IHS wrestlers step onto the podium at Salida

The Ignacio High School wrestling team took a giant step Saturday.

The Bobcats, winning more tournament matches than they have all season, placed four wrestlers at the annual Salida Invitational.

“The boys have turned the corner. They’re starting to win matches,” Ignacio head coach Bob Overturf said.

“They’re heading for their home stretch now,” Overturf said.

Heavyweight Josh Gallegos led the Bobcats with a third-place finish in Salida.

“Josh really wrestled well,” Overturf said.

Blane Mickey (160) and Ike Peña (138) each finished fifth for Ignacio.

“With Ike, missing most of the season (with injury), his losses are mat-time losses. He just needs mat time,” Overturf said.

Taylor Smith of Ignacio finished sixth at 120 pounds.

“The kids know what we have to do,” Overturf said. “These guys are not quitters. They’re going out and winning matches.”

Overturf said David Cooper won his first high school match Saturday – another step for the Ignacio wrestlers.

The Bobcats will face the state’s best next week when they travel to Paonia for a dual Friday and the annual Screamin’ Eagle tournament Saturday, also at Paonia High School.

Paonia, defending state champion and ranked No. 1 in Class 2A, is considered one of the best all-around wrestling teams in Colorado, regardless of classification.