Moffat County wrestling to send 4 to state tournament following impressive regional performances |

Moffat County wrestling to send 4 to state tournament following impressive regional performances

Moffat County's Blake Juergens grapples with a Middle Park wrestler during a match in Steamboat Springs in late February. (Andy Bockelman / For Craig Press)

Moffat County wrestling will send four wrestlers to the 3A state tournament March 12-13 following an impressive two-day showing at the 3A Region 1 tournament at Pagosa Springs Friday and Saturday.

After a strong first day in Pagosa Springs, Moffat County wrestlers turned in another great day on the mats, finishing second overall as a team while seeing four wrestlers punch tickets to the state meet.

On Friday night, Kaden Hixon and Blake Juergens clinched spots in the state tournament for the Bulldogs and were joined by junior Pepper Rhyne and freshman Blake Hill on Saturday as the two finished top-2 in their respective weight classes.

Rhyne reached the final in the 160-pound weight class Saturday by way of a first round bye, a win over Grand Valley’s Jordan Cedeno, and Bayfield’s Kobe Prior. Rhyne fell in the final to Pagosa Springs’ Cameron Lucero via pinfall in 59 seconds.

Hill reached the final in the 170-pound weight class through a first round bye and then took down Grand Valley’s Cristian Barragan, and Delta’s Clay Sandridge to wrestle in the finals. Hill fell to Pagosa Springs’ Grant Aucoin via pinfall in 1:07.

Aside from the two state qualifiers Saturday, the Bulldogs saw sophomores Michael Voloshin (152) and Billy Lawton (182) finish in third, just missing out on qualifying for the state tournament.

After leading for most of the two days in Pagosa Springs, the Bulldogs fell off towards the end of the tournament as a team, finishing second overall in the 3A Region 1 standings behind Pagosa Springs. The Pirates finished in first with 217.5 points, while the Bulldogs finished 170.5 points.

The wrestlers that made it to the state competition alongside their head coach, Tyler Seislove are very excited to be making the trip to Pueblo.

“Just like always I’m really excited for the boys and if you could’ve been there and seen their faces after they qualified you could tell how excited they were,” Seislove said. “They were extremely, extremely excited to go and to have this experience that they are going to get down there.”

Hixon, Juergens, Hill and Rhyne have a week to prepare for the 3A state tournament in Pueblo at the Pueblo Events Center on March 12 and 13.

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