Three Tiger wrestlers bound for regional tournament
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
FARMER’S KORNER ” The Summit High School wrestling team may have struggled through a long and arduous season, but that hasn’t kept three Tigers from narrowly qualifying for one of four 4A regional tournaments to be held today and Saturday at Ralston Valley.
Summit’s Casey Morrison (103-pound weight class), his older brother Keller Morrison (119 pounds) and Tucker Limbruner (112), each wrestled in 15 matches ” the minimum requirement for competing at a regional tournament. Summit’s postseason triumvirate is a combined 10-35 in varsity competition.
When the Tigers began their third campaign under coach Jim Melvin in November, their roster was laden with inexperience. Out of 11 wrestlers, there was one senior (Keller Morrison), one sophomore and nine freshmen.
Thanks to a host of injuries, and what coach Jim Melvin described as a few issues with grades, Summit has rarely, if ever, been at full strength.
Five active wrestlers attended what may have been Summit’s penultimate practice of the season on Wednesday.
“It’s hard to keep them motivated because of the small number of kids in the (wrestling) room,” Melvin said. “You’ve gotta have some competition to get some intensity in the room ” that’s where the kids get better.”
Melvin said he has recently curtailed his team’s practice time in order to combat the overall burnout factor.
“Our practices have been more intense, but shorter,” confirmed Casey Morrison, who at No. 8 is the highest-seeded Tiger. “We don’t really do a lot of technique. We drill harder and wrestle more, so we just get out of there early.”
“It’s been a long season with ups and downs,” Melvin said. “We need to wrestle ” we’re ready for regionals.”
The younger Morrison, who has recently recovered from a back injury, said he likes his chances to qualify for the state meet, which would require him to finish among the top four in his weight class.
The two-day, double-elimination tournament will feature 17 teams, several of which lack full 14-person rosters like Summit.
Tigers rookie Keller Morrison knows he’s up for a big challenge on Friday.
“It’s probably going to be pretty difficult,” he said. “The first guy I go up against is 34-1. So, I’m gonna have a bit of trouble there, but I look forward to the rest of the tournament.”
The elder Morrison recalled the darkest time of Summit’s season from his perspective.
“A couple weeks ago, I was basically the only one constantly in the room,” Morrison said. “Everyone else was hurt and a few guys weren’t showing up for practice. That time kind of sucked because I was the only one. It’s kind of difficult to wrestle yourself.”
Limbruner, who hyperextended his elbow a few weeks ago, is still considered questionable for today.
“The chances are probably not very good, but I’m trying my best,” Limbruner said.
Limbruner got his first taste of varsity victory Jan. 6 at the Eagle Valley invitational.
“After taking third in a tournament, it’s hard not to go back,” Limbruner said of his career day. “That was a high point for me. I just really focused that day and tried my best. And I had a little rivalry against the two kids I beat because they beat me before. I pinned ’em both.”
Despite the Tigers’ small numbers, Melvin said he maintains hope that Summit will be able to field a team next season, due in part to substantial interest among middle school wrestlers.
Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-4634, or at email@example.com.
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