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RHS wrestling invite features top talent

RIFLE – Other than taking a long trip to a regional meet, Saturday’s Rifle Invitational shapes up as one of the best events featuring state-ranked wrestling talent prior to the February showdowns.

Four of the 12 teams scheduled to compete are ranked among the state’s Top 10 prep wrestling teams in the current “On The Mat” poll.

If that’s not enough to pique your interest, try this.



Fifteen wrestlers are also listed on the individual rankings at various weights. And with so many outstanding wrestlers on display, that could lead to some interesting matches as the day-long event unfolds at the Bear Lair.

Host Rifle is ranked No. 8 in Class 4A. Other ranked teams in Saturday’s lineup include Moffat County, the No. 1 team in 4A this season and the current two-time defending classification state team champion. Nos. 1 and 2 from the Class 2A ranks, Nucla and Meeker will also be on hand.



Other participating teams at the Rifle Invite include Erie, Grand Junction Central, Palisade, Pueblo Centennial, Montezuma-Cortez, Rangely, Summit, and Steamboat Springs.

Top individuals include Rifle’s Anthony Alfini and Jesse Long, ranked Nos. 2 and 3 at 171 and 160 pounds, respectively.

Moffat County and Nucla bring three state-ranked wrestlers to the tournament.

Ty Grandbouche is the 4A’s No. 2 wrestler at 145 pounds. Brandon Duarte and Trevor Slone are No. 3 at 171 and 215, respectively.

Nucla’s Mikael Smith is No. 1 in the 119-pound, Class 2A state poll. He will be joined by fellow ranked teammates Autumn Boss (No. 3, 189 pounds) and Wade Garvey (No. 4, 140).

Meeker has two Top 5 wrestlers on board, as does Palisade.

The Cowboys rosters includes Trent Randall, No. 1 at 112 pounds in Class 2A and Lee Overton, No 2 at 189. Palisade, a Class 4A school, stars Tyler Wist of Palisade (No. 2, 135), and Travis Bounds (No. 3, 189).

Other ranked wrestlers scheduled to compete are Lyle Benally of Cortez, currently No. 4 at 125 pounds in 4A rankings, and Steamboat heavyweight Will Zimmerer, the No. 4 wrestler in 4A at the 275-pound division.

Saturday’s format is different from past years. Instead of individual weight brackets, the 12 teams will square off in a series of dual meets against each other in four pools.

There will be four mats in the gym with action going on simultaneously throughout the day.

The first, second and third-place teams, according to win-loss records, from the pool standings will be placed into championship, 5th, and 9th place brackets.

Pool A consists of Rifle, Summit and Montezuma-Cortez. Palisade, Central and Rangely are in Pool B. Pool C features Moffat County, Erie and Pueblo Centennial. Teams in Pool D are Steamboat, Meeker and Nucla.

First-round pool match get underway at 8:30 a.m. Championship bracket semi-final matches are scheduled for 1 p.m. The team championship dual meet begins at 4 p.m.

Contact Phil Sandoval

at 945-8515, Ext. 538

sports@postindependent.com


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