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Mighty Tigers place 2nd at Cedaredge

Christine Metz

— The Hayden wrestling team might be small, but it is mighty.

Out of the nine wrestlers Hayden took to the Cedaredge Tournament Saturday, eight placed in the top four and three captured first-place honors. Those places had the Tigers taking home a second-place team title, just after Mancos, the second-ranked 2A school in the state that brought along 18 wrestlers.

The Tigers’ three first places came from 152-pounder Kelly Bruchez, 171-pounder Kevin Miller and 215-pounder Tanner Copeland. All three of the wrestlers made it to the championship round pinning each of their opponents and continued to dominate their matches with a pin in the championship round.

Three other Hayden grapplers dropped their only match in the championship round as 119-pounder Jake Booco, 125-pounder Troy Kochenower and heavyweight Alan Stark took second place at the tournament.

Placing third for the Tigers were Riley Whiteman at 160 pounds and Clayton Neumiller at 189 pounds.

Hayden took second with 146 points in a tournament that brought together strong teams such as Mancos, Basalt, Gunnison, West Grand and Cedaredge. With 181 points, Mancos won the tournament and Gunnison took third with 136 points.

At 135 pounds, Seth Copeland was the only Hayden wrestler not to break into the top three, but Tigers coach John Svoboda said he wrestled well.

Coming into the winter break, Svoboda said his team, which has only nine wrestlers for 14 weight classes, is starting to come together.

“We’re looking pretty good and putting in the extra time. If we can continue that after Christmas break, I think we can surprise a few teams,” Svoboda said.

The Tigers have two more competitions left before the Christmas break. They will travel to Kremmling on Saturday for the West Grand Tournament.

Although the tournament will host some traditional powerhouse teams such as Wiggins, the top-ranked 2A school in the state, Svoboda sees his team placing in the top three schools at the tournament.

On Dec. 20, the Tigers will compete at West Grand again, this time in a dual match.


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