|Dragons win Holyoke tourney with five champions|
|Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt|
Holyoke wrestlers scored 161.5 points to win the Larry Stroh Memorial Tournament here Saturday, Dec. 13. The Dragons scored 21 more points than second-place Greeley Central.
HHS points were led by individual champions Mark Edmonds at 103 lbs., Skyler Dittmer (135), Chad Stroh (140), Broc Pelle (145) and Luke Garrett (171).
Additionally, Brian Strong took second at 119, and third place finishes were earned by Parker Redfern (125) and Seth Baker (130).
Chad Stroh was named Outstanding Wrestler (OW) of the tourney for the third straight year, and he bumped up two weight classes from his actual weight for the good of the team.
The award is determined by a vote of the participating teams, with each team casting one vote.
Coach Duane Stroh cited it speaks highly of Holyoke’s performance, as the HHS coaches named four team members in this team’s vote for Outstanding Wrestler. Coach Stroh pointed out he does not vote in the selection, and other coaches named Edmonds, Dittmer, Stroh and Pelle for the OW honor.
“It’s the first time in my coaching that any one of four of our kids could have won OW. That’s awesome,” said coach Stroh.
“The team won with a lot of heart,” added Stroh. He noted they still have a lot of work to do skillwise and drillwise, but they’re getting better every week.
Coach Dusty McConnell added it was an excellent day for Holyoke wrestling. With this being only their second high school tournament, the freshmen are looking really good, said McConnell.
He also pointed out the sophomores have advanced well from a year ago and the juniors are doing an outstanding job. They look forward to having the two senior members of the team start their season this week at Wray.
Senior team members are Brandon Price and Mitch Wittman.
Price has been a big surprise in the wrestling room, said coach Stroh. This is the first year he’s wrestled since seventh grade. Stroh commended Price’s natural athletic ability and his ability to learn moves.
“He’s learned at a very accelerated rate, and we look forward to great things from him this year,” said Stroh. He added Price has been a great positive influence in the practice room and is fun to be around.
Wittman just joined the team last week. He wrestled an exhibition match Saturday at 189 lbs. While he lost the bout, they now have film to look at to move him along, said Stroh. He added Wittman is working hard, and they’re glad to have him on the team.
Saturday, Dec. 20, the Dragons will compete in an always-tough 17-team tournament at Wray. There will be a lot of 2A and 3A teams, noted coach Stroh, adding Wray coach Matt Brown and his Eagles make it a great place to wrestle.
Individual results from Saturday’s tournament in Holyoke follow:
103 lbs.—Mark Edmonds placed first and was a Holyoke candidate for OW. He pinned Bobby Landis of Greeley Central in 5:37 and pinned Zach Bernardini of Broomfield in 5:05.
He had an outstanding day, and stayed in position consistently, praised coach Stroh. Edmonds, who is a freshman, wrestles like a seasoned competitor, said Stroh. “He was just on fire and dominated every match.”
119 lbs.—Brian Strong placed second. He pinned Raheim Flores of Greeley Central in 1:12, won a 16-1 tech fall over Willy Sandau of Greeley Central and lost a 6-8 decision to Mike Fragoso of Broomfield.
Strong lost a heartbreaker 6-8 in the finals to take second, noted coach Stroh. He just ran out of time, as he rolled his opponent to his back just after the final whistle. “It was great to see him attack in the final seconds,” added Stroh.
125 lbs.—Parker Redfern placed third. He pinned Josh Griess of Wiggins in 1:25, was pinned by Trevor Herrick of Sedgwick County in :52, pinned Jorge Gutierrez of George Washington in 2:09 and pinned Josh Griess of Wiggins in 3:43.
Redfern drew the #2 ranked 130-lb. wrestler in the state in his second match Saturday, and he got into a scramble and a battle, said Stroh. Redfern left his head down and his opponent windmill halved him, said Stroh. But he dominated every other match and Stroh was pleased. “He’s another exciting freshman to watch.”
130 lbs.—Seth Baker placed third. He pinned Warren Eckman of Broomfield in 3:11, lost a 2-4 decision to Joshua Bunn of Brighton, pinned Joel Rieb of Sterling in 1:36 and won a 2-1 decision over Blayne Richards of Sedgwick County.
He ran into a tough 130-lb. wrestler from Brighton in the semifinals, who was their varsity wrestler. Baker lost a close 2-4 match. “He fought hard and left it all on the mat for me,” said Stroh, praising the fact that Baker never quit.
135 lbs.—Skyler Dittmer placed first and was a Holyoke candidate for OW. He pinned Ethan Smith of Broomfield in 1:15, pinned Nathan Schroeder of Wiggins in 2:53 and pinned Jake Lechman of Sedgwick County in 1:20.
Dittmer just doesn’t know he could be beat, said coach Stroh. “He wrestles with full abandon every match.” Saturday he had two come-from-behind pins. Coach Stroh noted he’s the best on the team at attacking at the end of a scramble, and that’s powerful.
140 lbs.—Chad Stroh placed first and was named Outstanding Wrestler of the tourney. He pinned Nate Charles of Greeley Central in 1:02, pinned Dylan Veal of Sterling in :52 and pinned Brodie Keefe of Wiggins in 3:25.
Coach Stroh said he was extremely proud of Chad. “We asked him to bump up two weights for the team, and he didn’t complain, he worked hard and ended up Outstanding Wrestler.” He looked good on the mat, but the biggest thing coach Stroh commended was Chad’s willingness to bump up two weights so other teammates could compete at the weight they look to wrestle at for the season. Stroh ultimately aims to wrestle at 125 lbs.
145 lbs.—Broc Pelle placed first and was a Holyoke candidate for OW. He pinned Kazim Mekhraliye of Greeley Central in 3:43, pinned Paul Sauter of Wiggins in 3:37 and pinned Mikail Mekhraliye of Greeley Central in :34.
Pelle did an awesome job of hitting double legs all day, said coach Stroh. In the finals, Pelle was working his opponent so hard the kid just rolled over and gave up, noted the coach. “It was extremely impressive, and I can’t say enough about Broc,” added Stroh.
171 lbs.—Luke Garrett placed first. He pinned Tony Acosta of Sterling in 1:58 and pinned Dean DeGroot of Brighton in :57.
Garrett hasn’t missed a week of weightlifting since the season ended last year, praised coach Stroh of the junior wrestler’s dedication. He’s looking rusty in wrestling moves, but is still winning and is definitely improving. He looks to wrestle at 160 after Christmas.
189 lbs.—Casey Sage was pinned by Mike Serrato of Sterling in :25 and was pinned by Alex Merritt of Wray in 2:12.
Sage, a sophomore, hasn’t wrestled since seventh grade and is struggling, said coach Stroh. Things are coming for him, and he’s a hard, hard worker, praised Stroh. The coach noted he owes coach and P.E. teacher Kyle Bules a big thank you for talking Sage into joining the team.
Team results reported
Holyoke won Saturday’s tourney with 161.5 points, followed by Greeley Central 140.5, Broomfield 123.5, Wiggins 83.5, Sedgwick County 83.5, Brighton 72, Sterling 51, George Washington 41, Wray 18, Sterling unattached 4 and Wray unattached 4.