Wrestlers from Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico, representing 40 schools, converged on Garden City High School on Friday and Saturday for the annual Rocky Welton Wrestling Invitational.
The tournament is unique as placings are played out to 16th place.
Dodge City’s Damian Mendez proved to be the top southwest Kansas wrestler in the tournament.
Mendez, wrestling at 113 pounds, faced Archer Heelan of Kearney, Neb., in the championship match. The Red Demon won the match by major decision, 19-5, to claim the title. He was the only wrestler from southwest Kansas to reach the championship match in any of the weight classes.
Josh Janas was the top finisher for the Garden City High School (Brown) squad, finishing fourth in the tournament in the 152-pound division. Janas dropped the third-place match to Gauge McBride of Kearney, Neb., by a 5-4 decision.
The Buffaloes’ Steven Sellers, on the GCHS-White squad, finished the tournament in fifth place in the 132-pound class. Sellers defeated Zane Rankins of Lamar, Colo., by disqualification.
Ulysses’ Quentin Pauda grabbed third place for the Tigers in the 106-pound bracket, and was the squad’s top placer. Pauda won a 6-2 decision over John Kenney of Windsor, Colo.
Scott City’s Kaden Wren finished in fourth place at 138 pounds, the top finisher for the Beavers. Wren dropped the third-place match 3-1 in overtime to Olathe South’s Dallas Koelzer.
Wichita County’s Jesse Gardner claimed fifth place with a 6-4 victory over Diego Duarte of Pueblo East, Colo., in the 160-pound division and was the only placer for the Indians.
Other wrestlers placing for Garden City were:
Silas Pineda, wrestling on GCHS -Brown, finished the tournament in sixth place in the 120-pound class. Newton’s Grant Treaster won a 5-0 decision over Pineda in the fifth-place match.
The Buffaloes’ Ryan Heiman, GCHS-Brown, defeated Eagle Crest’s Kory Anderson by fall for ninth place.
Sebastian Rodriguez, Garden City-Brown, defeated Logan Collins of Pueblo Centennial, Colo., by injury for 15th place in the 132-pound class.
Erick Dominguez, GCHS-Brown, dropped his final match of Saturday to finish in sixth place, dropping fifth place to Great Bend’s George Weber by a 1-0 decision in 138-pound division.
In the 160-pound class, Jared Arellano, GCHS-Brown, finished in 11th place. Arellano won a 1-0 decision over Scott City’s Kale Wheeler.
Alex Rodriguez claimed seventh place in the 182-pound division, defeating Hays’ Davontai Robinson in a 5-0 decision.
Other wrestlers placing for Scott City were:
In the 126-pound division, Zach Rohrbough finished in sixth place, dropping the fifth-place match to Rylie Steele of Kearney, Neb., by a major decision, 8-0.
Noah Kliesen finished in sixth place in the 152-pound class. Olathe Souh’s Bobby Thomas defeated Kliesen in the fifth-place match by a 5-0 decision.
Kale Wheeler finished in 12th place in the 160-pound class. Garden City’s Jared Arellano defeated Wheeler in a 1-0 decision.
The Beavers’ Caleb Vandegrift, wrestling in the 170-pound division, finished in 10th place. Joshua Pierson of Kearney, Neb., defeated Wandergrift by fall for ninth place.
Cale Goodman defeated Canyon Randall, Texas’ Kale Farrington by a 3-2 decision in the 182-pound division for fifth place.
In the 285-pound class, Gabriel Bowers finished in eighth place. St. James’ Harry Spencer defeated Bowers by fall for seventh place.
Other wrestlers placing for Ulysses included:
In the 220-pound division, Jace Garrison defeated Emporia’s Whitney Hall by fall to claim fifth place in the tournament.
Ayston Perez finished in fourth place at the tournament. Valley Center’s Tony Cadwell defeated Perez in a 5-4 decision for third place.
Goddard won the team title for the tournament with 219.5 points. Pueblo East, Colo., finished second at 181.5, and finishing in third was Windsor, Colo. with 179.0 points.
Area school placings included: Dodge City, eighth, 119.5; Scott City, 17th, 80.5; Garden City-Brown, 18th, 79.5; Ulysses, 19th, 79.0; Garden City-White, 32nd, 16.0; Wichita County, 34th, 12.0; Hugoton, 36, 6.0; Holcomb, 38th, 4.0.
Garden City will be back in action at 6 p.m. Thursday with a dual against Hays at GCHS.