GRAND JUNCTION — Cole Baughman was called for stalling. And he didn’t like it.
The one point in the 120-pound regional final cut the Dove Creek junior’s lead to 4-1. It was the only point he’d give up and the stall call did little to derail or slow down Baughman’s quest for his second-straight regional title.
The cat-quick Bulldog then knifed in for his third takedown of the match. Now in complete control, he flipped Paonia’s Blake Duval onto his back scoring a near fall.
At the end of one period, it was 9-1 and full speed ahead to the 120-pound regional title.
Baughman continue to dominate the match, easily beating Duval, 12-1.
Baughman didn’t think the referee’s call was correct but he didn’t let it impact him.
“You don’t like to be called for not doing anything when you really are,” he said with a shrug.
Baughman notched Dove Creek’s lone regional title out of four wrestlers in the finals.
Taking second for the Bulldogs were 106-pounder Nick Jones, Chance Randolph at 113 pounds and 132-pounder Tyler Ebberts.
Every Bulldog faced a Paonia wrestler in the finals. The powerhouse Eagles — ranked No. 1 in Class 2A — cruised to the regional team title with 282 points, and advanced all 14 of their wrestlers to state. The Eagles had six regional champs. Dove Creek finished in second in the team standings with 158 points.
Every Dove Creek wreslter in the finals had a chance to win.
Jones lost a tough match to Josh Altman, 8-6. Jones took a 2-0 lead but fell behind 7-2 after two before mounting a strong comeback in the final period. It was the third match between the two closely matched competitors this season, with Altman now holding a 2-1 advantage.
Randolph also lost by two, coming up just short to Jesse Reed, 6-4.
Ebberts had a grueling back-and-forth match with Ty Coats before falling 11-8. He had Coats on his back briefly for a near fall but couldn’t quite finish the match.
A total of nine Bulldogs will be heading to next weekend’s state tournament in Denver.
Dalton Randolph (138), Wyatt Applin (160), Chance Johnson (182) and heavyweight Tyson Smith all took third place at regionals.
Jared Galyean (220) earned a trip to state with a fourth-place finish.
Baughman, Jones, Ebberts, Randolph and Johnson are all returning to the state tournament. Baughman and Jones placed sixth last year.
This year, Baughman is heading to Denver full of confidence and hoping to make it to the title match..
“My goal is to be in the finals, just like everyone else. This year, I stayed in position better, and I tried not to go to my back as much and I think that has helped me a lot,” he said.
Dove Creek coach Shane Baughman, who is also Cole’s dad, was satisfied with the team’s performance.
“This region is tough. Overall I’m pretty proud of these kids. Next weekend everyone is 0-0, so we’ll see what happens,” he said.
Dolores to send four to state
The Dolores Bears will send four wrestlers to the Class 2A state tournament, including Wyatt Wallace, who picked up a second place at regionals.
Wallace had a taxing match against Paonia’s Kyler Bear in 160-pound final. Wallace, a senior, used his quickness to take an early 4-2 lead. Trailing 8-7 in the third, Wallace took a short-lived 10-8 lead as the match was winding down. But Bear regained the advantage and got Wallace on his back for a pin at the 5:37 mark.
Also going to state for the Bears will be Wyatt Wade at 126 and Richard Belt at 220. Both battled to third-place finishes.
Wyatt Mattausch (132) placed fourth.
Belt earned a thrilling second-period pin over Dove Creek’s Galyean, while Wyatt dominated his final three opponents at regionals, winning 7-0, 16-1 and 10-3.
As a team, Dolores placed seventh with 69.5 points.
The Class 2A state tournament starts on Thursday at the Pepsi Center.