States in sight for local wrestlers
It’s a tough road to Denver for the local wrestling teams. Both Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain face stiff tests in their respective district tournaments.For Eagle Valley, it’ll be a highly ranked Hotchkiss team that poses the most difficult competition. After beating Olathe 41-20 over theweekend of Feb. 7-8, the Devils lost 52-15 to Hotchkiss. Hotchkiss placed fifth in the state 3A classification last year and might still be in Eagle Valley’s collective head.”I thought we were ready to go, but it just didn’t turn out that way,” said head coach Jeff Lueders.Tommy Barela and Tim Reitz again led the way for the Devils over the weekend. They’ll be seeded first and second respectively in their weight classification and lead a Devil team that Lueders still thinks can send up to 10 wrestlers to state.”I told the kids if we do this right, maybe we can have another dual meet with Hotchkiss,” Lueders said. “I think the kids know they can wrestle better than they did.”Eagle Valley will compete with 11 teams in their district tournament at Montrose High School.The district for Battle Mountain is even more brutal. Six of the top 10 teams in the state will be at Moffatt County High School this weekend, Feb. 15-16. Not only will Moffatt County enjoy the comforts of home, but they’ll also be gunning for their third straight state 4A championship.”We’ve got some kids right on the bubble,” said head coach Jason Dutton. “Chris Sandoval and Rudy Frausto have decent shots, Adam Garcia is seeded sixth at 125 pounds in a group that has five ranked kids in it, and Daniel Trujillo at 130 pounds is 12-4 in his last 16 matches. (Trujillo’s) wrestling the best of anyone on our team right now.”In hockey, the Battle Mountain Huskies wrapped up the Metro Conference championship with a 5-1 win against Mitchell on Feb. 8. The Huskies finished unbeaten in 10 conference games and 15-1 overall.Now the Huskies await seeding for the state tournament. That will happen on Feb. 20, with first and second round games on the following two days.Cheyenne Mountain, the only other team in the sate with only one loss, and Battle Mountain will end up with the top two seeds for the playoffs.Over the season, head coach Jade Kersey has seen big strides from his team.”Our puck movement through the neutral zone has been a big asset,” Kersey said. “It allows us to get the puck to the outside guys and utilize our speed. We’re also doing a good job of capitalizing on second chance opportunities.”Local skiers participated in giant slalom races at Ski Cooper on Feb. 7. Eric Nordstrom of Battle Mountain led the local boys with an eighth-place finish. On the girls’ side, Courtney Robinson of VailMountain School led the way with a third-place finish.Erica Ghent and Jenna Hughes of Battle Mountain placed eighth and 10th respectively, and Lindsay Kunkel of Eagle Valley came in 11th.Finally, the boys and girls basketball teams have two more weekends before their regular seasons end. We’ll update everyone next week about their various district playoff scenarios.