The Saratoga Sun -

Grapplers have good showing at HEM, Kremmling


Brian Trautwein

Levi Weatherd works to pin opponent Adrian Cereceres of North Park.

Saratoga won 15 matches in a Quadrangular meet Thursday night at Hanna-Elk Mountain-Medicine Bow (HEM) in the first of two meets. Saratoga, HEM and North Park competed in the match.

Although the meet was more of a practice session, this was a chance for the wrestlers to get more experience under their belts.

“It’s a good opportunity to get together and get some mat time instead of just wrestling ourselves,” head coach Jared Mason said. “It’s better than beating on our own guys.”

Although the meet had only three teams, all of Saratoga’s 11 wrestlers were on the mat in three rounds of matches.

“We’ll get at least one or two matches for each kid,” Mason said. “We’ll see how it goes. I think we will do well.”

Coming out of the Soroco tourney, on Dec. 8, one wrestler in particular was on fire. At 106 pounds, freshman Bradley Bifano is a force to be reckoned with. Pinning all three of his opponents in that tournament, Bifano was the only Panther to win first place. That gave the young wrestler great momentum going into the next big event in Kremmling, Colo. last Saturday.

“That made me real excited,” Bifano said of the first place win. “ I was happy to do that.”

“I feel pretty good going into the Kremmling meet,” Bifano said. “They are pretty much the same kids as the Soroco meet, but there will be more teams there.”

“The kids continued their good wrestling over the weekend,” Mason said. “We had another good tournament placing six guys in Kremmling.”

Bifano, Thatcher Spiering and Jacob Wells all had second place finishes. Daynon Mowry, Lionzo Escobedo and Levi Weatherd also placed in the tournament.

With a big turn around in his wrestling, Wells at 285 pounds finished second in the Kremmling tourney, earning the “wrestler of the week” title in the Panther’s locker room.

Brian Trautwein

Head coach Jared Mason (right) and assistant coach Sterling Arnold look on as a Panther dominates his opponent.

“Wells looked more aggressive this week,” coach Mason said. “He seemed tentative up until this meet. There was more sparks from Jacob this past weekend. He was trying different combinations of moves that he wasn’t using up until now. He had more take downs than I’ve ever seen from him.”

The freshmen Panthers continued to wrestle well over the weekend, and the two seniors, Escobedo and Weatherd, rounded out the team’s effort with a third and fourth place spot on the podium.

“Lionzo took third and wrestled well,” coach Mason said. “His only loss was to Anthony Watt, of Meeker, Colo., and that kid was voted by the coaches the wrestler of the tournament. There is nothing wrong with that loss.”

With the Christmas break coming up next, Mason is a little concerned about staying focused.

“We will be practicing during the break,” Mason said. “We need to keep up on our conditioning. The kids get back from break and then travel to Douglas two days later. We need to keep an eye on the weight scale.”


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