Before leaving for the three-day tournament at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Coach Passehl said he expected his boys to do well – and to rank in at least the top five.
“Most of these kids have been wrestling since they were 8 years old, and all of them have gone through peewee programs,” he said. “They’ve worked hard and are very disciplined. People don’t realize how hard they work – which is why they ended up with 17 (wins) finishing the season.”
But it all came down to the state tournament, Passehl did predict: “It will sum up the whole season, and I have real big expectations.”
Those expectations were surpassed, with the team taking third place and Jordan Passehl winning the 189 pounds class.
According to the Denver Post, Jordan defeated Dwight Howes of Arvada, 5-4. Montrose junior Bryce Gaber placed second in the 171 pounds class – to first-place winner Josh VanTine, of Broomfield. Montrose senior Braxten Franz came in second in the 215 pounds class, losing to Coltin OsterMiller of Ridgview Academy. Other Montrose team members are juniors Drew Schumann and Skylar Simkins, senior Vance Hawk, and sophomores Geordan Hudson and Kordell Bradshaw.
Hudson placed third in the 112-pounds division, Pessehl said, and Bradshaw came in sixth in the 119 pounds class
With 119.5 team points, Broomfield High placed first in the 75th annual Colorado Class 4A High School Wrestling Tournament. Roosevelt High had 118 points, and the Montrose wrestlers garnered 104 points. Rounding out the top 10 schools were Greeley West with 97.5, Windsor with 89.5, Pueblo South with 65.5, Alamosa at 62.5, Frederick, 57; Palisade, 56; and Arvada, 52.5 points.
The girls basketball team at Montrose High – having a winning season – is headed to States this week said Coach Eric Sanchez, where they’ll go in “firmly in second place.”
Much of the team’s strength comes from its one and only senior, Hanna Bowden, a 6-footer with a great shot at college scholarships, Sanchez said.
“She was All-State last year and looks to be on the same level this year,” Sanchez said of Bowden. “The rest are juniors and sophomores and freshmen, but they’re continuing to play hard and get better.”
All team sports at the high school are having good seasons, said athletic director Lyle Wright, the boys’ basketball teams are also heading to state soon and have a good shot at winning their league.
Swim team member Emily Stuckey, a junior who has won the state 50 freestyle for two years in a row, also has a good shop at a college scholarship, Wright said.
But as a former state wrestling champ, Wright, now in his sixth year at Montrose high, was particularly thrilled with the state wrestling results.
“It’s great to be in the same place you graduated from,” he said.
Pessehl, who saw Wright briefly at the tournament, said he was gratified by the large number of people from Montrose who braved terrible weather to drive to Denver to see the boys compete – not one of whom expected such a successful season, he added. For the past several years, the Montrose team has had a good season, but then choke when they got to state.
“We took 14th place at State last year as a team, so no-one was counting on us to do anything,” he said. “I knew with the kids we had, we could do what we did, and we weren’t too far out of first place. But to get three kids in the finals was amazing.”
Pessehl gives a lot of credit to assistant coach Neil Samples for inspiring the kids to do their best.
“He wrestled at Western State, and is a good kid,” Pessehl said. “I knew that if I could get him in there, and we worked them to death, all this could happen, and it did.”
The tournament was stressful for both coaches and the team, Pessehl said, but when they learned Friday night that the three boys were going into the final rounds, the stress disappeared.
“Every kid that wrestles, this is their goal,” he said.
The coach said several colleges offering both football and wrestling scholarships have contacted his son, but he hasn’t made a decision yet which sport he’ll concentrate on.
In the meantime, his dad will concentrate on building his team up for next year.
“Before, it just wasn’t clicking,” he said. “We’d go to state with good kids, same kids we have now, and not win. But this year was different.”