Nine years ago, the Monticello Buckaroos rejoined the ranks of 1A athletics. Their first year back at the region wrestling tournament they came in second to Wayne High School by 19 points. Wayne had been a powerhouse in the region for many years, but the Monticello Buckaroo wrestlers were not happy being second and have worked hard to never be there again. Since that time, the Buckaroos have left no doubt who the powerhouse in the region is, building a dynasty of dominance that has yet to be brought down.
On February 8, the Monticello Buckaroo wrestlers brought home their eighth Divisional Championship in a row, continuing a tradition of excellence that has become a standard for the Buckaroo matmen.
When the final scores were tallied the Buckaroos finished with 270 points, outscoring second place Wayne by 57 points to claim the South Division title once again.
The finals were a parade of Orange and Black as nine Buckaroos lined the mat to battle for a championship. At the end of the day, seven MHS wrestlers were crowned champions.
Coach Kent Adair was rewarded for his efforts and the hard work of his team as coaches honored him as the Region Coach of the Year for the fifth time in nine years.
Buckaroo Junior Cole Eldredge made coaches stand up and take notice with his stellar performance, and was voted the tournaments Outstanding Wrestler in the upper weights.
Shandon Bradford, Hunter Bowring, Brandon Musselman, Cole Eldredge, Eric Anderson, Austin Wilcox and Parker Knudson finished the event atop the podium as Division Champions.
Bradford, Bowring, Musselman and Anderson won by fall in round one with Wilcox and Knudson having byes. In round two Musselman had a big technical fall win, 15-0 and Bradford won on points, with the rest of the Buckaroos earning their way into the finals with a fall.
Anderson brought the crowd to their feet with a huge win by fall over the number one ranked wrestler in the weight.
In the finals, Bradford fought hard in a 6-3 win followed by a 4-0 win by Bowring and a close 4-3 win for Anderson. Musselman, Eldredge, Wilcox and Knudson all won by fall in the Championship match.
Also wrestling in the finals and finishing with strong second place finishes are Jake Giles and Dailyn Warren. Warren started the day with a big technical fall win and followed beating teammate McKayd LaRose. Giles had an exciting win by fall in the semi-finals.
Falling just short of the championship round but finishing strong after tough semi-final losses to earn important third place medals are Drew Baird, Chance Weahkee, McKayd Larose, and Curtis Baird.
The Baird brothers combined for five wins by fall. Weahkee and Larose both were defeated by Buckaroo teammates on the day but had strong performances in their three wins each.
Rounding out the medals and qualifying for the State Tournament with fourth place medals are Brandin Clark and Jose Santana, who had two exciting wins by fall.
In a heartwarming tournament moment, Buckaroo Alma Beh volunteered to wrestle an exhibition match against a special needs wrestler from Bryce Valley High School. Beh gave the fellow wrestler and the crowd a reason to cheer and made Buckaroo fans proud with his loss by fall.
Despite all their hard work, five Buckaroos did not qualify for the State Tournament. Clayton Westcott, Isaiah Sheeran, Alma Beh, Dustin Christensen, and Chandler Draper all put a great effort on the mat but were unable to secure a win. Four of the five will return next season for the Buckaroos.
This weekend the Buckaroos close out the season at the State Wrestling Tournament at the Maverik Center in West Valley. The first round begins Friday at 5 p.m.