The Middle Park Wrestlers finished sixth out of a field of 15 teams at the Florence High School Invitational Wrestling Tournament last Saturday, Jan. 16. Four of the Panther Wrestlers reached the championship match only to be denied the gold medal.
"We wrestled well in Florence. Our only losses came in the finals against outstanding opponents. We will need to improve over the last half of the season, however, if we want to reach the podium at the state tournament", said coach Cal Cherrington. Brandon Strang, 103 pounds, won three matches before losing to A.J. Rees of Discovery Canyon in the title match. Shelby Garrett,145 pounds, made his fifth finals of the season, defeating three opponents, but was beaten by Jared Holman of Centari High School. Nathan Birdseye, 152 pounds, also won his first three matches on the day before losing to defending state runner-up Iver Sandoval also from Centari High School. Brian Macchione, who moved up from 189 pound. to the 215 pound weight class this past weekend, made his way to the title match by defeating two opponents soundly. Jared Goad, who is ranked number one in the 215-pound weight class, beat Macchione in the finals to take the 215-pound title.
Cody Garrett was the only other Middle Park Wrestler to win a match Saturday. Mitch Steffen, Conor Peters and Greg Griffon were eliminated from competition after two matches.
This week the Panther Wrestlers will be in Walden Thursday night for a dual with Hayden, Saratoga and North Park. On Friday, they travel to Buena Vista to face off against Hotchkiss and Buena Vista, then of Saturday the grapplers will be in Leadville for the Lake County High School Invitational Tournament.