The Paw Print
What began as a season of such promise and hope for the Adams State Grizzlies wrestling squad ended on a down note, as an unforgettable national tournament run yielded zero national champions in what can only be considered a disappointment, bearing in mind the return of two national champions from last season.
Senior Arsenia Barksdale returned as the defending champion at 125 pounds, and appeared to be on his way to a repeat following a win by fall over Minnesota State-Moorhead sophomore Corey Ulmer. Barksdale won again in the second round against Indianapolis University freshman Alex Johns, 11-4 by decision. Barksdale advanced onto the semifinals, where he was upset by senior Tyler Mumbulo of Upper Iowa University.
Barksdale came back through the consolation bracket, beating junior Kenny Trumbetta of Seton Hill University 4-3 and junior Andy Forstner of Minnesota State-Mankato 6-5 to take third place in the 125-pound bracket.
Sophomore Josh Hensley drew a tough path in the 141-pound bracket following a loss in the Central Regional championship. Hensley won his first match a 15-0 technical fall over junior Dallas Evans of Seton Hill University. Following the opening round victory, Hensley drew senior Cory Bloodgood of the University of Central Missouri, a two-time national qualifier who finished eighth last year as a junior. Bloodgood, who entered the tournament with a 32-19 record, wrestled Hensley effectively, never allowing him to gain an advantage through riding points, one of Hensley’s strong points. Hensley dropped the match 5-3.
Following the loss, Hensley defeated freshman Daniel Genetin of Ashland University 14-11 in the consolation bracket. Facing A.J. Milanak of Gannon University in the next round, Hensley dropped a tough 2-1 decision before defeating junior Gabriel Suarez of St. Cloud State 15-4 in the seventh-place match.
Junior Joey Deaguero started out strong in the 157-pound bracket, defeating sophomore Bryce Givens of Indianapolis University by fall in the first round and sophomore Sean Byrnes of Newberry College in the second round by a 5-4 decision. Deaguero fell to senior Jonathan Jackson of Anderson University by a 3-1 decision in the semi-finals. Deaguero subsequently dropped his match against sophomore Marcus Edgington of Augustana University in the Wrestleback semi-finals by a 9-7 decision and was pinned by senior Danny Grater of Fort Hays State in four minutes in the fifth-place match.
Senior Kyle Sand, the second of two returning champions for ASC and arguably the most decorated high school wrestler in Colorado history, lost his first two matches of the tournament and was eliminated from the 197-pound weight class bracket. In his first match, Sand lost a 3-2 decision to senior Keeno Griffin of Newberry College and a 9-7 decision to sophomore Jarrett Edison of the University of Central Oklahoma in the first round of the Wrestleback.