LAKEWOOD - Devon Butler of Wheat Ridge would have like to have seen more teammates than just himself mount the awards stand in last Saturday’s Alameda Invitational Wrestling Tournament.
Butler placed third in the 152-pound weight class, improving his season record to 16-7 in the process. And, it was a third-place medal obtained by not wrestling in the third-place match. His opponent would have been Keegan Thomas of Fountain-Fort Carson. However, rules only allow wrestlers five matches in a day and it would have been a sixth for Thomas.
Butler lost to Marshae Blake of Widefield, 4-2, in the second round, but was then able to prevail the rest of the day in the 21-team meet. He opened his weight class with a technical-fall victory against Ashley Raisbeck of Alameda, and follow his loss with victories over Cassandra Ledger of Hinkley (20-5), Derrick Cortez of Summit (13-6) and Joe Sandoval of Montrose (2-1).
“The default win at the end and not having the third-place match is not how I wanted to end the day,” Butler said. “It was a tough meet, though. I was able to keep my cool. was pretty aggressive and able to make my shots. I would like to have wrestled Thomas in the third-place match, but the rules didn’t allow it.
“I just want to stay better than my .500 record last year,” Butler said. “I’m happy to be here. As a team, we didn’t accomplish what we wanted. We’ll have to hit the training room hard on Monday.”
Montrose, led by 160-pound champion Marcus Velasquez who was voted the Outstanding Wrestler in the tournament, scored 191 points to out distance the 21-team field. The Indians crowned two champions with 120-pound Jeremiah Banuelos also on the winners stand. Eaglecrest placed second with 169.5 points followed by Westminster in third, 132.5. Wheat Ridge, coached by David Osse, finished 14th with 55 points.
Wheat Ridge had six remaining wrestlers in the consolation rounds, but Butler was the only one to go further. Yet it was not a bad showing overall according to Osse.
“This is a great tournament for these kids,” Osse said. “Twenty one teams brings out a lot of competition and we lost a lot of one and two point matches today. No one in the finals, but the kids put up a great effort.
“Devin just put out great on the mat today and he is getting better each week,” continued Osse. “But that can be said of the others. They are trying hard. We wish we could have had a better overall day, but there was a lot of fine competition out there.”
Taylor Lechuga, team captain for Wheat Ridge, agreed.
“It was a tough tournament and we faced some fine competition,” said Lechuga, the Farmer’s 170-pounder. “I had some tough matches and certainly do wish I could have done better. I lost to the weight winner (Adin Puris 9-2). Our team has been doing good and I think we can get at least six of us to state. Nice, of course, if we can do that and even get a couple more. We just need to get out and go harder and reve up for our competition.”
Others reaching the consolation semifinals for Wheat Ridge was 126-pounder Josh Shippley, Greyland Gonzales at 160, Taylor Lechuga at 170 and Tyler Bender at 285.