Devils second at Eagle Valley invite
Podiums galore for local teams
GYPSUM — For varsity wrestlers, it’s really not cool to wear your medals.
You politely receive the token and smile, and then turn around and repeat the smile to the other side of the gym as your happy parents take pictures.
Once you jump off the podium, off goes the medal.
Yes, portraying teenage indifference is important, but winning Saturday’s Eagle Valley Invitational just isn’t the big goal. For Devils wrestlers like Lucas Comroe (138 pounds) and Cody Ponce (220), there is only one medal and it’s state gold.
Both finished second at the state tournament at the Pepsi Center, and while it’s nice to wrestle in your home gym as they did Saturday, they’ve got bigger fish to fry.
“All these tournaments are warm-ups for state,” Comroe said. “It just matters what you end up at the end of the season. All these tournaments are times when you work on what you’re lacking.”
“Our focus is on regionals and state,” Ponce said, going on to describe finishing second at state last winter. “It’s not something I wanted to place, especially going into the finals. I wanted first. It’s helped me get here.”
Comroe, Ponce and Matthew Medina (the 103-pound winner for the third straight year at this tourney) all won individual titles on Saturday, helping the Devils to second place as a team behind Buena Vista.
It was nice, but it remains all about state.
Comroe spoke afterward about how his main focus on Saturday was working on keeping mobile when he’s in a bottom position on the mat. Unfortunately, in a way, he was so dominant running through his bracket that he couldn’t work on that Saturday.
“Second place at state really hurt,” Comroe said. “I wanted a state championship. It motivates me every day.”
Ponce had a glorified workout among a small field at 220. Comroe’s ranked No. 2 in the state, according to onthemat.com, while Ponce is No. 1.
Not to be overshadowed, the Devils as a team put on a good show on Saturday. Eagle Valley coach Melvin Veldez gave his team a few extra days off around Christmas in exchange for a lot of work upon their return. The boys held up their end of the bargain.
While Comroe and Ponce grab the headlines, Medina is almost boring in his consistency and senior at 103 pounds at state is a serious threat.
In all, the Devils had nine podiums out of 14 weight classes. That’s a good sign for regionals and state. It’s nice to win, but wrestling back adds to your points.
Coach Veldez was particularly happy for youngsters Logan Stephens (113 pounds) and Will Geiman (170) as they popped onto the steps.
The next generation
Eagle Valley’s Ron Beard announced the Eagle Valley Invite heavyweight champion as Angelo Vasquez.
One can understand the Freudian slip.
Yeah, that would be Jeremiah Vasquez, undefeated at heavyweight. Yes, he’s Angelo’s son and the Battle Mountain coach/dad is darn proud.
“It’s fun. With 20-something family members going through Battle Mountain High School, he’s carrying on the tradition,” said Angelo, who coaches the team with Jesus Morales and A.J. Salazar. “Now, he’s the big dog. I just enjoy watching him do what he does.”
Like Ponce, Jeremiah has the No. 1 spot in his division, according to onthemat.com, but Saturday was big. After two years of losing to Basalt’s Ernesto Lopez, young Vasquez turned the tables on his nemesis.
“New year, new me, new him,” Jeremiah said.
And it’s worth noting that Battle Mountain as a team is coming along. After finishing 10th last season at this tournament with 53 points, the Huskies were seventh Saturday with 77, just one point behind Steamboat Springs.
“It’s just hard work, dedication and showing up every day,” coach Vasquez said. “They’re coachable and then they put it out for six minutes. It’s great to watch.”
Eagle Valley Invitational
106 — Matthew Medina, Eagle Valley, pins Hunter Bercher, Rifle, 2:57, first place.
113 — Logan Stephens, Eagle Valley, pins Eric Danner, Florence, 4:33, third place.
120 — Josh Boeke, Eagle Valley, dec. Ryan Imhoff, Cedaredge, 3-2, third place.
132 — Talon Cordova, Rifle, dec. Manuel Heredia, Eagle Valley, 10-8, fourth place.
138 — Lucas Comroe, Eagle Valley, pins Erik Krauth, Glenwood Springs, 1:03, first place.
145 — Adrian Nieto, Cedaredge, pins Ignacio Velasco, Battle Mountain, 5:59, second place.
152 — Kody Logan, Soroco, major dec. Jason Morrison, Eagle Valley, 13-1, second place; Victor Ortiz, Battle Mountain, pin Kadin Adams, Ralston Valley, 4:48, third place.
160 — Anthony Sanchez, Battle Mountain, win by forfeit Ty Walck, Cedaredge (too many matches), third place.
170 — Alexander Burger, Ralston Valley, pins Will Geiman, Eagle Valley, 4:36, fourth place.
182 — Daniel Gallegos, Eagle Valley, major dec. Jim Gabriel, Buena Vista, 12-4, third place.
220 — Cody Ponce, Eagle Valley, pin Tim Sullivan, Buena Vista, first place.
Heavyweight — Jeremiah Vasquez, Battle Mountain, pins Derek Sanchez, Cedaredge, 3:05, first place; Ernesto Lopez, Basalt pins Abraham Garcia, Eagle Valley, 3:39, fourth place.