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Moffat County wrestling no underdogs at Florence tourney

Miki Klimper pins top-ranked competitor to win Husky Invite

Moffat County High School's Miki Klimper nears a pin during a home event against Coal Ridge. Klimper won the 170-pound bracket at the Mel Smith Husky Invitational, pinning 3A's top athlete in the weight class.
Andy Bockelman

Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School wrestlers were on task to prove who was top dog this weekend. wrestlers were on task to prove who was top dog this weekend.

Moffat County High School wrestlers were on task to prove who was top dog this weekend.

MCHS placed 11th of 32 teams at the Mel Smith Husky Invitational Friday and Saturday in Florence, with Miki Klimper gaining a tournament championship in the 170-pound class.

Klimper went 5-0 throughout the weekend, finding himself in the finals against Valley’s Josh Flanagan, the top-ranked grappler in his weight, as tabulated by On the Mat.

Despite Flanagan’s record of 24-2, the Bulldog athlete — himself ranked third in 170 earlier this week — said he wasn’t thinking about numbers going into the meet.

“I was just having fun,” Klimper said.

Midway through the second round, Klimper seized on an opening, got his opponent on his back and ended it for his fifth straight pin of the past two days.

Klimper, now 26-5, also won the outstanding wrestler honor among the higher weights in the tourney.

Though Klimper was the only Moffat County varsity athlete to place at Florence, the entire lineup picked up points, with both 113’s Daniel Caddy and 195’s Hugo Hernandez making it as far as the quarterfinals. Twelfth-ranked Caddy was knocked out of championship contention by No. 8 Jimmy Gonzales from Pueblo Central.

Match-ups against highly ranked athletes were frequent for the Dogs, as Dario Alexander (106), John T Peroulis (138), Drake Zimmerman (152), Elias Peroulis (182) and Toryn Hume (220) all met with charted competitors who went on to send them to the consolation side, racking up nine pins among them in the later rounds, including three falls each for Drake Zimmerman and Elias Peroulis to go 3-2 and 4-2, respectively. The two were ranked at 11th and ninth in 3A heading into Florence.

Going 3-2 with one pin and two decisions, Peroulis also was 14th in his weight, as listed by On the Mat.

Alexander was 1-2, and Hume was 2-2, each with one pin.

Ryan Zimmerman went 3-2 with three pins at 126, while Chris Moschetti — ranked 11th in 120 — and Ethan Powers (132) were each 1-2 with one pin.

Back on the Western Slope, MCHS junior varsity hit Saturday’s Vern Rose Memorial Tournament, placing seventh.

Going 3-1 overall, 120’s Isiaih Herod shook an early loss to the day’s winner, Wyatt Sharp, of Vernal, Utah, and pinned the next three opponents. Jeremiah Ziegler (113) and Drake Doherty (220) also finished third, 2-2 and 1-2, respectively, each of a win by fall.

1-2 Greg Hixson took fourth at 138 with an 11-6 decision, and Dagan White was eighth at 106, gaining one pin before an injury in his last match gave it to Coal Ridge’s Braxton Hauser.

Miguel Zaragoza (138) and Connor Winn (152) each finished the day 1-2. Winn took the major decision against teammate Jordan Vorland, who was 0-2, along with 120’s Keaton Durbin.

MCHS wrestlers next square off Thursday in Rifle, followed the next day by their final home dual, when they will host Soroco.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.


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