Pam Boyd

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February 8, 2012
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Get ready to rumble ...

There is nowhere to hide during a wrestling match.

There is no time to slack off a bit and no teammates to lean on while you catch a breath.

It's all about two competitors facing off for a hard-fought six minutes. When you win, you can take the glory but when you lose, you can't share the blame.

Those are some of the reasons why Eagle Valley High School wrestling coach Ron Beard loves the sport.

"I love wrestling so much because it is all on the individual, and there is a place for everybody," he said. "In a world where the biggest, fastest and strongest get all the attention, the kid at 106 pounds is featured and so is the 200-pound kid. Wrestling is the great equalizer."

This Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10 and 11, the place for everybody is at EVHS. For the first time ever, the school is hosting the Western Colorado 4A Regional Wrestling Tournament.

"At the regional tournament, we will have 16 teams who can bring their top wrestler at 14 different weights and the top four finishers will go to the state tournament," said Beard. "Regionals are a dog fight and there is no easy way through it."

Five days after the tournament crowns its winners, the wrestlers head off to Denver to grapple with the state's other regional champs. This weekend's tournament is a chance to see the best talent the large western region has to offer and, no doubt, some future state champions will be on the mat.

Like any sport, wrestling has its unique rules, parameters, misconceptions and tradition. For the uninitiated, here are 15 fun facts about high school wrestling that can be a viewing primer to take in the regional competition.

Wrestling is the oldest documented sport

There are cave drawings in France dating back 15,000 years that depict wrestling competitions. Wrestling was one of the original sports contested at the ancient Olympics.

Wrestling is a co-ed sport

By the rules of the Colorado High School Activities Association, wrestling is a co-ed sport. In 2006, Brooke Sauer of Golden became the first Colorado female to qualify for the state tournament. Last year, Cody Pfau of Grand Valley and Lauryn Bruggink of Soroco became the first girls to win matches at the state tournament. They did so within minutes of each other. Pfau is ranked nationally.

Weighing in

Wrestlers must weigh in at the designated time each day of the tournament. For this weekend's Western Regional, the weigh-in times are noon on Friday and 7 a.m. on Saturday. "When there are consecutive days of team competition, there shall be a one-pound additional allowance granted each day for all wrestlers up to a maximum of two pounds. In order to be granted this one-pound additional allowance, a minimum of 48 hours advance notice is required for your opponent(s)."

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The object of the game ...

The object of wrestling is to pin your opponent. A pin is when the wrestler has his or her opponent on his or her back with any part of both shoulders or both shoulder blades in contact with the mat for two seconds. When a wrestler pins his or her opponent, the match is over.

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In addition to successfully pinning an opponent, a wrestler can win a match on points. There are five ways to score points in a wrestling match:

• Takedown - 2 points. A wrestler scores two points for taking an opponent down to the mat and controlling him/her.

• Escape - 1 point. A wrestler scores one point for getting away or getting to a neutral position when the opponent has him or her down on the mat.

• Reversal - 2 points. When down on the mat, a wrestler scores two points when he or she comes from underneath and gains control of the opponent.

• Near Fall/Back Points - 2 or 3 points. A wrestler gets near fall points when he or she almost, but not quite, pins an opponent. A near fall happens when both shoulders are held for two seconds within four inches of the mat or one shoulder touches the mat and the other shoulder is at a 45-degree angle coming down to the mat or the wrestler is held in a high bridge or back on both elbows. If a near fall lasts for two seconds, the wrestler gets 2 points. If a near fall lasts for 5 seconds, the wrestler gets 3 points.

• Penalty Points - 1 or 2 points. A wrestler's opponent can be awarded points for penalties including illegal holds, technical violations, unnecessary roughness, unsportsmanlike conduct, flagrant misconduct, stalling and incorrect starting position or false start.

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"Timing is absolutely critical to wrestling," said Beard. Regional championship matches are six minutes long and consist of three two-minute periods. All consolation matches and wrestle-backs shall be 5 minutes in length of one one-minute round followed by two two-minute rounds.

Because the referee is focused on the action on the mat, a towel boy is sent out to warn him or her that there is only 30 seconds left on the clock. "Matches do come down to literally the last second," said Beard.

The match begins with both wrestlers on their feet and ends with a pin or with one wrestler scoring more points. If wrestlers are tied at the end of a regulation match, a one-minute sudden death round begins immediately after the match ends with no rest period.

