BERTHOUD — If you ever need to question how hard a wrestler is going, you can judge by not only what happens after the match, but in the case of Holy Family junior Hunter Branson, it was during the match.
In his semifinal showdown with Broomfield’s Antonio Welch-Soto, Branson rushed over to the trash can beside the mat between the second and third periods to “purge the system” … yes, he puked. But like most wrestlers, it didn’t faze him and he got back on the mat for the final two minutes and posted a 9-4 victory to punch his ticket to the finals at the Diny Pickert Invitational.
In the finals he faced Cheyenne Mountain’s Jake Boley and after a bit of slow start of sizing each other up, Branson pulled away in the second and third periods to post a 14-1 major decision victory and claim his third straight tournament victory in the month of January.
It was a tough day for the rest of the short-handed Tigers, who didn’t send a full lineup to Berthoud.
Junior Joe Szymanski made it to the semifinals at 152 pounds and then drew 24-1 Braden Baumgartner of Weld Central. He scored and early takedown and was down just 4-2 to the Rebels star in the third period before a late takedown and back points made the score more lopsided, 8-2, than it indicated.
Szymanski didn’t make the medal round after losing in the consolation semifinals to Fort Collins’ Joe Cropp, 6-3.
Logan Erickson, Christian Florez, Adam Bartoletta and Brandon Alvarado all won at least on Saturday.
The Tigers wil have a busy week again next week. On Friday, the travel to Mead to take on the Mavericks in a dual and then on Saturday will be in Gilcrest for the Valley Vikings Invitational.
2019 DINY PICKERT INVITATIONAL
Team scores — Cheyenne Mountain 181, Broomfield 125, Sterling 106, Loveland 105.5, Elizabeth 94.5, Berthoud 93, Weld Central 88, Moffat County 80, Woodland Park 79, Horizon 67, Fort Collins 57.5, Skyline 54, Glenwood Springs 53.5, Salida 49, Holy Family 41.5, Vista PEAK 41, Westminster 22, Niwot 20, Mitchell 14.
HOLY FAMILY CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHES
170 pounds — Hunter Branson, Holy Family major dec. Jake Boley, Cheyenne Mountain, 14-1.