Eagle Valley wrestling second at regionals; Devils qualify seven
Devils have four regional champs
Eagle Valley is heading to the 3A state tournament with seven wrestlers, including four regional champions after finishing second, close behind powerhouse Eaton, 209-203, at the Class 3A Region 3 Tournament this weekend.
Luke Morrissey (120 pounds), Noah Baldwin (160), Davis Ward (182) and Cody Ponce (220) all won their weight classes and will automatically have top four seeds at the state tournament at the Pepsi Center, starting Thursday.
Kodi Raper (third, 126), Lucas Comroe (second, 132) and Ryder Bossow (fourth, 138) also punched their tickets to the biggest stage in Colorado wrestling.
As is usually the case at regionals, there was also heartbreak. Three Devils lost wrestle-backs, the battles for the fourth and final spot at state — Matthew Medina (103), Brian Garcia (195) and Abraham Garcia (285). The cruelest cut was Medina, who was ranked No. 5 in the state coming into this weekend’s regional. The good news is that he is a junior and is probably starting his preparations for next season by the time you’re reading this.
Meet the champs
Luke Morrissey rolled at 120. After a first-round bye, he pinned his next two opponents and received a forfeit injury win over Skyview’s Nadim Kargar. That should take nothing away from Morrissey’s accomplishment. Morrissey has a stupendous work ethic — it doesn’t hurt that he starts the season in terrific shape, having run cross-country each fall — and excels in the classroom.
Regardless of how that match might have turned out, the senior deserves this.
Before regionals, Devils coach Luke Cross coached Baldwin up to 160 from 152 to get him out of a tough bracket in the latter. It was good coaching, and, more importantly, Baldwin made his coach look smart by taking home the title. The senior finished his weekend with a 10-7 decision over Sheridan’s Diego Madrigal.
Ward wasted no time in winning his division. He racked up three pins in a total of 125 seconds. For the math-challenged, he spent all of 2 minutes, 5 seconds on the mat during the two-day tournament. That’s usually a formula for success.
Meanwhile, Ponce brought home the bacon at 220, winning his final with a pin of Elizabeth’s Gage Dauenbaugh right as the first period ended.
“It’s great to have four regional champions,” Cross said.” As we talked about before the tournament, winning your region gets you, on paper, an easier match to start state. It’s a good way to set up the first round of state.”
Entering this weekend, the Region 3 Tournament was shaping up as the toughest of the four 3A postseason fields. Eaton was ranked No. 2 in the state by
onthemat.com; Jefferson No. 3 and Eagle Valley No. 4. As notes, Eaton won the tourney, followed by Eagle Valley. Elizabeth ended up in third ahead of ranked Jefferson with Weld Central a strong fifth.
The depth showed throughout the weekend.
At 132, the final was a showdown between No. 1-ranked Andrew Sansbum, of Jefferson, and No. 2 Comroe, of Eagle Valley. Sansbum won this bout, 9-7, and it’s not hard to envision a rematch at the Pepsi Center.
The Devils’ Raper continued his fantastic freshman campaign with third place at 126. He knocked off Elizabeth senior Will Ezren, 7-5, to win bronze.
Bossow, at 138, picked up two pins, including one of Elizabeth’s Ryan Connelley in 58 seconds, that sealed fourth place and a ticket to state.
The gut-wrencher of the weekend was Medina at 103, a weight class identified as a stacked field before the tournament. Medina made the semifinals but lost to eventual champion Robert Estrada, of Weld Central.
Medina finished fourth, but, as wrestling fans know, if the fourth-place finisher hasn’t faced the fifth-place wrestler, they battle for a state berth in an extra match. Eaton’s Alex Castenada edged Medina, 6-5, for the final spot at state.
“Devastated. Just devastated,” Cross said.
Huskies qualify three
Meanwhile, at the Class 4A Region 1 Tournament, Battle Mountain wrestling did itself proud as three Huskies are going to the 4A state tourney.
At 152, the Huskies’ Anthony Sanchez had to go through Central’s Tristan Rascon twice, but he won twice, including a pin in the second bout for fourth place.
Victor Ortiz reached the semifinals before losing but wrestled his way back with a 9-2 victory over Wheat Ridge’s Jayce Chea and a wild 16-10 triumph against Longmont’s Audie Herrera. Ortiz finished third at 160.
At heavyweight, Battle Mountain’s Jeremiah Vasquez recorded two pins during wrestle-backs to finish third.