Eagle Valley places three wrestlers at Palisade | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley places three wrestlers at Palisade

Ian Smith
Vail, CO Colorado
Charles Broshous/Special to the DailyEagle Valley's Joey Bajza, left, tries to turn his opponent during the Palisade Invitational on Saturday. Bajza went 3-2 in the tournament.

PALISADE, Colorado ” Eagle Valley sent four wrestlers to the Palisade Invitational last Saturday, and three of them came home with medals.

Andrew Hill captured his first tournament title for the Devils. Colt Ewing placed second and Matt Kottenstette took third. Joey Bazja also did well, going 3-2 in the tournament.

Wrestling at 135 pounds, Hill defeated a trio of tough opponents to win the tournament. Hill won his first match, 5-4, over Justin Bueno of Fruita Monument. In the semifinals, Hill topped Zach Sort of Grand Junction, 6-2. Sort is ranked No. 8 in Class 5A.

Hill kept rolling in the finals. He recorded a takedown with 12 seconds left in the match to beat Class 4A, No. 6-ranked Jesse Blakely of Montezuma-Cortez.

“Andrew wrestled his heart out today,” Eagle Valley coach Ron Beard said. “I think he should have been named outstanding wrestler (of the tournament).”

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Ewing nearly won Eagle Valley’s second title of the day at 112. The junior started his day by pinning Battle Mountain’s Irving Ruacho in 3:13. Next, Ewing scored a 5-1 win against Casey Thornton of Palisade to advance into the championship.

Unfortunately for the Devils, Ewing fell to Grand Junction’s Jaqub Gurule, 4-2, to take second place. Gurule is ranked No. 4 in Class 5A.

Matt Kottenstette built on his title at the Eagle Valley Invitational earlier in the month with a third-place finish at 140. The senior started his tournament with an 11-0 victory. After getting pinned in his next match, Kottenstette bounced back to win two more bouts.

Kottenstette used a fall and a 9-2 decision to claim the bronze medal.

After sitting out the Eagle Valley Invitational because of an illness, Bajza did well to finish with a 3-2 record. Two of Bajza’s three victories were by fall. His two pins came early, with one coming at 30 seconds and the other at 47 seconds.

“The good news is that Joey is only going to get tougher as the season goes on,” Beard said.

Hill, Ewing, Bajza and Kottenstette will travel to Northglenn on Saturday. The Eagle Valley junior varsity will wrestle at Englewood the same day.

Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or ismith@vaildaily.com.

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