Moffat County wrestlers send 2 to semifinals for Tournament of Champions
At least two members of the Moffat County High School varsity wrestling lineup are guaranteed to place in the top six after the first day at Uintah High School’s Tournament of Champions.
And, at least one of them is feeling satisfied with his outcome on a more personal level.
Senior Daniel Caddy experienced a repeat of his junior season during the last bout Friday at TOC when — after a bye round and a pin of Duchesne’s Taylor Lisonbee — he was matched with Paonia’s Zeb Etter in the 152-pound quarterfinals.
Caddy — recently determined third in the state and second in the region in his weight class by On the Mat Rankings — experienced his only loss so far this season in a defeat by decision to Etter at December’s Warrior Classic. The two wound up being matched again in the third-place match, only for Caddy to get the win by forfeit with Etter nursing an injury.
The scenario was déjà vu for another reason; last year saw Caddy paired with then-senior Sackett Chesnik — also of Paonia — in the Warrior, with Caddy taking the bronze as a result, later meeting at TOC, where Chesnik won the rematch.
However, Friday’s match in Utah went to the MoCo kid this time, and Caddy held little back against Etter, earning two takedowns, a near-fall and a reversal in the 9-0 major decision to move on to the semifinals.
As for the other Bulldog grappler moving forward in the championship brackets, the amount of drama wasn’t nearly as great, but he wasn’t complaining.
Freshman Kaden Hixson — who placed fifth in Warrior’s 106 weight class — was the only Bulldog to go 3-0 in the first half of TOC, with a pin of Delta’s Kyle Chaffin and earned a 7-4 decision over Pinedale’s Tristan Haley to get set up in the quarters.
Hixson was paired with Montrose’s Kamron Alegria, whom he had not faced this season, though the Indian defeated Hixson’s teammate Brody Wiser during the Tiger Duals.
A 9-4 decision against Alegria set up Hixson for the Saturday semis.
Wiser was also in the 106 quarterfinals, though back-to-back falls for the freshman Bulldog in earlier rounds put him up against Juab’s Kaden Ercanbrack, who pinned him at the 1:43 mark.
The fourth Moffat County grappler in the quarters was Pepper Rhyne at the 160 weight, who got there after an 18-2 technical fall and 7-2 decision.
Rhyne, a sophomore, grappled with Paonia senior Grey Neal, and though he picked up a near-fall and a reversal in the third period, he couldn’t catch up with the Eagle’s early lead as Neal won 7-4.
Wiser and Rhyne will each fight through the consolation brackets Saturday to finish as high as third place.
Despite early losses in the double-elimination several more MoCo athletes remain alive in the varsity consolations, including Caden Call (113), Anthony Duran (120), Ryan Duzik (132), Dagan White (138), and Daniel Cruz (182).
Craig Press will have a larger recap.