Devils’ fearsome foursome off to state
GRAND JUNCTION – Eagle Valley’s big four came into this weekend’s regional wrestling tournament hungry. Two championships and two second-place finishes later, the Devils’ appetites still haven’t been sated.Kylan Kottenstette grabbed the 152 weight title and Chris Harvey (160) pinned his opponent in the finals to win the championship.The Devils’ Mason Ewing (135), who suffered a shoulder injury in his semifinal match, wrestled with one arm in the finals, and lost, 4-3. And Brendan Best (171) seemingly won his finals match until an assistant referee interjected with a call after time expired to rule in favor of Bests’ opponent, Levon Davis, 4-3.”Our four that we counted on are going (to state),” said Eagle Valley coach Ron Beard. “We were hoping we’d get lucky and have another, but we’re happy with the four that are going. They can all potentially win state.”Kottenstette rolled through his semifinal match against the top-seeded wrestler in the tournament, winning 9-1, and then earned a 4-1 win the in the finals against Tim Long of Rifle.
“This was the first time I won regionals, so it feels good,” Kottenstette said. “I feel really confident after the past two tournaments and feel good going into state.”Beard was impressed with Kottenstette’s consistency on the mat.”He’s a controlled, smart wrestler,” Beard said. “He won on strength, shape, and smarts.”Harvey also dominated his opponents all weekend. In the semifinals, he beat his opponent by technical fall.”He was one of the strongest kids I’ve wrestled against,” Harvey said. “I went in with a good attitude, and told myself I wasn’t going to lose.”In the finals, Harvey faced Rifle’s Tyler Thompson.
“I was pretty confident because I’d wrestled him before, and beat him, so I had the mental edge,” Harvey said. Late callBest held a lead late in the championship match, but succumbed to what Beard and others described as a blatant officiating blunder.With three seconds remaining, Davis attempted a move on Best, but as time expired, the head referee did not make any call signaling points scored.Seconds later, the assistant referee, whose job it is to watch the clock, awarded points to Davis.
“You know it’s the wrong call when the other kid’s name is announced when he’s on the podium and the crowd booed,” Beard said.But Beard and his wrestlers aren’t dwelling on the call too much.”These guys know that it doesn’t matter where you place at regionals,” Beard said. “What matters is what happens at state.”The regional champions will be seeded at state, so Ewing and Best will start out wrestling higher-seeded wreslters.”Instead of wrestling a kid that took fourth at regionals, you’ll end up wrestling a kid that took third,” Beard said. “It doesn’t change much.”Eagle Valley’s Josh Wamboldt (103) placed fifth, one spot out of qualifying for state. Bo Archibeque (140) was one match out of placing, while Herman Hogue (145) also wrestled well for the Devils.
Palisade won the team title and Moffat County finished second.The state meet start Thursday night in Denver at the Pepsi Center.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado