Moffat County wrestling places 2 in feisty finale at state tournament
With five athletes hitting the mat for the 3A CHSAA State Championships, Moffat County High School saw a pair of them qualify for the podium, signifying a season of hard work for the Bulldog program.
Kaden Hixson placed fourth in the 106-pound weight class and Caden Call sixth at the 113 weight Saturday to wrap up MoCo’s time in the tournament.
The busiest part of the three-day tourney saw wrestlers vie for placement after being eliminated from championship contention.
Fast and furious freshman
Hixson made it as far as the consolation finals, where he faced Berthoud’s Will Moneypenny, whom he had been scheduled to face during Berthoud’s Diny Pickert Invite only to win by a medical forfeit.
Moneypenny was more than physically capable this time, however, the Spartan earning a reversal, a takedown and a near-fall against Hixson all in the first period. Hixson nearly caught up in the second with a TD and an escape, trailing only 6-5 heading into the last two minutes of the season.
A furious third period saw one reversal by Hixson and two by Moneypenny, who also got another near-fall for the 12-7 win.
Hixson, whose season record went to 42-6, had already seen another familiar face from Diny Pickert first thing Saturday morning, Sterling’s Aden Young, whom he pinned at the Berthoud event.
Young controlled him for most of the match, but Hixson used a mistake by Young to shift his weight and roll over. The second his shoulder blades hit the mat, the ref blew the whistle, prompting someone from the crowd to yell, “that was the quickest pin ever!”
“I just had to keep moving or I was going to get a stall called and give him points. I just kept moving, trying to work something, get him in the right position to score some points,” Hixson said. “I saw him hooking the leg, so I caught it and pressured into him. His head was right there, so I grabbed it and kept all my weight on him.”
Weight, wrestler — tournament record, season record; state placement
106, Kaden Hixson — 4-2, 42-6; 4th
113, Caden Call — 3-3, 33-13; 6th
120, Anthony Duran — 2-2, 28-15
152, Daniel Caddy — 2-2, 31-4
160, Pepper Rhyne — 1-2, 32-11
— MCHS wrestling placed 16th among 51 3A teams.
The Bulldog admitted he was caught off-guard by the quick whistle.
“It surprised me. I was expecting to hold him there for a little bit longer,” he said.
MCHS head coach Tyler Seislove said the breakdown of the bout was an indicator of Hixson’s reflexive thinking.
“Kaden’s capitalized a lot of times this year, waiting for guys to make a mistake. When they make that mistake, he capitalizes on it. When he catches a kid on their back, they don’t come off it very often,” Seislove said.
The defeat that took him out of placement status didn’t sit well with the Tiger, and Young slapped Hixson’s hand only to be forced to go back for the handshake.
In the consolation semifinals, Hixson was again matched with someone he’d faced before, Alamosa’s Kyler Liddell, whom he defeated at the 3A Region 1 event on the way to a regional title.
Liddell led the latest match 7-2 to close the second period, but a reversal and a near-fall by Hixson tied them up at 9-9. Hixson gained a sudden victory with a speedy takedown, also credited with a near-fall for the 13-9 win.
Solid sophomore season
Call’s Saturday run kicked off against a fellow Western Slope wrestler, Gunnison’s Devin Gomez, pinning the Cowboy in the second period.
With placement ensured, Call met Skyview’s Ezra Herrera in the consolation semis, a trying time for the sophomore Bulldog as Herrera took too many takedowns to come back from in a 7-0 decision.
Call promptly moved to the fifth-place match, where he was paired with Sterling’s Casteus Combs.
The two had previously faced off in Berthoud, with Combs gaining a close win by decision.
After a scoreless first period, Combs took over the pace with a reversal, takedown and two near-falls for the 9-0 major decision as Call finished the season 33-13.
“I was just hoping the guys would come in and give it their best effort on the mat. All our guys here, most of them are underclassmen, Kaden, Caden, Pepper and Anthony are all sophomores and freshmen. It’s a very young group,” Seislove said.
While Pepper Rhyne was out of the 160-pound action at the double-elimination tournament by Friday, Anthony Duran (120) and Daniel Caddy (152) still had a shot to place in the final day.
But, their opponents had different ideas.
In his second year at state, Duran was matched with Platte Valley’s Jonathan Malovich in the bout that would get one of them on the podium and the other an early ending.
Malovich started with a takedown, while Duran countered with a reversal.
Shortly after Duran was warned for stalling, he got a good grip on Malovich only for him to gain the escape to lead 3-2. The tally repeated in the second period with grapplers scoring the same moves as Malovich led 6-4.
A near-fall for Malovich kept him in front in points for the final moments, and though a late escape panned out for Duran, he didn’t get credit for a takedown attempt as he lacked full control with Malovich’s hand still on his leg.
While Duran ended his sophomore season 28-15 ready to move on to another year, senior Daniel Caddy saw the last match of his high school career Saturday.
A pairing with Brent Gray of Olathe seemed to favor the Bulldog, who most recently saw his Pirate opponent during the regional semifinals, where Caddy won 6-3.
However, it was a far different story this time as the two both struggled to make a move in the opening period with the story much the same in the second as Gray was officially cautioned and Caddy warned for stalling.
Gray went on to get the win and a guaranteed spot on the podium at 3-0 with a successful near-fall in the third period as Caddy ended his senior season 31-4.
Qualifying for state all four years and placing fourth in the 138 weight as a junior, Caddy finished his time in MCHS wrestling at 142-34.
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