Despite returning home void of a state wrestling tournament medal, Bent County wrestlers, representing Las Animas and McClave high schools, represented the county well at the annual Colorado High School State Wrestling Championships last weekend at Denver's Pepsi Center.

Despite returning home void of a state wrestling tournament medal, Bent County wrestlers, representing Las Animas and McClave high schools, represented the county well at the annual Colorado High School State Wrestling Championships last weekend at Denver's Pepsi Center.

While the six representatives, two from Las Animas and four from McClave, combined for just three wins, three wrestlers earned a berth to the championship quarterfinals following Thursday evening's opening round, one win shy of an automatic state tournament medal.

As competition featured the best 16 wrestlers throughout the state of Colorado, nine of 12 losses suffered by Bent County wrestlers came against eventual state tournament placers.

At 106 pounds, Las Animas senior Marcos Fernandez won by fall in the opening round over Center's Fidel Villa in 1:37 Thursday evening. In the quarterfinal round, Fernandez ran in to eventual runner-up Tanner Watson of Akron whom he lost to by fall in 1:07. In the consolation round, Fernandez lost by fall to eventual fourth place finisher Trevor Elliott of Merino in 2:02.

Fernandez finishes the season 23-10 overall and ends his career as the most decorated Las Animas High School wrestler over the last four seasons.

Wrestling in the 145 pound weight class, McClave's Dayton Garcia ran into eventual state champion Ryan Nordyke of Holly in the opening round, losing by fall in :58 to fall to the consolation bracket. There he was eventually eliminated by Dolores' Guy Wallace by fall in 2:44. Garcia ends the season 9-19 overall.

At 152 pounds, McClave's James Steerman, too, ran into a tough opponent in the opening round Thursday. He faced eventual third place finisher and tournament top seed Reagan Lane of Eads, and he lost by fall in 5:24. In the consolation round, Steerman battled Akron's Tyler Hottinger to a decision, despite losing 8-3. Steerman ends the season 30-20 overall.

In the 195 pound class, Las Animas' Jacob Roybal and McClave's Sam Cox battled through a tough bracket, Roybal being eliminated in two matches and Cox three.

Roybal fell in the opening round to eventual state champion Jareb Aziz by fall in 1:06 and to Highland's Tony Lucero, also by fall in :37. Roybal ends the season 7-23 overall.

Cox, who qualified fourth from Region 2, defeated Region 4 champion Enriquez Rodriguez of Rocky Ford in the opening round in overtime 5-3 to earn a berth to the quarterfinal round Friday morning. There he faced eventual third place finisher Kaleb Gaede of Limon, losing by fall in 3:25. In the consolation round, he then faced eventual fifth pace finisher Kaler Ybarra of Yuma, losing by fall in 2:29. Cox ends the season 31-16 overall.

Wrestling in the 220 pound class, brother Ken Cox was also a winner in the opening round Thursday. He won by fall over Eads' Trent Mitchek in 5:00 to join Fernandez and Sam Cox in the quarterfinal round Friday. There, he met eventual state runner-up Levi Davis of Sedgewick County/Fleming, whom he lost to by fall in 1:13. In the consolation round, he faced eventual fifth place finisher Tristen Todd of Hotchkiss, losing a narrow decision 2-1. Cox ends the year 33-10 overall.

In the final team standings, McClave finished tied for 38th overall of 50 teams represented, with six points. Las Animas was tied for 43rd, with four points. Rocky Ford emerged the eventual team champion following a close three-team chase with 134 team points. Meeker was second with 131 and Paonia third with 125.5.

Of the area teams represented, Swink was sixth with 80.5 points, Crowley County eighth with 54, Holly 13th with 46, Fowler 18th with 36.5, and Eads 30th with 20.

Following are complete team results:

1, Rocky Ford 134; 2, Meeker 131; 3, Paonia 125.5; 4, Centauri 109.5; 5, Norwood/Nucla 98; 6, Swink 80.5; 7, Buena Vista 59.5; 8, Crowley County 54; 9, Hotchkiss 53; 10, Sedwick Co/Fleming 52; 11, Limon 51; 12, Merino 47; 13, Holly 46; 14, John Mall 45.5; 15, Baca County 42; 16, Yuma 39; 17, Monte Vista 37; 18, Fowler 36.5; 18, Ignacio 36.5; 20, Wray 36; 21, Dove Creek 35.5; 22, Highland 32; 23, Center 31.5; 24, Burlington 30; 25, Akron 28; 26, Lyons 26; 27, Centennial 23; 28, Peyton 22.5; 29, Holyoke 21; 30, Dolores 20; 30, Eads 20; 30, Stratton 20; 33, Ellicott 16; 33, Hayden 16; 33, North Park 16; 36, Rye 14; 37, Kiowa 7; 38, Cedaredge 6; 38, Custer County 6; 38, Del Norte 6; 38, McClave 6; 42, Wiggins 5; 43, Calhan 4; 43, Las Animas 4; 45, Cheyenne Wells 3; 45, Rangely 3; 47, Antonito 0; 47, Byers 0; 47, Hanover 0.