With 14 teams in attendance at the Butch Melton Invitational in Ignacio on Feb. 2, competition was stiff, and wins were tough to come by. Wrestlers hailing from Montezuma-Cortez, Dove Creek, Dolores and Mancos performed well, however, as individuals from all four schools secured wins.
Panthers paced by BroughtonLeading the way for what has proven to be one of the most successful Montezuma-Cortez High School wrestling teams in recent memory was 152-pound senior Matthew Broughton, who dominated five straight matches on his way to the 152-pound title.
Four of Broughton’s five wins came by way of pin, including a pin victory over Aztec High School standout Bode Wooley in the championship match. Broughton defeated Aztec’s Hunter Riddick in the semifinals.
Also putting together a solid performance for the Panthers was 182-pound senior Swayde Noyes, who won his first three matches of the tournament before falling to Nucla High School’s Will Gabriel in the semifinals. Noyes then lost to Farmington’s Zackary Small, but still finished third overall in the tournament.
Other top-four finishers for M-CHS included Kael Buffington, who finished 3-2 in the 106-pound division, Stevie Fuentes, who placed fourth in the 132-pound division, and Ethan Root, who placed fourth in the 145-pound division.
Kerwin Tom won three of his five matches and placed fifth at 170 pounds, while teammate Austin Featherman won three of his five matches and placed fifth at 120-pounds. Kale Hall, Devin Frost and Jayven Valdez also competed for the Panthers but did not place.
As a team, M-CHS finished fifth overall behind Cedaredge, Farmington, Pagosa Springs and team-champion Aztec. Fourteen total teams competed in the tournament.
Bulldogs’ Bailey earns Top 3 finishAlthough Dove Creek High School only sent three wrestlers to compete in the Butch Melton Invitational, Bulldogs fans had plenty to cheer about thanks to Gage Bailey, who won three of his five matches and finished third in the 113-pound division.
Wyatt Kennedy finished 1-3 in the 138-pound division, and Jaydon Bailey finished 0-4 in the 106-pound division. Dove Creek placed 11th overall in the tournament.
Bears’ Escarcega has solid showingEven though the Dolores High School wrestling team has been hampered by injuries this season, team members had something to cheer about, thanks to Byran Escarcega, who won two of his three matches and finished sixth in the 220-pound division.
Teammate Josh Petrow finished 0-5 in the 120-pound division, and Tezman Hackney finished 0-3 at 126-pounds. As a team, Dolores finished 13th overall.
Mancos wrestlers benefit from experience
Although no Mancos wrestlers placed at the Butch Melton Invitational, Trevor Paquin, Ty Everett and Colt Fury gained valuable experience against tough competition.
The Bluejays picked up their only win of the tournament when Fury pinned Nucla’s Michael Pfifer in a match in the 152-pound division. As a team, the Bluejays finished 14th overall.