Golden boots on his feet, and a golden medal to boot around his neck.
That was Bayfield's Sam Westbrook last Saturday as the 43rd Rocky Mountain Invitational's final awards were conferred upon the recipient grapplers by members of Pagosa Springs High School's cheerleading crew, and the sophomore heavyweight was, deservedly, hyped.
Westbrook needed only 52 seconds against 4A Silver City's Alex Wagner of New Mexico to complete a 3-and-0 run inside PSHS Gymnasium. Westbrook's win helped BHS to an 11th-place finish at the Pirates' signature annual event.
Westbrook was coming off a team-inspiring, second-period pin of La Jara Centauri senior Nathan Tailleur on Jan. 9 inside BHS Gymnasium during 3A/2A Intermountain League dual action.
"I just went out there wanting that win," said Westbrook after sticking Tailleur 1:39 into the second period, but almost foreshadowing his clinching pin in Pagosa. "Doesn't matter who your opponent is; if you go out there with the want and desire to win, and put in all the work you can, you can't lose."
"It was a good win," added senior Colter McMenimen. "I'm very impressed with him this year. He came from not even wanting to come out to being pretty darned tough every week. Even in an individual sport like this, when you have a team it still helps momentum for the whole team."
"Wasn't too bad-we could have done better," Westbrook said, somewhat prophetically, after the Falcons dual. "But starting off the new year coming back off the break like we did, I think we did alright."
McMenimen-who'd notched his 100th varsity win over Centauri's Weston Huffaker via pin in 77 seconds-was the only other Wolverine to wrestle to the finals in Pagosa. But he was denied the 145-pound division title, 7-3, by Monticello senior (and returning Utah Class 1A State Champion) Brandon Musselman.
"I had no idea that was even the 100th," McMenimen said after stopping Huffaker. "I've had a pretty good career so far, but I still haven't accomplished what I want to. So I'm still working towards my ultimate goal."
He finished with a 3-1 mark in Pagosa, having tech-fallen his victims by an aggregate 46-0 score.
Freshman Garrett Beebe went 2-1 and took third at 106 pounds after an 8-1 defeat of 4A Durango's Cameron Jacobs. 113-pound freshman Jake Sandrey went 2-3 and ended up eighth in his bracket, stopped 11-6 by 3A Denver Sheridan's Justin Salazar. Sophomore Cody Speece also finished eighth after also going 2-3 at 120, and was defeated last, 10 to 8, by PSHS' Trevor Bryant.
132-pounder Taylor Winch, who in the dual scored a third-period pin of Centauri's Diego Fernandez, went 1-2 and did not place. 152-pounder Cash Snooks, recipient of a forfeit versus CHS-which pulled the Wolverines back to 32-24 against the fourth-ranked Class 2A [the Falcons dropped one class this season] power-went 0-2.
Up next, the Wolverines will travel to tomorrow's Rob Mickel Memorial Invitational in Salida, then head west next weekend to the Page Sand Devil Classic in Arizona. Results from last night's IML dual at Monte Vista were unavailable at press time.
"I feel like we can be a pretty tough team if we get our heads straight," said McMenimen.