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Cowboy wrestlers place in regional

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By Dave Kavanaugh

What is it they say about the head that wears the crown?

No. 1-ranked NMHU 125-pounder Seth Wright lost a 6-3 decision to No. 2 seed Arsenia Barksdale of Adams State in the championship match of Saturday’s NCAA Super Regional and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference wrestling meet.

Wright had beaten Barksdale earlier this season when the latter was rated as the top 125 in NCAA Division II. That was one of two times this season the previously unheralded Highlands grappler stunned the No. 1 man in his division. Finally, Wright himself ascended to the top spot, which he held for a couple weeks going into the weekend tournament, which was hosted by Adams State in Alamosa. Colo.

Wright pinned Dustin Stodola from Chadron State in 2:23 to start the tourney, then took an 11-3 major decision against No. 4 seed Danny Luttrell of Nebraska-Kearney to reach the championship match against No. 2 seed Barksdale. But this time it was the Grizzly’s turn to pull the upset.

Highlands heavyweight Jesse Boggs, the No. 3 seed, captured third place by pinning No. 4 Patrick Carey of Colorado State-Pueblo with 2:58 elapsed. To open the tourney, Boggs beat Sam Udell of CSC in a 2-1 verdict. But Boggs was pinned by No. 2 seed Steve Franklin of San Francisco State at the 5:49 mark, falling to the consolation bracket. Boggs then pinned Richard Hernandez of Grand Canyon 4:19 into their match. That win put Boggs into the third-place bout with Carey.

The only other Highlands wrestler to win a match in the RMAC/NCAA regional was Jarrod Purvis at 160 lbs. Purvis recovered in the consolation bracket after losing his opener to No. 5 seed Justin Grant of CSUP in a 6-3 decision. Purvis beat Chadron’s Justin Dekok 4-1 and took down Mesa State’s Cole Johnson 9-5. But with a berth in the third-place match on the line, No. 3 seed Blake Malloy of Fort Hays State scored an 11-3 major decision over Purvis. And in the fifth-place match, Purvis lost 8-3 to No. 4 seed Jordan Larsen of Colorado School of Mines.

Wright and Boggs earn a trip to nationals.