If no winner is determined by the end of the one minute overtime period, 30-second tie-breakers will be wrestled.

Tiebreaker I:

The disk is tossed to determine the wrestler who has choice. The wrestler who wins the toss may choose top, bottom, or defer (Neutral cannot be chosen). Wrestler B wins the toss and selects down. As soon as the referee blows the whistle, Wrestler B scores an escape. At this point, the match continues to the conclusion of the 30 seconds. Before the end of the first tiebreaker, Wrestler B also scores a takedown. The score at this time is Wrestler B: 4 and Wrestler A: 1.

Tiebreaker II:

It is now Wrestler A's choice; he also selects down. During the second tiebreaker period, Wrestler A likewise scores an escape and a takedown. The score is tied 4 to 4.

Ultimate Tiebreaker:

At this point, Wrestler A is given the choice of position because he scored the first point (an escape) in the match. However, the wrestler whose opponent has received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at anytime during the match will have the choice of position. The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty will supersede the first points scored in the regulation match. There is no neutral, but the wrestler may defer. The Ultimate Tiebreaker winner is determined the same as in the past. The wrestler who scores the first point(s) in this 30-second tiebreaker will be declared the winner. However, if no scoring occurs during this time, the top wrestler will be declared the winner. If Wrestler A rides Wrestler B; Wrestler A wins with the ride out point. If Wrestler B scores, Wrestler B wins.

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Illegal holds

Illegal holds are broadly defined as "any maneuver use that could cause bodily harm intentionally or not." Here are some examples:

• Full Nelson - When both arms are under both opponent's forearms or arms and both hands are behind his neck or head.

• Overscissors - When one knee is bent at a 90 degree angle and placed behind the other knee and applied to the other wrestler's head.

• Back Bows

• Headlocks

• Forceful Trips

• Holds that restrict breathing or circulation

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Unnecessary Roughness

While wrestling, by its very nature, pits competitors in a fight for points and position, any intentional act that is hazardous to an opponent's physical well-being is considered unnecessary roughness. If a hold is utilized for the sole purpose of punishment, the referee can declare unnecessary roughness for offenses, including striking, kicking, head-butting, elbowing and forced tripping.

Normally the violator is penalized one point for a first offense, a second point for a second offense, two points for a third offense and disqualification for a fourth offense.

When a referee believes a case of unnecessary roughness is totally inexcusable he can make a "flagrant misconduct" signal, which means an automatic disqualification and deduction of all team points scored in the event. An action such as a sucker punch to the jaw would fall under this category.

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Technical Violations

There are six technical violations in wrestling. Penalty points are awarded as follows: First offense - 1 point. Second offense - 1 point. Third Offense - 2 points. Fourth offense - Disqualification.

Here are the six types of technical violations:

• Leaving the Mat Proper - No wrestler can completely step off the wrestling mat without permission of the referee.

• Intentionally Going Out-of-Bounds - If either wrestler goes out-of-bounds to avoid wrestling his or her opponent for any reason (except when near-fall points are scored) this technical violation will be enforced.

• Grasping Clothing - A wrestler is not allowed to grasp anything but his or her opponent during a match. When a wrestler grasps his or her opponent's uniform to prevent scoring, penalty points are awarded.

• Interlocking or Overlapping Hands - The offense (or top) wrestler may only lock local or touch hands around his or her opponent's body or both legs when scoring near-fall points or when the opponent stands up. If the wrestler scores points while committing this violation, the opponent also receives the stipulated penalty point. The official can only stop the match to award points when the bottom wrestler is unable to gain an escape or reversal due to interlocking or overlapped hands.

• The Figure-4 Head Scissors - This technical violation happens with a wrestler in neutral position.

• Improperly Equipped - When reporting to the scorer table, a wrestler who is not property equipped or not ready to wrestle is in violation. Additionally a wrestler can be cited if he or she is clad in any equipment that is detected as being illegal after the match has started.

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Unsportsmanlike Conduct

If a competitor is cited for unsportsmanlike conduct during the bout, his or her opponent is awarded 1 point for first and second offense, 2 points for third offense and disqualification for fourth offense.

If the unsportsmanlike conduct happens before a match starts or after it ends, the offending wrestler's team loses a team point. On a second offense the wrestler will be asked to leave the premises and his or her team loses another team point.

