Grapplers geared up for regionals
The road to Denver goes through Grand Junction.Maybe not for the typical driver, but for Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain wrestlers, this weekend’s regionals in Grand Junction are the ticket to the state tournament in Denver the following weekend.After a season of top finishes in big tournaments, the Devils are poised to make some noise at regionals.”We are hoping our four main stays (Mason Ewing, Kylan Kottenstette, Chris Harvey and Brendan Best) are in the finals, and maybe one more,” said Eagle Valley coach Ron Beard.The top four finishers in each weight class advance to state, and with many of the top wrestlers in the state squaring off in Grand Junction, the competition will be heavy.So what are the Devils doing to prepare this week?”At the beginning of the week, we had two objectives,” Beard said. “Don’t get hurt, and don’t lose your shape. Our guys are ready.”
Ewing (135 weight) has dominated his opponents all season, and Beard thinks the same will happen this weekend.”It would be nice to see someone give him a six-minute match, but I see him pinning out,” Beard said. “This week Mark Strakbein (EVHS principal and former state champion wrestler) came in to roll around, and Mason flat out killed him. Mark said, ‘That’s a kid that only has one speed, which is what you want. There is no coasting.'”Kottenstette (152) has come back from an injured elbow and ribs and is poised to reach the finals, Beard said.Harvey (160), who came into the year ranked No. 1 in the state, should qualify to the finals.”He feels like there is quite a bit of pressure on him,” Beard said. “If he wrestles to his potential, he’ll be right there at regionals and state.”And Best (171) is also poised to reach the finals.”When he figures out how incredibly good he is, he’ll be unstoppable,” Beard said.Sights on SaturdayThe Huskies hope to be wrestling come Saturday afternoon when the semifinals matches will be held.
“Realistically, we haven’t had anyone win a tourney this year, so we’re shooting for third and fourth place,” said Battle Mountain coach Mike Anderson.Anderson is doing everything he can to prepare his team for regionals, including hitting the mat.”I’m taking it upon myself to wrestle everyday,” said the 160-pound Anderson, who squares off against Billy Shue (215). “It’s good for me. I come home hurting, and I’m losing weight.” Julian Quintana (125) and Levi Horn (140) will also be at regionals for the Huskies.”Levi just missed the cutoff to get into 135, so he has to stay at 140,” Anderson said.Light and heavyFor the Devils in lower weight classes, as well as the heavyweight division, the path to the finals will be through several ranked wrestlers.”Joey Bazja (112), Trent Book (119), Manuel Carrasco (125) and Ryan Green (130) are facing either the No. 1 or 2 guys in their weight,” Beard said. “There are several coaches that would rather not take some kids because if they get pinned, they are not getting points, but we are about experience, not a team title.”Beard thinks Josh Wamboldt (103) has shaken off some of his early-season hesitation and can knock off a some top wrestlers to advance. Also in Wambolt’s division is a girl from Golden who may make history be being the first girl in the state to qualify for state, and with a record of 24-9, she has a decent chance, Beard said.
After a tough year of facing top opponents, Bo Archibeque (140) could also advance.”Depending on which Bo shows up, he could win it or be out early,” Beard said. “He has already taken down the state champ in a match this year. He has the skills.”Herman Hogue (145) will have to face a former state champion and a one-loss wrestler in the most difficult class.And the Devils’ heavyweight, Louis Romersheuser, has the No. 2,3,4,6 and 7 wrestlers in the state in his division.”If he wrestled like he did when he won the tournaments this year, he’ll make it to state,” Beard said.Friday the wrestlers weigh in at 9 a.m., followed by three potential matches. Then on Saturday, the action continues with the finals taking place in the afternoon.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado