Rocky Ford Wrestling

History continued

Changes in the state tournament during Coach Charlie White’s career at Rocky Ford included true double elimination in 1976, prior to that if you lost in the first round you needed your competitor who won in the first round to win his next bout to carry you on to the consolation bracket. 1976 also brought changes in the number of medals awarded from 4 to 6. In 1981, the 2A competition was moved to the Denver Coliseum from the Auditorium Arena and in 1987 they were moved again to McNichols Arena where all divisions were finally held under one roof.

Occupying the driver’s seat of the Rocky Ford Wrestling Program from the 1989-90 season till the end of the1991-92 season was Matt Hampton. In 1990, Rocky Ford won the district team championship and went on to win the state championship, which was the most recent title claimed by a Meloneer team. CHSAA(Colorado High School Athletics Association) made changes to the classifications in 1991 by eliminating 8 district championships where the top 2 competitors qualified for state to 4 regionals in which the top 4 qualified and expanded the number of classifications from 4 to 5( 2A-6A). That year the Meloneers won the newly formed regional qualifiers and took 4th place in the 3A division at state.

The current coach, Mike Jurney took over the reins during the 1992-93 season. CHSAA made a change to the number of team classifications in 1995 back to (2A, 3A, 4A and 5A), which remains in effect today and in 1997, CHSAA changed from 12 weight divisions to 14. In 2000, the state competition was moved to its current location at the Pepsi Center. In 2005, Rocky Ford returned to the 2A division from 3A. Coach Jurney has consistently instilled a winning attitude in the program. His most notable state qualifying teams were in 2006 and 2007, when they were runner-ups both years. Rocky Ford qualified all 14 wrestlers in 2006, which set a new state record and they also finished just 3 1/2 pts out of 1st place. His teams have won regionals 3 times and were runner-ups six times. At state they not only were runner-ups twice but have placed in the top ten a total of 10 times. He has had 11 wrestlers win 14 state championships and 36 other individuals have medaled 48 times. In 2010, all 5 qualifiers medaled at the state championships. He has a current career dual meet record of 220-90(.710) which is among the best in the state of Colorado.

In the years since its inaugural season, the Rocky Ford Meloneer Wrestling team has had 456 state qualifiers out of approximately 750 wrestlers who have donned the RF singlet. Forty-three wrestlers have won the state crown 56 times and an additional 158 wrestlers have placed or medaled 165 times.

Some of the most notable accomplishments of the Meloneer wrestlers are that 27 have had a minimum of 36 varsity victories in a season. Prior to 1992 when fewer matches were allowed, Eric Zertuche had 31 wins. 10 wrestlers have had over 100 career varsity victories. Three have had career winning percentages among the top in state history (Antonio Reyes, 98-8, .925; Chris Garcia, 94-6, .940; Eric Zertuche, 110-4, .965) and six wrestlers have had more than 50 pins in their career.

As a team, the Rocky Ford Meloneers have won the district/regional championships 26 times and have 38 top ten finishes @ the Colorado State Wrestling Championships.

Allen Cutsforth is a coach who was an invaluable asset to the Rocky Ford wrestling program. His ability to develop wrestlers by teaching fundamentals at the Jr. High and Middle School level allowed the wrestlers to integrate well, once they got to the high school level following the philosophies of the head coaches. He started his Rocky Ford coaching career in 1964 as a Jr. High assistant, and in 1966 took over the program. Cutsforth became an assistant at the high school in 1969 and is still a pivotal part of the Rocky Ford wrestling program as a statistician, supporter and volunteer coach. In 2010, he was inducted into The National Wrestling Hall of Fame- Colorado Chapter for his Lifetime of Achievement. He joins Charlie White and Carolyn White who were also inducted in 2004 and 2005 respectively.