Right shoulder injury not hampering hopes of state title repeat for Meeker’s Casey Turner

DENVER — Meeker senior Casey Turner has won his three Class 2A 170-pound state tournament matches by pin.

Not too surprising considering he’s a returning state champ. But as one of only three returning state champions from the Western Slope (Josiah Rider, Grand Junction; Myles Wilson, Glenwood Springs), Turner has been a mystery for most of the season.

A right shoulder injury from football season is still a concern and he came into the tournament with only a 14-3 record.

“I tried to tape it, tried to brace it, at this point we’re just going for broke. I babied up to this point, now it’s time to go hard,” Turner said Friday night.

It didn’t appear that Turner had any chance at a second gold medal.

But he does.

After his pin in 1 minute, 29 seconds in the semifinals, Turner will battle Norwood/Nucla’s Trenton Armintrout tonight for the crown.

Turner beat Armintrout early in the season but has lost to the senior twice since — once when Turner defaulted with an injury.

“I think I’ll come out with the same approach I do in every match but this match will be a little different,” Turner said. “It’s for the state title against someone I lost to, so it definitely lights a little fire under me.”

He wasn’t one of the top four seeds after he made the regional finals but defaulted the 170-pound finals to Armintrout when he decided to not risk re-injuring the shoulder before state.

Meeker had a splendid season in football, advancing to the 1A state title game, and Turner wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.

“I wish I wouldn’t have gotten hurt but we had a great team in football, and I like to give it all in both sports,” Turner said last weekend. “It’s pretty cool when both teams are so good.”

Turner pinned the top seed, Diego Reyes of Rocky Ford, in the quarterfinals, and then pinned Merino’s Jon Ramey in the semifinals.

Armintrout kept up his end of the deal for an all-Western Slope final with three pins to advance to the title match.

Last year, Turner won the state title at 152 when he beat a different Norwood/Nucla wrestler, Hayden Harris.

Harris is in the 152 finals this year, too.

Turner’s past five matches, including two at regionals, are four first-period pins and one second-period pin.

He looks healthy but he knows the shoulder could still be a problem.

“Technically, it won’t get better until I have surgery,” Turner said.


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