on their mind, and fourth place was not an option. They came to wrestle and to win.
The Buckaroos put on a great show over the weekend, making an exciting run at a championship, forcing the “top” teams to work a lot harder, and shooting holes in all the predictions.
At the end of the two-day tournament, the MHS Buckaroos fell just 13.5 points short of a state championship, but earned the well deserved runner-up trophy with hard work, sportsmanship and a tremendous amount of heart.
It was all that a race for a title should be, neck and neck for two days, with the Buckaroos leading much of the time.
Altamont High School could see their hopes for a three-peat slipping away in an orange and black singlet.
In the end it came down to the finals. The Buckaroos had a two-point lead going in to the last round, but the Longhorns were too strong in the finals, winning six individual championships to get the narrow victory.
Rounding out the top three is Panguitch High School, who only wanted to beat the Buckaroos, but fell short for the second week in a row. In all, the Buckaroo team of 14 brought home 11 medals from the tournament. A great accomplishment and one not matched by Altamont or Panguitch, who each earned 9.
Five Buckaroos took center stage in the finals, with three finishing the night atop the podium as Champions.
It was a thrilling night for Brian Robinson, Cole Eldredge and Austin Wilcox as their goals and dreams of becoming a champion became reality.
It was equally thrilling and emotional for the people who have helped them reach the top so it seemed only fitting that they made the march to take their place as champions with their mothers by their side, escorting them to the podium.
Robinson earned his second state title with a dominating 15-0 win in the second period over Panguitch’s Sam Vasquez. Robinson cruised through the tournament pinning both early opponents on his way to the 126 pound championship.
Eldredge, a freshman, earned a strong 9-1 win in the finals over Birch of Panguitch, setting himself up for a run at being a four-time champion. Eldredge earned wins by fall in the first period of each of his early matches.
Austin Wilcox was perfect on the weekend, with three wins by fall, capping his season with a second period pin over Hathaway of Milford at 182 pounds. All three champions will be back next season for the Buckaroos.
Hunter Bowring and Brandon Musselman each were strong in the tournament and brought home well deserved second place medals. Both faced rematches from the Divisional Tournament, and both went down to the wire.
Bowring, a sophomore, took center stage in the finals for the second time at the state tournament against two-time champion Jory Owens of Panguitch.
Bowring fought hard but despite all his efforts could not overcome Owens in a tough 4-2 loss. On his way to the finals Bowring earned strong wins by fall in both early rounds.
Musselman, a freshman, was strong in the finals, facing returning state champion Cade Coles of Panguitch. Musselman was determined and put on a great show in a match that was tied at 3 at the end of the third period.
In overtime, Coles scored the takedown and the win in a heartbreaker. In the early rounds, Musselman had an exciting win by fall in only 36 seconds and a strong win in the semi finals against the Northern Division champion.
The Buckaroos brought home a host of third place medals in the hands of Justin Redd, Chance Weahkee, Tim Ryan and Nephi Barlow.
Redd came out strong with a 23 second win by fall in round one but a loss to the eventual champion put him in the consolation bracket, where he came up with a strong win by fall before an exciting win in his final match.
Weahkee pulled an exciting first round upset with a win by fall over his Altamont opponent. In his second match, he caught two-time state champion Jory Owens of Panguitch by surprise, going three full rounds and putting up a great fight in the loss.
In the consolation bracket he put up another upset, taking out the northern division champion by fall before pinning his opponent in the finals.
Ryan earned an exciting first round win by fall and followed a second round loss to a two-time state champion with an exciting fall to make the consolation finals. Tim redeemed his finals loss at the divisional tournament in an exciting win that came down to the wire and had the crowd on their feet.
Barlow earned a big win over Altamont with a pin in round one, but found himself in the consolation bracket after a loss. Barlow fought back with two exciting wins by fall, including his finals win over a wrestler who had defeated him the week before in the divisional tournament.
Bringing home fourth place medals are Jake Giles and Eric Anderson. Giles came back strong off a first round loss with back-to-back wins to earn a spot in the consolation finals.
Anderson came out strong with a win by fall in the first round, but a loss to the eventual 160 pound champion sent him to the consolation bracket where he answered with another win by fall before a loss in the finals.
Kelland Brewer, PJ Leiataua and Vincent Dalhoff each worked hard for the Bucks. Leiataua and Dalhoff each earned a win by fall in the consolation semi-finals, but came up one win short of earning a medal at the tournament.
With a roster full of young talent, the Buckaroos look forward to a strong season in 2013.