Three Spartan wrestlers competed Saturday at Gunnison’s Cowboy Invitational, and all three of them reached the podium.
Freshman Drew Johnson went 5-0 to win the 132-pound bracket, while junior Colin King placed third at 120 pounds and senior Nico Wilson finished fourth at 182.
“I’m very proud of the way the guys are showing up and wrestling,” Salida head coach Steve Myers said. “The improvements that we made this weekend were huge.”
Every weight at the tournament had a slightly different bracket to get each of the wrestlers five matches.
Johnson pinned his first three opponents in less than 50 seconds and his fourth in 1:38.
In the finals, Johnson faced Richard Atencio from Sierra Grande/Centennial. Johnson didn’t pin Atencio, but he didn’t give up a point either and ran away with a 15-0 tech fall victory to claim the championship.
“That was probably one of his best showings,” Myers said. “He really went after it.”
At 120 pounds, King started the tournament with a pair of pins. Last year’s 2A state champ at 113 pounds, Rye’s Richard Atencio, and highly ranked Robert Cochran from Hotchkiss, however, pinned King in his next two matches. “He ran into a couple of buzz saws,” Myers said.
King rallied to finish the tournament strong though, pinning Mead’s Nathan Rowden in 2:13 during his third-place match.
“I’m seeing big improvements from Colin,” the coach said. “His takedowns are getting better; all of theirs are. On top they’re pressuring better and I’m seeing better stuff from them.”
Wilson returned to the lineup after battling some sickness and went 3-2 to place fourth.
Wilson pinned wrestlers from Hotchkiss and Center to start the tournament.
“He had some tough kids off the bat, but he scrambled and looked good,” Myers said. Wilson lost by a major decision in his next match, but came back and pinned a wrestler from Mead to reach the third-place match. However, he lost by fall to Sierra Grande’s C.J. Nix in his final match.
“His endurance was hurting him,” Myers said. “He’s finally feeling healthy.”
On the other side of the gym, Western Colorado University hosted its annual Tracy Borah dual-meet tournament.
“It was a really fun tournament,” Myers said. “They ran college on one side of the gym and high school on the other. We got to see some good competition and it was a good tournament all the way around.”
Salida will next compete in a two-day tournament Friday and Saturday at Florence.
“We want to carry some momentum in there and see what we have,” Myers said. The coach added, “We’re working on some small things for regionals to get us into state.”