Rangely’s Rose wants to win that final match

Iacovetto (white)

The loss doesn’t gnaw at him, but it is one for which he’d like to atone.

Devon Rose made it all the way to the championship match of the 103-pound division at last year’s Class 2A state wrestling tournament in Denver. His 4-0 loss to Rocky Ford’s David Garcia was one of only four losses on the season for the then-sophomore at Rangely High School.

It’s provided a little bit of motivation for him as a junior. Rose has compiled a 34-6 record and the No 2 ranking by On the Mat in the 125-pound division.

Rose is one of 10 Rangely wrestlers converging on the Pepsi Center mats in Denver today for the start of the three-day state championships.

One of the reasons the Panthers are sending such large numbers is that they’ve had a full practice gym all season, a luxury at the 2A level.

“Yeah, it does help,” said Rose. “(I’ve) mostly (wrestled) people around my own weight.”

Other than that, he hasn’t changed his routine much from last season.

“I didn’t really do anything different,” he said of this season’s preparation.

Rangely finished second last week to Paonia in the Class 2A Region 1 tournament at Palisade.

Rose was one of two Panthers to win regional titles; the other was 285-pounder Kindal Cushman.

Paonia qualified the largest contingent from the Western Slope with 12 wrestlers.

The Eagles, ranked No. 1 all season by On the Mat, had four regional champions — Preston Bonine (112), Justin Iacovetto (119), Lukas Wiggins (152) and K.C. Martin (171).

Western Slope schools traditionally do well at the 2A state tournament. Paonia finished second to Grand Valley in last year’s team race.

This year should be no exception.

Western Colorado owned the 130-pound division last year, with Nucla’s Ty Sickels taking first and Paonia’s Lukas Wiggins third (Grand Valley’s Ryan Gallegos was second).

Sickels is ranked No. 1 at 135 this season; Wiggins won the regional 152-pound title.

Colten Huskey of Dove Creek won last year’s 135-pound title and is ranked first at 145. Hugh Hardman of Norwood (37-0) is the defending state 140-pound champ.

Norwood’s Stryker Lane is a two-time defending state champion. He won the 189-pound title as a sophomore for Nucla and the 215-pound title last year for the Mavericks. At 35-0, the Cornell University-bound Lane is ranked first at 215.

Justin Iacovetto took second place for Soroco as a junior last season at 112. This year he’s wrestling for Paonia, where he’s 20-0 and ranked first at 119.

The state tournament begins at 3 this afternoon. Quarterfinals are at 10 a.m. and semifinals at 7:15 p.m. on Friday.

The tournament concludes with Saturday’s Parade of Champions prior to the start of the championship matches at 6:30 p.m.


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