Bronco wrestlers win Red Rocks Invitational
The San Juan High School wrestling team opened the 2023-24 season in impressive fashion this past weekend, winning the Red Rocks Invitational in Moab.
The Broncos scored 395 points to easily take the top spot among the 11 teams competing in the annual event. Durango was second with 282 points and Dove Creek took third with 219.5.
Chad Yellow, Logan Keith, JD Palmer, and Taylor Black led San Juan with individual championships. Eight additional wrestlers finished third or better, including runners-up Deklan Helquist, Lynnox Benn, Parker Snyder, Trace Bennett, and Porter Keith.
Miken Keith, Wyatt Keith, and Jared Burke wrestled well for the Broncos, earning third-place medals. Miken Keith’s circumstances were unique. He finished in a three-way tie for first at 132 pounds, but due to pin criteria he was relegated to third place.
Yellow dominated his way through the tournament, earning all seven wins by fall. Fellow Bronco JD Palmer earned six wins by fall and one by major decision.
Logan Kieth also earned six wins by fall, one by technical fall, and one by decision. Taylor Black also pinned his way through the tournament with four falls.
San Juan earned 72 pins, the most as a team at the tournament and a whopping 22 pins ahead of Durango.
Bronco coaches were very happy about what they saw in Moab. Assistant Coach Shane Musselman said, “A bunch of our young guys and first-year wrestlers did extremely well for their first time at the varsity level.
“We saw some great stuff but also plenty to work on. Thanks to all the fans who came to support this great team.”
Bronco Head Coach Steve Simpson, who’s in ninth season, said he is excited for the new season in a recent interview with the Record.
“The team is amazing this year,” he said. “We have 30 boys who are all showing great potential. I have been thrilled with the skills I have seen them exhibit so far and am excited to see how well they do once we get into our competition schedule.”
“We will field a wrestler in almost every weight class,” continued Simpson. “The only opening we will have is at 106 pounds. In fact we have a couple weights were we have more than one exciting wrestler.”
Though they began the season with the Red Rocks Invitational championship, San Juan wrestlers are still a developing group and they need solid instruction in all positions according to Coach Simpson.
“Coach Musselman and I are working hard to give them the all around skills they need and they are responding well,” he detailed.
Talking about the key opponents the Broncos are targeting this season Simpson said, “Our main target is Beaver. We will be pushing on them every chance we get and hope to steal the region title from them.
“Coach Musselman and I have great expectations for this team, which looks to be the best San Juan High School has had in many decades, both in terms of raw numbers and ability.”
The Broncos returned to Moab on Tuesday, December 5 to take on Grand County and Carbon. They’ll finish off this week at the Carbon Duals in Price Friday and Saturday, December 8-9.