Tournaments frequently claim to be accurate previews of the CHSAA State Wrestling Championships.
Attracting 30 or more teams for two days of competition, Florence's Mel Smith Husky Invitational is one which usually backs up such a claim.
The Ignacio Bobcats found this out at the meet's 2018 edition, held Jan. 12-13. Led by junior Dustin Sanchez's 3-2 effort at 152 pounds, IHS managed to total 16 team points and place 30th overall out of 32. Pagosa Springs held off #3 Eaton 158-155 in the race for first, with #2 Gilcrest Valley (151) close behind in third.
All told, the invitational featured eight of Class 3A's top 10 squads, with only #1 Alamosa and Craig-based #10 Moffat County not in attendance.
Tenth-ranked in 4A, Canon City (138) placed a solid fourth with 3A Berthoud (135.5) hot on their heels.
For the 'Cats, Sanchez notched two pins before 3A Olathe's Keenan Mansker dealt him a 7-3 defeat, stopping him short of a desired top-six finish at the weight.
Seeded 22nd out of 27 entrants at 138 pounds, junior Skieler Grooms finished 1-2 after losing right away (by pin, in 0:24) to Olathe's Clay Yarnell, the weight's eventual runner-up. 120-pounder Hunter Robbins went 1-2, earning a pin of Canon City's Garrett McCasland in an elapsed 2:34, but young Micah Westbrook's first season continued with an 0-2 showing at 160. 182-pounder Cesar Pedregon also finished 0-2, but not before losing 10-6 to 5A Lakewood's David Schadler.
Sophomore heavyweight Randy Herrera also made the trip to Fremont County and found the goings tough, losing by 17-1 technical fall to 3A Delta's #1-ranked Logan Church.
Any and all of the Bobcats' prospective roads to State only roughen from here on out, with a Jan. 20 trip to Paonia and the loaded Screaming Eagle Invitational awaiting them next.
2018 MEL SMITH HUSKY INVITATIONAL STANDINGS: 1.Pagosa Springs 158, 2.Eaton 155, 3.Gilcrest Valley 151, 4.Canon City 138, 5.Berthoud 135.5, 6.Keenesburg Weld Central 135, 7.Lamar 134, 8.Colorado Springs Cheyenne Mountain 116, 9.Buena Vista 109, 10.Brush 102.5, 11.La Jara Centauri 89, 12.La Junta 86.5, 13.Florence 83.5, 14.Gypsum Eagle Valley 76.5, 15.Denver Sheridan 74.
T-16.Salida/Sterling 70, 18.Lakewood 69.5, 19.Colorado Springs The Classical Academy 59, 20.Delta 58.5, 21.Elizabeth 58, 22.Olathe 46, 23.Denver Mullen 33.5, T-24.Trinidad/Woodland Park 29, 26.Montrose 28, T-27.Bennett/Monument Palmer Ridge High School 24, 29.Manitou Springs 21, 30.IGNACIO 16, 31.Monte Vista 15.5, 32.Del Norte 15.