Wilbourn happy to be back on the mat

Wyatt Wilbourn has had a lot of success during his one and only season wrestling for Palisade High School. Wilbourn attends Plateau Valley and commutes to Palisade from Collbran every day.

Wyatt Wilbourn wasn't expecting this fun of a ride his senior year.

As a student at Plateau Valley High School, Wilbourn didn't really give wrestling a thought even though he enjoyed the sport in the past.

After wrestling as a freshman when he lived in California, Wilbourn simply concentrated on his other sport when the family moved to the Collbran area since the small high school doesn't have a wrestling team.

"I ride bulls in the spring and summer," he said. "But I really like wrestling."

When his dad heard that he could wrestle for the Palisade High School team, Wyatt was ready to jump back into the sport.

"I didn't know I could wrestle for Palisade, so I didn't wrestle my sophomore and junior years," he said.

He's shown steady improvement over the season and has beaten some high-ranked wrestlers later in the season. 

During the Screaming Eagle Tournament in Paonia a few weeks ago, he battled his way to a second-place finish at 132 pounds.

"He's really come around," Palisade coach Tanner Ridgway said. "I really wish we would have had him before his senior year."

Wilbourn is having a great time.

"I've won a handful of matches lately after coming into the season kind of out of shape," he said. "I was riding bulls and not wrestling that much. Then I got into shape wrestling with the guys, and now I've even beaten some guys that (have beaten) me before."

Going into this weekend's regional tournament, Wilbourn has a 17-9 record.

It's not an easy schedule for a Plateau Valley student to compete in Palisade.

"I drive down and back everyday for practice, it's about an hour down and an hour back. But it's a good cool down time after practice," he said.

Ridgway said Wilbourn been a great addition to the team.

"His teammates have really welcomed him and he's just having fun and wrestling hard. He's a real scrappy wrestler," Ridgway said.

As for his favorite sport, Wilbourn said the choice is easy.

"I like wrestling a lot better than riding bulls. Wrestling is a lot more competitive, it's more one-on-one with another guy," he said.

With this being his first, and final, wrestling season with Palisade, Wilbourn is enjoying every minute.

"It's been awesome, a lot of fun. My teammates have really taken me in just like I go to Palisade High School," he said. "It's meant a lot to get back into wrestling again, it was my favorite sport, so it's been a lot of fun."

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