Summit High Wrestlers finish season on high note at regional tournament
summit daily news
Summit Counnty, Co Colorado
For a young Summit High wrestling team, Saturday’s regional tournament in Montrose proved to be the ultimate learning experience.
But the lessons the Tigers got in their final meet had little to do with pins and points.
First, Summit watched senior captain Zach Campbell miss out on a trip to the state meet on a questionable ruling. Then, the Tigers, as a team, made the decision to donate $300 to a wrestler from Roosevelt High School who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
“Our kids just realized that we’re all in this together,” SHS head coach Jack Byrne said of his team. ” … The kids just saw the bigger picture.”
The donation was taken from the $800 that the team had raised through a fundraiser earlier in the season. The other $500 will be used to buy toys for the Children’s Hospital.
On the wrestling side of things, Campbell was 10 seconds from automatically moving on to the state tournament with a third-place finish Saturday. After pinning his opponent, he was called for an illegal slam. In the case of an illegal slam, if the other wrestler is injured, they automatically win the match. That was the case for Campbell, and he went on to lose the match for fourth place.
“I know Zach was hurt (by the call),” Byrne said, “but he was absolutely first class about the whole thing. That’s what I’m the most proud of. … That’s why he’s out captain and our leader.”
Byrne said that the way Campbell handed the controversial call and the disappointment that ensued showed the rest of the team the right way to handle diversity.
Junior Nate Roe also nearly advanced to the state tournament but eventually finished in sixth place. Roe faced off against a tough opponent in the fifth-place match and barely lost to, what Byrne called, a “more experienced” opponent. If Roe had finished fifth, he would have advanced out of regionals because of an injury to the fourth-place finisher.
“Nate’s toughness kept him in the match, but his experience caught up with him,” Byrne said of the relative newcomer to the sport.
Also receiving wins on the day were sophomore Trevor Barton and freshman Gregorio Munoz.
“I keep forgetting how young they are,” Byrne said of Barton and Munoz. “We set the bar so high for them, and they keep reaching it. … I can’t imagine where they’ll be in the future if they keep working this hard.”
Though the team’s performance on the mat was impressive, Byrne was most pleased of his team’s decision to make the donation to the Roosevelt wrestler and his family.
“It makes me the proudest coach in America,” Byrne said. “We just have great kids here, and it’s hard for me to actually express it directly to them but … I just couldn’t be more proud of them.”
The regional meet ended what had been one of the most successful wrestling seasons in SHS history. The Tigers finished 3-2 in dual meets and earned two podiums as a team in tournaments.
Bryce Evans can be reached at (970) 668-4634 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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