Powerful Cowboy wrestling squad kicks off season with the battle for varsity spots

 - Gage Match — Gage Perry tries to pin Gage Hanson during the 138-pound battle, the only match of the night that was not decided by fall as Perry claimed a victory by major decision.

The annual Crook County High School Blue and Gold Wrestle-Offs and Auction was held again Saturday evening at Crook County High School.

The event featured a dinner, wrestling and a basket auction as well as a barbecue dinner that immediately preceded the wrestling action.

The wrestle-offs determined who will be on the high school's varsity team for the first match of the season and provided an early look at the defending state champion Cowboys.

"Overall, it was a good effort," said first-year head coach Jake Gonzalez.

The blue and gold teams each claimed seven victories during the scrimmage, all but one of which was decided by fall. Tannon Joyner won his 106-pound match over Tucker Bonner, while Steven Ware defeated Kyrie Willis at 113 pounds. Jace England handled Wyatt Wood to take the 120-pound match, and Hunter Mode was victorious in his 126-pound match over Conner Rash.

Zach Mauras defeated Yuya Yamaguchi to claim the 132-pound contest. Gage Perry won by major decision over Gage Hanson at 138 pounds, while Brayden Duke won his 145-pound match over Victor Rodriguez.

In the 152-pound match, Benjamin Sather pinned Elijah Becker, and Gavin Mclean earned victory in the 160-pound contest over Gabe Saenz. Garret Bond bested Clayton Berman to win the 170-pound match, and at 182 pounds, Kyle Knudtson defeated Colton Schlachter.

Jaxon Rhoden defeated Nicholas Katzenberger to claim the 195-pound contest, and Mario Hanson pinned Haydn Hilderbrand to win the 220-pound contest. And in the heavyweight match, Caleb Parrot won by fall over Joseph Miller.

 - Tannon Joyner (blue) and Tucker Bonner open the evening of wrestling action during their 106-pound contest. Joyner won the match by fall.Summarizing the wrestling action, Gonzalez noted that a couple freshmen were battling hard.

"We have a pretty good group after that with a big junior class and a good senior class," he continued. "They have been working their butts off, and I think they will be ready to go in a couple of weeks at their first competition."

In between wrestling matches, people in the ample crowd bid on different prize baskets. All of the proceeds benefit the wrestling program, and Gonzalez said the coaches and athletes are very grateful for the community support.

"It's a really special place to coach wrestling," he gushed. "The support that the community gives to wrestling is unspeakable. Year in and year out, they come to the Blue and Gold, and they donate their money to the program, and it's part of why the program is so successful. That's why we can go to these tournaments, and we're not sleeping on the mats."

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