Trio Earn Gold Medal At Grappling Tourney

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A trio of Payson Pankration Martial Arts teams members battled their way to first place finishes Oct. 27 at the North American Grappling Associa-tions held in Las Vegas.

The gold medalists included Pankration owner Wyatt Shepherd, his wife, Angela Shepherd and Randy Steinke.

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Members of the Pankration team who competed recently in Las Vegas, Nev. were Mike Bonette, Wyatt Shepherd, Angela Shepherd, Randy Steinke and Rodney Burba.

Also for the local fight club, Rodney Burba was third, Mike Bonnette finished 1-1 and Tim Marx was 0-1.

The efforts of the six, earned the Payson team a ninth-place showing with 310 points.

Wyatt Shepherd won while competing for the first time ever in the Expert 179-pound division of the NAGA competition.

In his first match, Shepherd rallied from a 4-2 deficit to win on a disqualification.

The match was stopped after Shepherd's South American opponent dislocated his shoulder with a minute remaining in the match.

In the championship round, the referee again stopped the match. This time because Shepherd's opponent was rendered unconscious on a choke hold.

Angela Shepherd won her championship match on points, 14-8.

Steinke, entered in the 149-pound intermediate division, won his first match in 13 seconds with an arm bar hold. In his second match, Steinke defeated his Puerto Rican opponent with a triangle choke hold.

"Randy worked some beautiful submission attempts that led to another triangle choke finish for the championship," Wyatt Shepherd said.

Just weeks before traveling to Las Vegas for the championships, the Payson team participated in the 10th Annual Grappling Challenge held in Mesa.

"The women of Pankration went on a tear," Wyatt Shepherd said.

Farrah Wilson was third in the 120-pound combined boys and girls division and second in the all-women's competition. Aubrey Pond was runner-up and Angela Shepherd made her tournament debut by finishing as a silver medalist.

Also for Pankration, Burba was second and Garry Contie third.

Next up for the Rim Country fighters is the Mixed Martial Arts Cage fighting event Nov. 17 in the Tonto Apache gymnasium.

Bonnette and Steinke will be among those entered.

The main event will feature Chad "Gravedigger" Griggs against local fighter Eric Garcia. Tickets are available at the Apache gymnasium, Rim Sight and Sound or Pankration Martial Arts. Call (928) 978-0631 for tickets or more information.

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