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Eagle Valley returns to the mat

Ian Cropp
Vail, CO Colorado

NORTHGLENN, Colorado ” Holding a lead at a wrestling meet isn’t like holding a lead in a basketball game.

Still, Eagle Valley wrestling took some pride in being atop of leader board this weekend in the Northglenn Wrestling Invitational at the end of the first round.

“It was pretty neat but not unexpected,” Devils’ coach Ron Beard said. “We have very scrappy wrestlers who believe they can wrestle with anybody. We are few, but we bring it when we step on the mat.”

The Devils, fielding eight wrestlers out of a possible 14 weight classes, had a stellar first round at a tournament with top 5A and 4A teams. In large tournaments, the first round is often one of the more difficult rounds for a team without top-ranked wrestlers, like Eagle Valley.

“Usually we’re a little sluggish in the first round,” Beard said. “But we wrestled really well and hung in there all day. With none of our kids being seeded too highly, we beat some kids we shouldn’t have.”

In the first round, the Devils recorded seven falls.

“It was pretty cool because we were teasing (senior captain) Chad Strakbein because he had the slowest pin in 1 minute, 40 seconds,” Beard said. “We told him he had to speed it up.”

Eagle Valley’s lead faded as it had to forfeit weight classes and other teams advanced many wrestlers. At the end of the day, the Devils placed six of their eight wrestlers among a field of two defending state champions and 30 kids ranked in the top 10 in Colorado.

Colt Ewing (103 pounds), Andrew Hill (135) and Trent Book (152) all took third in their respective classes.

“Every weekend, (Colt) faces (No. 2) Casey Lynn, of Cortez, in the quarterfinals or semifinals,” Beard said. “He gave Casey a really good match. He sticks around and comes back and takes third. We have a survivor motto ” just stay in the tourney and come back. Andrew and Trent have been coming back and taking third a lot, too.”

Matt Kottenstette was fourth at 125, with Joey Bajza fifth at 130 and Strakbein sixth at 112.

Eagle Valley hosts Coalridge today for a rare dual match. Beard said he’ll start all of his seniors. This weekend, the Devils have another tough draw at the Abe Lincoln Tournament.

“It seems where ever we go, we’re hitting studs,” Beard said. “It goes with the whole plan of when we hit regionals, we’ll be ready.”

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.


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