The Red Devils kicked off wrestling season with the Moab Invitational last Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1 at Grand County High School.
Fifteen schools from Utah and Colorado were invited and boy and girl wrestlers from 14 schools participated in the tournament. Monticello took the overall team championship trophy. Grand County placed 8th.
Carson Whitney won the 113-pound A bracket with a perfect 8-0 match score. Jarom Shumway placed third in the 220-pound A slot and finished a 6-2 record. Chris Thompson took second in the 145-pound A with a 7-1 record.
The Times-Independent spoke to Thompson on the first day of the tournament after he won an intense match with a slightly taller opponent from Rangley. “We were definitely evened out. It was a great first match to start the season ... I got a good old shiner. Tough kids like that, I always try to break them down first and second quarter ... once I was up 6-2, I could go for the takedown.”
Thompson’s brother, Blane Thompson, will spend the season on the sideline with a badly broken leg. The younger Thompson had surgery Friday night and returned to the mats on Saturday in a wheelchair to watch the remainder of the tournament. Blane received a lot of support from his teammates and even opposing wrestlers and coaches shook his hand, talked to him, and wished him a speedy recovery.
“So, he let me up off the ground [my opponent], and he went to go and body slam me, so I put my right foot back to form a base so he couldn’t take me down. We just had so much momentum that we both landed on my leg,” Thompson recalled. “That’s when my ankle fell back and that’s when it broke. I broke my fibula, my tibia, and I broke my growth plate. Thompson, who is a freshman, reassured Times-Independent readers he would work hard to be back wrestling next year.
Athletic Director Ron Dolphin summed up the Moab Invitational in one word: Big.
“Our team may not be as big as the schools that come here, but a lot of schools have said this is their favorite tournament because we run three mats of wrestling fun. It’s fun for the parents. It’s fun for those who come and see schools they ordinarily would not compete against.”