By Brett Marshall
Since the 2018-19 wrestling season began back in early December, Garden City High School coach Carlos Prieto has known that his team, while comprised mostly of underclassmen, still had plenty of talent.
That became more apparent to the seventh-year head of the program on Friday and Saturday at the 61st edition of the prestigious Rocky Welton Wrestling Invitational held at The Garden.
With a youthful lineup, the Buffs had a great deal of success in the two-day tourney, regarded as the toughest in Kansas. The Buffs totaled 141.5 points to place fourth overall in the team race behind defending champion Goddard’s 220 points, Pueblo East, Colo., runner-up’s 206 and Kearney, Neb., third-place with 176.5 points. Canyon Randall, Texas, rounded out the top five scores with 131.5 points.
Three Buffs, all juniors, reached the finals of the Welton, the most in nearly a decade.
In the 113-pound division, Silas Pineda came up short in his bid for the gold medal against Jacob Gonzales of Pueblo Centennial, Colo., dropping a 4-0 decision. Pineda’s season record is now 31-8.
Jacob Holt also ran into a buzz saw in Kearney, Neb., Phillip Moomey, the No. 10-ranked national wrestler at 132 pounds. Holt fell in an 11-3 major decision to Moomey, who is unbeaten at 30-0 while Holt’s record fell to 28-3.
At 195 pounds, Alex Rodriguez faced a familiar opponent in Zion Freeman of Pueblo East, who was undefeated in 27 previous bouts and had pinned Rodriguez at an earlier season tourney in Colorado. In this one, Rodriguez fought gallantly but still came up on the short end of a 5-0 decision to see his season record slip to 32-6.
At 285 pounds, Fuji Chairez placed fifth when he pinned Sy Spitz of Lamar, Colo., at 3:28 of the second period. In the 120-pound division, Diago Hernandez faced Ethan Andrade of Lamar, Colo., and it went to sudden victory where Hernandez got a takedown for a 7-5 decision. Sophomore Josh Janas produced a solid 7-5 decision over Jace Fisher of Goddard to place fifth at 138 pounds to improve his season record to 25-14.
Two area wrestlers also reached the finals in their weight class, and Lakin’s Hadley Panzer won a dramatic overtime match against Dodge City’s Evan Darville 7-5 with a takedown just 20 seconds into the OT period. Panzer had tied the match at 5-all with just two seconds remaining in the third period of regulation. Scott City’s Wyatt Hayes battled at 170 pounds against Goddard’s Troy Fisher but came up short in a 7-2 decision.
Buffs’ alumni wrestlers honored: More than 50 GCHS Buffs’ alumni wrestlers were in attendance Saturday and the 2019 RW Invite was officially dedicated to the stellar group of Buffs’ alums who have captured 11 state team championships and many individual titlists. Congrats Buffs’ alums.
Ed Cramer Outstanding Wrestler Awards:
Lower Weight – Moomey, Kearney
Upper Weight – Hendrickson
- Goddard, 220; 2. Pueblo East, Colo., 206; 3. Kearney, Neb., 176.5; 4. Garden City Brown, 141.5; 5. Canyon Randall, Texas, 131.5; 6. Great Bend, 116.5; 7. Blue Valley Southwest, 110; 8. Dodge City, 105.5; 9. Pueblo Centennial, Colo., 103.5; 10. Scott City, 95; 33. Ulysses, 44; 35. Lakin, 37; 38. Holcomb, 23; 40. Hugoton, 29.
Championship Match Results
106: Heelan, Kearney, Neb. Dec. Mills, Blue Valley, 8-4
113: Gonzales, Pueblo Centennial, Colo., dec. Pineda, Garden City, 4-0
120: Gamez, LaJunta, Colo. pinned Treaster, Newton, 4:36
126: Roth, Pueblo East, Colo. pinned Yapoujian, Pomona, Colo., 4:00
132: Moomey, Kearney, Neb. Maj. Dec. Holt, Garden City, 11-3
138: Valdez, Pueblo East, Colo. Maj. Dec. Madden, Blue Valley, 11-0
145: James, Kearney, Neb. Dec. Hernandez, Pueblo Centennial, Colo., 5-2
152: Craine, Goddard dec. Maccagnan, Eagle Crest, Colo., 6-2
160: Dopps, Goddard dec. Porsch, 5-3 (SV)
170: Fisher, Goddard dec. Hayes, Scott City, 7-2
182: Atkins, Goddard dec. Badwound, Air Academy, Colo., 5-1
195: Freeman, Pueblo East, Colo. dec. Rodriguez, Garden City, 5-0
220: Hendrickson, Newton dec. Lautt, St. James Academy, 9-3
285: Panzer, Lakin dec. Darville, Dodge City, 7-5 (SV)
Photo Credit/Brad Nading