Additionally, unsportsmanlike conduct can be called against coaches or spectators. If a coach is disrespectful during a match, the official can deduct points from his or her team. On second offense, the perpetrator is removed from the premises for the duration of the meet or tournament. If the coach's initial action is determined to be flagrant, he or she can be expelled immediately.

Fans cannot react in an unsportsmanlike manner toward referees, opposing coaches or wrestlers and such behavior will result in the over-zealous spectator being removed from the meet.

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Everyone is red and green

Regardless of actual school colors and the color of a wrestler's uniform, one competitor is designated red and one is designated green. Spectators can tell who is who by the ankle bands the wrestlers wear. "That's really confusing to the first-time spectator," said Beard.

"That kid has good hips"

Balance is a key skill for a successful wrestler and in the sport's vernacular, that is expressed as having "good hips" said Beard. "A kid with good hips has great balance and that is an individual characteristic. You can't really coach that."

Who is coming?

The following schools will be competing at the Western Regional 4A High School Wrestling Tournament at EVHS this weekend:

Eagle Valley High School

Battle Mountain High School

Roosevelt High School

Palisade High School

Connifer High School

Delta High School

Durango High School

Evergreen High School

Glenwood Springs High School

Mitchell High School

Moffat County High School

Montezuma-Cortez High School

Montrose High School

Steamboat Springs High School

Summit High School

Valor Christian High School

Who are the guys to watch?

Tim Yount of "On the Mat Rankings" has ranked two of the Western Regional competitors as the top competitors in the state at their respective weights:

• Cody Weitzel of Valor Christian is ranked No. 1 at 132 pounds

• Trevor Gillen of Durango is ranked No. 1 at 285 pounds.

In sizing up the team competition, EVHS Coach Beard said the school to watch is Roosevelt. "Montrose and Palisade are also tough as nails. Overall, it is a really tough region," he said.

Eagle Valley High School Hall of Fame

EVHS has produced 15 State Champions since 1970. They are:

1970 - Pat Day (95 pounds)

1975 - Bob Toomer (132 pounds)

1978 - Phillip Rivera (98 pounds)

1982 - Ronnie Abbey (98 pounds)

1982 - Victor Satterfield (126 pounds)

1982 - Gordon Brown (275 pounds)

1983 -Ray Bumgardner (145 pounds)

1984 - Nathan Bryant (167 pounds)

1985 - Nathan Bryant (185 pounds)

1995 - Leonard Salaz (112 pounds)

1995 - Brandon (Jody) Hern (171 pounds)

1999 - Justin Speakman (140 pounds)

2000 - Mike Long (275 pounds)

2005 - B.J. Jaramillo (103 pounds)

2006 - Chris Harvey (160 pounds)

The EVHS Devils were the Colorado State Team Champions in 1982 and 1992. Both teams were coached by John Ramunno.

Every year, EVHS recognizes a student athlete with the Jody Hern Memorial Award and Scholarship in honor of the 1995 state wrestling champion.

Jody Hern grew up in the Eagle County area and was a stand-out at Eagle Valley High School. He was a two-sport star in football and wrestling, and his teammates remember his character, heart and leadership. A scholarship in Jody's name was created to promote these same characteristics. The annual golf tournament funds the scholarship awards and continues the legacy of Jody Hern.

Past recipients are: Mason Ewing, Brendan Best, Chad Strakbein, Andrew Hill, Colt Ewing and Matthew Kottenstette.

And, as a final note, current EVHS Head Coach Ron Beard was the Colorado State Wrestling Champion at 167 pounds in 1986 when he was a student at Fruita Monument High School.

EVHS's most famous alumn is...

Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, who brought home the school's first ever wrestling state championship back in 1970. He retired from horse racing in 2005 with 8,803 career victories, fourth on the all-time win list, and $297,941,912 in earnings, the most of any jockey ever at the time.

Day had nine wins in Triple Crown races: the 1992 Kentucky Derby on Lil E. Tee, five victories in the Preakness, and three wins in the Belmont Stakes.

In 2006 Day was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as an Outstanding American. At the induction ceremony, former EVHS Wrestling Coach Ralph Starr presented the award to Day.

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The VailDaily Updated Feb 8, 2012 12:41PM Published Feb 8, 2012 12:28PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.