Devils finish second at own invitational |

Devils finish second at own invitational

Ryan Slabaugh

After all, he says, the regular season is only one big practice. When February and the regional and state meets roll around, then the team can then start to focus.

If Saturday’s results at the Eagle Valley Invitational were any indication, the postseason might be a busy time for the Devils. Eagle Valley used three championships and six other top-four finishes to finish second, just behind 4A Rifle, ranked ninth in the state, among a field of 16 teams.

“Those three guys did well. Even Tim Rietz, who finished second, had a great match,” Lueders said. “But I had an old buddy once said, “the whole season is just fluff.’ I want everyone to wrestle their best in February. I may be crazy, but I think we can send 10 (to state) and place five or six.”

Devils Tommy Barela, Mason Ewing and Jeff Bair all finished first for Eagle Valley.

The following is breakdown of the meet by weight class:

103 pounds

Eagle Valley senior Tommy Barela (13-2) pinned Buena Vista’s Jimmy Drawbridge (16-4) late in the second period, earning Barela his second tournament championship of the year. Barela won the Tigers’ Lair Invitational earlier this season, and finished fifth at the Warrior Classic before the holiday break.

“I was a little worried at the beginning,” said Barela, ranked fourth in 3A in his weight class. “I didn’t feel good the rest of the day. But it was just something I had to overcome.”

The Devils’ B.J. Jaramillo finished third, winning with a pin in the second period over Arvada’s Paul Wassan.

112 pounds

Freshman Mason Ewing (11-3) made the most of his first appearance at his own Invitational, handing Buena Vista’s Blake Bennetts (17-2) a rare loss in the championship. Ewing slid past Bennetts with a 4-3 win, earning him the most outstanding underclassman wrestler award.

“I was just hoping hard for every point,” Ewing said. “We, as a team, looked pretty good. We’ve been working hard in practice and we’ve been doing a lot of conditioning.”

Battle Mountain’s Fran Saucedo (4-1) pinned Olathe’s Brent Havens (11-8) in the consolation final.

119 pounds

Arvada’s Nick Buschman (10-2) pinned Olathe’s Kirk Piatt (14-4) midway through the second period. Eagle Valley freshman Kyle Kottenstette (14-5) beat Rifle’s Tyson Thompson (9-14) in overtime 4-2, to finish in third place.

125 pounds

Battle Mountain’s Adam Garcia (3-1) went into the championship undefeated and confident, but Rifle’s Rodney Long (16-9) proved too much. Garcia was pinned at the start of the second period.

“I’m probably not where I should be,” Garcia said. “I could be in a lot better shape right now. The two-week break hurt a lot of the team, not only myself. I was winded going into the second period.”

In the consolation championship, Mat Jiminez (15-3) beat Arvada’s Brian Boreck (6-8) with a 1-0 decision.

130 pounds

Rifle’s Cody Ward (17-5) beat Sheridan’s Robert Seifert (11-5) with a 14-7 decision. Summit County’s Jon Wheeler won the consolation by forfeit.

135 pounds

Denver North’s Dave Ozuk (10-0) turned a close match into a pin at the start of the second period, beating Summit County’s Zac Conklin (13-5). Buena Vista’s Jon Craver (17-2) beat Rifle’s Tyler Cose by forfeit.

140 pounds

Eagle Valley’s Tim Rietz (13-4) met top-seed Ben Burdin (16-3), of Middle Park, in the finals, where Burdin proved why he’s ranked No. 1. Burdin built a 3-0 lead after the first period, and then didn’t let Rietz get underneath him, going on to win a 5-1 decision.

Olathe’s Aaron Martinez (14-4) won by forfeit over Rifle’s David Suminski (14-12) in the consolation final.

145 pounds

Olathe’s J.T. Armendariz (16-4) beat Evergreen’s Kellen Doone (16-5) with a pin in 48 seconds. In the consolation final, Eagle Valley freshman Chris Harvey (11-5) beat Sheridan’s Justin Aguilar (8-7) with a pin in 53 seconds.

Harvey earned the fastest pin of the day with 13-second job in the first round.

152 pounds

Alameda’s Rick Burgess (15-1) beat Rifle’s Casie Dunlap 9-6 to win the championship. Rifle’s Craig Gose (10-7) won by major decision over Olathe’s Sean Martinez (4-4) in the consolation final.

160 pounds

Rifle’s Jesse Long (23-2) slipped past Arvada’s Tim Sexton (8-2) to win the championship, 8-7. In the consolation final, Olathe’s Rodney Brashers (14-6) beat Evergreen’s Logan Brewer (13-3) with a 3-2 decision.

171 pounds

Rifle’s Anthony Alfini (19-4), ranked No. 3 in 4A, knocked off Basalt’s Garret Jammaron (13-6) with a pin in 3 minutes, 31 seconds. In the consolation final, Eagle Valley’s Charles Faulhaber (8-6) fell to Olathe’s Zack Johnson (9-6) in an 11-6 decision.

189 pounds

Middle Park’s Nathan Macchione (17-2), ranked No. 3 in 3A, beat Denver North’s Zach Guiterrez (10-1) with a 10-2 major decision. Sheridan’s James Kyle (16-3) finished third. Eagle Valley’s Dan Rivera (7-5) finished fourth.

215 pounds

Using his quickness, Eagle Valley’s Jeff Bair (8-3) pummeled Middle Park’s Kyle Falzitto (2-1) in the championship. Bair earned his pin midway through the second period.

“I just try to go out tough every time,” Bair said. “I never know. I just go out and think that everyone’s going to be tough.”

Clay Barker (11-8), of Evergreen, beat Buena Vista’s Bert Williams (8-8) in the consolation final.

275 pounds

Steamboat’s Will Zimmerer (13-2) overpowered Sheridan’s Joey Lopez (12-5) in the final, winning 3-1. Rifle’s Kyle Hunter (12-8) finished third after beating Eagle Valley’s John Saldana (11-5) with a first-round pin in the consolation final.

Next up for Eagle Valley is a home match against Meeker Friday at 5 p.m. The Huskies, meanwhile, travel to Middle Park Thursday for a 6 p.m. start.

TEAM SCORES: 1. Rifle, 219.50; 2. Eagle Valley, 189; 3. Olathe, 161.50; 4. Buena Vista, 137; 5. Sheridan, 102.50; 6. Middle Park, 96; 7. Denver North, 82.5; 8. Arvada, 80; 9. Evergreen, 69; 10. Battle Mountain, 61; 11. Alameda, 59; 12. Summit, 52.5; 13. Steamboat Springs, 51; 14. Basalt, 49; 15. Eagle Valley JV, West Grand, 24.

Devils basketball falls in league play

CEDAREDGE – Cedaredge’s height proved too much for Eagle Valley boys basketball Saturday night, as the No. 8 Bruins knocked off the Devils 62-44 in 3A Western Slope League action.

Eagle Valley (2-1 in the league, 2-4 overall) held a slim 16-13 lead after the first eight minutes, but the Bruins (3-0, 6-1) turned to a backline that averages 6-feet-5-inches tall to take command. Cedaredge jumped ahead 32-20 at halftime and never looked back.

“It’s just a good learning experience,” Devils head coach Phil Cain said. “They did a good job of rebounding and getting second shots. We had a lot of unforced errors. It was a good maturation process.”

Eagle Valley senior Craig Jagger led the team with 18 points, while sophomore Cody Gerard added 11.

In other action, Eagle Valley girls basketball fell to Cedaredge 52-19.

Ryan Slabaugh is a sports writer for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555 ext. 608 or at

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