GREELEY -- With its lineup scuttled due to early holiday travel plans and one missed weigh-in, the Longmont wrestling team was more than grateful for the effort turned in by Fernando Ramos-Vega over the past two days.
Ramos-Vega began the week as a junior varsity wrestler but earned a spot in the Trojans' rotation at the 14th-annual Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament after winning his challenge match during the week. Ramos-Vega ended his week on Saturday by taking eighth-place at 160 pounds at one of high school wrestling's most competitive regular season tournaments.
Ramos-Vega suffered a 9-3 loss against Erie's Ladd Bunker in the 160-pound seventh-place match. Longmont senior Forrest Wetterstrom placed seventh at 182 pounds.
"We're a little bit dinged up and we didn't have our full lineup here today," said Longmont coach Adam Keiswetter, whose club was missing four regulars from its lineup. "We were down four guys. But the guys that were here did a great job. The story for this meet for us is Fernando Ramos-Vega. He went from JV on Monday to placing eighth at this tournament. There are some legit guys who are state champions and ranked guys. So it was pretty awesome to see."
While Ramos-Vega ran out of gas against Bunker, surrendering five consecutive points in the final minute of the second period to fall into an insurmountable hole, Wetterstrom capped off an impressive tournament by posting a dominant 11-2 win against Pueblo Central's Tony Molinaro in the 182-pound seventh-place match.
Wetterstrom used a late takedown in the first period to take the lead and built a 4-1 lead going into the third before pulling away late. Wetterstrom had posted a much more narrow 8-6 win against Molinaro earlier in the tournament and believed he had a thorough grasp of how to attack Molinaro in their rematch.
"This is a tough tournament," Wetterstrom said. "It's a good midseason test just to see where you are and what you can become. I wrestled that kid in the championship bracket on Friday and I already knew how to approach wrestling him. I feel like I got the job done. I just wanted to get as many takedowns as possible."
For Bunker, the victory over Ramos-Vega marked a triumphant end to the two-day tournament.
Mired in a virtual stalemate, Bunker eventually decided it would be best to just pile on the points in a hurry.
"He blocked off a lot and I really couldn't do anything, so I just started doing what I could," Bunker said. "I'd have liked to have beat him a little bit worse, but I think it's going to make a statement. He's in our region and I'll probably see him a lot."
Bunker held a 2-0 lead on Ramos-Vega early in the second period but took a 7-1 lead into the third after a dominant final minute. The Tigers' junior hopes the effort will serve as a springboard toward bigger things following the holiday break.
"All the kids I wrestled today are in 4A and it's good to see where I'm at," Bunker said. "Obviously I'd like to get better. A lot of the kids I'm going to see after the break are going to be like, 'All right, it's the break, I don't have to do anything.' So if I just keep on things, I'm going to be miles ahead of everyone else."
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NORTHERN COLORADO CHRISTMAS TOURNAMENT
At Island Grove Event Center, Greeley
Team scores -- Pomona 228.5, Broomfield, 214.5, Cheyenne East 211.5, Discovery Canyon 189.0, Windsor 188.0, Greeley West 171.5, Centauri 171, Thompson Valley 171, Coronado 158.5, Arvada West 146, Mountain Range 134, Pueblo Central 132, Brighton 131, Fossil Ridge 131, Highland 128.5, Eaton 125.5, Bennett 124.5, Pine Creek 124.5, Valley 122, Lakewood 115, Legacy 114.5, Chaparral 101, Golden 93, Cheyenne Central 85.5, Brush 83.5, Pueblo County 75.5, Adams City 63.5, Jefferson 62, Platte Valley 62, Thomas Jefferson 62, Northglenn 60, Palmer Ridge 60, Berthoud 58.5, Strasburg 54, Liberty 53, Prairie View 53, Elizabeth 51, Doherty 50, Holyoke 50, Columbine 49, Longmont 46.5, Lewis Palmer 45.5, Chatfield 45, Eaglecrest 45, Mountain View 45, Abraham Lincoln 44.5, Loveland 43, Laramie 41, Thornton 37, Northridge 34, Niwot 33.5, Robertson 33.5, Erie 32.5, Middle Park 32.5, Castle View 28, Greeley Central 27., Estes Park 23, University 18, Conifer 11, Sargent 9, Antonito 4, Green Mountain 0.
106 -- Trent Watson, Coronado, def. Darek Huff, Broomfield, 11-3.
113 -- Drew Romero, Broomfield, def. Joel Salomon, Windsor, 7-3.
120 -- AJ Rees, Discovery Canyon, def. Josh Rosales, Pomona, 4-1.
126 -- Payton Tawater, Arvada West, def. Brody Cress, Cheyenne East, 15-5.
132 -- Bryce Meredith, Cheyenne Central, def. Raymond Robledo, Pomona, 9-5.
138 -- Geordan Martinez, Pine Creek, def. Kris Trujillo, Highland, 14-2.
145 -- Phil Downing, Broomfield, def. James Price, Highland, 4-2.
152 -- Randy Boerner, Mountain Range, def. Keenan Willits, Pueblo Central, 13-0.
160 -- Archie Colgan, Pomona, def. Micah Keys, Centauri, 7-1.
170 -- Caleb Copeland, Bennett, def. Fransciso Marquez, Thompson Valley, 20-5.
182 -- Jareb Aziz, Centauri, def. Joel Hernandez, Brighton, 4-3.
195 -- Tevis Bartlett, Cheyenne East, def. Payton Tapia, Fossil Ridge, 11-2.
220 -- Brian Mayberry, Columbine, def. Dalton Shoop, Eaton, 9-4.
285 -- Austin Waterman, Greeley West, pinned Jorge Rodriguez, Mountain Range, 2:58.
LOCAL THIRD-PLACE MATCHES
160 -- Connor Casady, Legacy, default Austin Lindsay, Fossil Ridge.
170 -- Zach Stodden, Broomfield, def. Adrian Mack, Discovery Canyon, 3-1.
LOCAL FIFTH-PLACE MATCHES
113 -- Jess Hankin, Coronado, def. Donovan Cogill, Legacy, 8-0.
LOCAL SEVENTH-PLACE MATCHES
160 -- Ladd Bunker, Erie, def. Fernando Ramos-Vega, Longmont, 9-3.
182 -- Forrest Wetterstrom, Longmont, def. Tony Molinaro, Pueblo Central, 12-2.
285 -- Dane Drimmer, Chaparral, pinned Austin Harris, Broomfield, 4:36.