All season, the Dove Creek Bulldogs wrestling team spoke of their desire to place at the state tournament.
Following a stellar weekend at the Colorado State High School wrestling tournament, all three Bulldogs qualifiers accomplished their mission.
Randolph wrestles to second-place finish
Pacing the Bulldogs with an extremely impressive state tournament performance was 132-pound junior Chance Randolph, who finished second overall.
After kicking off his tournament on Feb. 20 with a pin victory over Del Norte High School’s Tyler Martinez, Randolph advanced to the quarterfinals to face Baca County’s J.D. Chenoweth.
Trailing 3-2 late in the third period, Randolph appeared to be headed towards a devastating loss, but after scoring a dramatic takedown with five seconds left, Randolph advanced.
“I think our team has a lot better conditioning than our opponents and that helped me,” said Randolph following the match.
Faxing Norwood’s Hayden Harris in the semifinals, Randolph scored an easy 8-0 victory, placing him in the finals against Paonia High School’s Bo Pipher.
Battling Pipher from start to finish, Randolph fell just short of a state title, losing 6-3.
Even with the tough loss however, Randolph was not altogether disappointed with his finish.
“I did better than last year,” said the talented junior.
Baughman places fifth
Also wrestling well for the Bulldogs, sophomore Case Baughman turned in a fine performance, finishing fifth overall in a stacked 126-pound division.
After coasting to an easy pin victory over Rye High School’s Wesley Camper in the first round, Baughman advanced to the quarterfinals, where he defeated Rocky Ford’s Michael Estrada.
Facing off against Swink High School’s Austin Coy in the semifinals, Baughman lost 6-0 to the previously undefeated wrestler.
“(Coy just got a lead and tied (Case’s) wrists up,” said Bulldogs’ head coach Shane Baughman.
Baughman battled back through the consolation bracket however, taking fifth overall in the tournament.
Jones wraps up career on podium
Rounding out the Bulldogs’ placers, senior Nick Jones concluded his stellar wrestling career with a sixth-place finish.
After opening the tournament with a 15-9 decision victory over Fowler High School’s Rhett Hinkle, Jones advanced to the quarterfinals where he was defeated 7-3 by eventual state champion Ryan Nordyke.
After rebounding to defeat Sargent High School’s Cordell Curtis in the consolation bracket, Jones went on to win one more match before dropping the final two matches of his high school career to place sixth overall.
Overall, the season turned out to be a successful one for the Dove Creek Bulldogs, who will look to continue their tradition of success next season.