Fine season for Devils wrestling
After a winter’s worth of traveling the state like the Seven Samurai, physically humiliating the majority of challengers, the Devils wrestling team and coach Jeff Leuders can now rest and enjoy their four state medals.
Eagle Valley’s young guns who earned the trip to Denver for the Colorado 3A State Wrestling Meet include B.J. Ewing, senior Tim Reitz, juniors B.J. Jaramillo, Chris Best and Brian Feldana, sophomores Mason Ewing and Chris Harvey and freshman Brendan Best.
The Devils placed somewhere in the top 20 as a team – regional rival Hotchkiss won the tournament – and wrapped up the season 13-3 in dual meets.
“The guys had a good year. It was kind of sad because we beat Hotchkiss earlier in the year at their own tournament,” said Leuders.
Jaramillo returned home with the best individual result – a second-place medal in the 103-pound division.
“What a job he did this year. His record was great. It was his first year on varsity. We can’t be disappointed,” said Leuders.
Jaramillo ended his season with a 37-5 overall record. He lost the final match to St. Marys’ Chris Heilman. One point was given up in the first period, but Jaramillo relaxed on the edge of the mat in the second period and gave up a double-leg takedown.
“He couldn’t get off his back after that. Take those (five points) away, and it was a 3-2 match, and that’s what it should’ve been,” said Leuders.
Jaramillo lost the match by a score of 8-2.
“He had a great tournament, but he was a little cautious (in his final match). He gave that guy (Heilman) a little too much credit,” said Leuders. “B.J.’s a better wrestler, but it was his first state tournament final and I think he was a little nervous. I think it (the loss) was more about him trying not to lose than trying to win.”
Reitz ended his Eagle Valley wrestling career one point shy of a state title. Reitz placed third in the 145-pound division, losing in the semifinals to Tyler Ferracini, who went on the win the title, from Brush High School
“It was a hard-fought match. The final score was 4-3, and Tim was down,” said Leuders.
Reitz finished the year with a record of 31-6, after enduring a shaky start due to a shoulder injury suffered during the football season.
“Tim wrestled really well. He beat a kid who was second in state two years ago in double overtime,” said Leuders. “Tim just wanted it. It took him two to three weeks at the beginning of the year to get into the groove again. He’s a great kid.”
Mason Ewing took fifth in state in the 125-pound division. He ended up with a 34-12 record.
“He showed a lot of guts coming back to get fifth place after losing in OT in the first round,” said Leuders.
Harvey fought his way through pneumonia to the sixth-place spot in the 152-pound division. He walked away from the 2003-’04 season with a 38-8 record.
“For him to get sixth place with pneumonia is quite an achievement. He couldn’t breathe half the time,” said Leuders. “He lost to the eventual state champion, so he had a tough road too.”
In the first round, Chris Best lost to one of the final competitors in the 140-pound division. Best finished the year with a 33-12 record.
Brendan Best won a state match in the 160-pound division as a freshman. He finished with a 25-16 record.
Feldana finished the season with a 25-14 record.
After an impressive season, Eagle Valley has developed a lot of state-title contenders for next year.
Andrew Harley can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext.610, or at email@example.com.