Eagle Valley qualifies three wrestlers for state | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley qualifies three wrestlers for state

Ian Smith
Vail, CO Colorado
Daily File PhotoEagle Valley's Matt Kottenstette tries to get out of a hold in a match earlier this season. On Saturday, Kottenstette clinched a berth to the state tournament in the 140-pound weight class.

MONTROSE, Colorado ” Three Eagle Valley wrestlers accomplished their dreams on Saturday and punched their tickets to the 2009 state tournament.

Colt Ewing, Joey Bajza and Matt Kottenstette will make up the Devils’ contingent headed to Denver next weekend.

“We like our chances at state,” Eagle Valley coach Ron Beard said.

Wrestling in the 112-pound weight bracket, Ewing was the first Eagle Valley wrestler to clinch a state berth. The junior finished third in the Class 4A, Region 3 Tournament.

Up next for the Devils was Bajza at 125. After going 1-1 on Friday, Bajza needed to wrestle his way back into the state tournament. He did it by beating a wrestler who got the best of him a day before.

“Joey battled all the way back through,” Beard said. “He kept battling, battling, battling. He avenged a loss in the wrestle-backs to clinch state.”

Kottenstette secured his berth in exciting fashion. In the clinching match at 140, he went into overtime tied 0-0 with Roosevelt’s Jeff Killian. In the sudden-death period, Kottenstette shot in on Killian and notched a takedown to win, 2-0.

Like Bajza, Kottenstette avenged an earlier loss to Killian to make state.

“It’s an emotional roller coaster,” Eagle Valley assistant coach Luke Cross said. “You have great matches. It wears you out. I’m exhausted right now.”

Unfortunately, the day didn’t go as well for senior Andrew Hill. Wrestling in a loaded 135-pound weight class, Hill nearly fought his way to state. He fell just short.

“Andrew wrestled really tough,” Beard said. “He left it all on the mat. He had super-hard competition.”

The state tournament starts on Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

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

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