Leavitt helps guide wrestlers 12th-place finish

Senior 126-pound wrestler Garrett Leavitt placed second at the Dixie Desert Storm Invitational in Utah, guiding Boulder City High School to a 12th-place finish out of 32 programs.

“I thought the team did a nice job competing out there,” head coach Jim Cox said. “We definitely faced a lot of high-quality competition and I’m proud of the way the guys handled themselves. To have two wrestlers place and a handful of others just a match away from placing was really good for our program.”

Facing premier programs from Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, Leavitt finished the tournament with a 4-1 record, while junior 285-pounder Mike Kaposta finished in sixth place with a 4-2 record.

“I was super excited to place second at the Dixie Tournament,” Leavitt said. “This finish helps me know that I have the capability of compete with some of the best wrestlers. I feel like I found out what I need to work on and that will overall help me in the long run.”

Finishing just short of the podium, senior 138-pound D.J. Reese led a stout group headlined by juniors Hayden Moore (145), Jimmy Dunagan (160 pounds), Thorston Balmer (170 pounds), James Ewell (195 pounds) and sophomore Ladd Cox (152 pounds), who finished 2-2 over the weekend.

“The atmosphere from Utah this weekend was a lot different because they had tougher opponents up there,” Reese said. “I feel that is really going to help us down the road because we need to see tougher competition so we can improve. Facing off against high-caliber teams is really the only way that we can prepare for the state tournament.”

In the junior varsity tournament, sophomore 182-pounder Cade Cowley, who has varsity experience, placed first, giving the Eagles another solid building block for the future.

“The best thing about wrestling is every day in practice, everyone’s varsity,” Cox said. “Everyone is squaring off against each other, we don’t separate our levels. We preach that iron sharpens iron. He had a good tournament on the JV level.”

Celebrating the team’s success in Utah, the Eagles came back on Dec. 18 for their inaugural alumni dinner, attracting upwards of 150 guests, where current and former Boulder City wrestlers interacted.

“I thought the alumni dinner was a success for its first year,” Cox said. “It’s really something we want to implement for our system, continue to give our program a family atmosphere. It was really nice to see Jimmy Brown come back from college and interact with the guys and share stories. Overall I think it had a positive outcome on our guys, especially the younger ones who see one of their peers having success. Now if they work hard, they see they can reach that level, too.”

Hoping to reach a new level of intensity during the holiday break, the Eagles will take a week off for Christmas before hitting the mats again rigorously in preparation for the Pahranagat Valley Invitational on Jan. 5.

“We’re really looking forward to getting the boys in the gym for a week with no distractions,” Cox said. “Not having to worry about a meet in the middle of the week or a tournament at the end, I feel will really help them focus on the progress of getting better in a controlled environment. We have a busy second half of the season coming up, we’ll be prepared.”

Contact Robert Vendettoli at BCRsports@gmail.com.