Niwot wrestling shows progress
January 19, 2017
The Niwot wrestling team witnessed history at the Frederick Warrior Invite on Jan. 14, and not just because of Tommy Stager.
Last weekend’s meet featured seven girls-only brackets, making it the first girls-specific high school wrestling event in the state of Colorado. More than 80 female wrestlers from 42 different Colorado schools (and one in Nebraska) competed on Saturday, and tournament organizers hope it helps the growing sport’s visibility. Currently, the Colorado High School Activities Association is evaluating whether to sanction girls wrestling as an official high school sport.
Niwot Coach Bobby Matthews has no qualms about coaching either gender.
“I think girls wrestling is great,” he said, “I welcome the participation of many more. Girls wrestling at the NCAA level will help save our sport.”
Niwot did not field any wrestlers for the girls brackets last weekend, as their lone female, freshman Madysun Vaughan, was attending softball camp out-of-state . Coach Matthews said he does plan to send her to future all-girls tournaments.
“She is tough and picking things up quickly,” said the coach.
Meanwhile, on the boys side of the action, Niwot finished 15th out of 18 teams as top-ranked senior Tommy Stager continued to make Niwot history, with a win over Valor Christian’s Payton Polson in the 145-pound Championship match at Frederick. Stager pinned the sophomore with 40 seconds to go in the first period, improving his record to 23-2 and clinching his third tournament title of the season.
Elsewhere in Invite action, junior Jose Lopez capped a solid week with a fourth-place finish in the heavyweight bracket. Lopez pinned Andrew Gonzalez from Kennedy in the quarterfinals, but fell to Boulder’s Edgar Carranza in the semifinals (fall 1:33), and then to Nathan Dooley of Mountain Range in the third-place match. Earlier in the week, the 285-pounder dropped his match against Northridge junior Antonio Medaleno in a close 10-6 decision, but came back against Centaurus’ Malachi Lewoski, pinning him at 1:28.
Lopez, in his first season with the team, has been a pleasant surprise for Matthews.
“Jose is doing a fantastic job this season” said Matthews. “He is improving every day.”
Junior Nathan Hemenway also continues to make strides in his new weight class. The Niwot 195-pounder notched his second consecutive sixth-place tournament finish at Frederick, and also won both of his dual matches earlier in the week.
Despite some notable individual performances, Niwot had a mixed week in dual action. On Jan. 11, the Cougars fell to Northridge, 42-30, in a meet rescheduled due to snow. Stager (wrestling at 152), senior Dylan Bonge (138), and Hemenway all collected wins on the night, and junior Abdullah Aziz (145) was the beneficiary of a forfeit.
The Cougars fared better two nights later against the Centaurus Warriors, winning the dual 36-30. Again, Stager and Hemeway were winners for Niwot, as was Lopez.
The victory was dampened considerably by the loss of Bonge, who broke his collarbone in the 138-pound match against Gabe Farraca, and will miss the rest of the season. Matthews said losing his senior captain could be a serious blow to the team.
“It is a big loss for us,” he admitted. “He was really starting to wrestle his best when this unfortunate injury happened.”
Matthews said that these types of injuries, while serious, are fairly rare in high school wrestling.
“In my 15 years of coaching wrestling this is only the second collarbone break,” Matthews said. “Wrestlers learn to fall correctly but sometimes there just isn’t any way around some injuries.”
The Cougars host Silver Creek in dual action on Thursday, Jan. 19, and then travel to Berthoud for the Soeby Classic on Jan. 21.
Northridge 42, Niwot 30 (1/11)
106 — Wyatt Carpenter pinned Max Pecherzewski (0:15)
113 — Carey Williams pinned Colton Gruszczynski (1:27)
126 — Devin Lunsford pinned Harrison Bartlett (3:15)
132 — Jordan Jackson dec. over Alex Gazdik (8-4)
138 — Dylan Bonge pinned Mason Henkel (0:34)
145 — Abdullah Aziz forfeit
152 — Tommy Stager pinned Cort Cunningham (2:19)
160 — Chris Phelps pinned Brandon Barton (1:01)
170 — Mario Lopez pinned Keith Hemmenway (Fall 1:04)
182 — Fernando Rodriguez forfeit
195 — Nathan Hemenway pinned Kade Aragon (2:24)
220 — Daniel Torres pinned Zeus Manzanares (2:48)
285 — Antonio Medaleno dec. over Jose Lopez (10-6)
Niwot 36, Centaurus 30 (1/12)
106 — Preston Swan pinned pinned Colton Gruszczynski (1:18)
113 — Christian Meraz pinned Max Pecherzewski (1:03)
126 —Harrison Bartlett, forfeit
132 — Luis Sosa, forfeit
138 — Gabe Farracca, injury
145 — Tommy Stager pinned Atiba Obika (2:35)
152 — Brandon Barton, forfeit
160 — Collin Roberts pinned Keith Hemmenway (1:00)
195 — Nathan Hemenway pinned Marcos Fontes (1:18)
220 — Nate Uribis pinned Daniel Torres (3:07)
285 — Jose Lopez pinned Malachi Lewoski (1:28)
Frederick Invite (1/14)
138 — Cons. Round 1 – Deacon Dittmer (Holyoke) pinned Omar Arriaga (3:57)
138 — Cons. Round 2 – Sebastian Chiow (Fairview) dec. over David Koon (6-3)
145 — 1st Place Match – Tommy Stager pinned Payton Polson (Valor Christian) (1:39)
152 — Cons. Round 2 – Jason Van (Standley Lake) maj dec over Brandon Barton (13-3)
195 — 5th Place Match – Jose Zavala (Fairview) dec. over Nathan Hemenway (7-10)
285 — 3rd Place Match – Nathan Dooley (Mountain Range) pinned Jose Lopez (3:58)