Maverick Duals turn out to be big success

Returning Central HS state champ Matthew Gurule positions Chad Peterson of Rangley for a pin.

Despite being short one team, the inaugural Maverick Duals wrestling tournament at Mesa State College turned out to be a success.

Perhaps most importantly, the tournament, which drew 11 teams from throughout the state, gave wrestlers an opportunity to compete in five matches Saturday.

Legacy, ranked fourth in Class 5A in this week’s On the Mat ratings, took the top prize. The Lightning won all five duals, including the first-place match against Paonia 50-21.

The 11 teams (Glenwood Springs was a last-minute scratch) wrestled four rounds of pool play, then wrestled a final place match.

Paonia pulled to within 20-15 of the Lightning in the championship dual, but Legacy won four consecutive matches take command.

“I thought we wrestled a little sloppy in that last round,” Paonia coach Andy Pipher said. “They just can’t go to their backs.”

Hotchkiss went 4-1, defeating Central 39-38 in the third-place match.

“We had a good tournament,” Bulldogs coach Glen Suppes said. “I’m proud as hell of my kids.”

Hotchkiss had pool-play victories over Norwood, Holy Family and Dolores Huerta before defeating the Warriors.

“That’s the beauty of this sport,” Suppes said. “It doesn’t matter what classification.”

The Bulldogs were missing a couple of wrestlers, including Michael Beard, the top-ranked 189-pounder in 3A, so Suppes was happy with the results.

“Central is a good, good team and they deserve all the respect they’ve gotten,” he said after the third-place match.

The outstanding wrestler award in the lower weights went to two-time state champion Hugh Hardman, a 145-pounder from Norwood (he’s ranked

No. 1 at 140 by On the Mat). He won four matches by pin and the other by technical fall.

Hardman echoes Suppes’ comments about a multi-classification tournament.

“Once we’re out there, everyone says you can’t compete,” he said of going against the larger schools. “It shows we can compete, and that’s huge.”

Hardman has made a verbal commitment to wrestle at the University of Northern Colorado next year.

“What I’m working on (this season) is college moves,” he said. “My style is good for high school.”

What he hopes to learn is how to become a more defensive wrestler, a skill he believes he’ll need in college.

Hardman is happy to have a full practice gym this season, something new during his career.

“Everyone is pushing everyone,” he said of the third-ranked Mavericks.

The outstanding wrestler award for the upper weights went to his teammate, Stryker Lane, who’s also a two-time defending state champ.


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