Harvey wins state; Best gets second | VailDaily.com

Harvey wins state; Best gets second

Ian Cropp

DENVER One, two, three, five. Thats not the typical way to count, but on Saturday, thats how the Eagle Valley Devils wrestling team counted its state finishes. Chris Harvey brought home a first-place finish at 160 pounds, defeating Johnny Ortega of Thompson Valley, 6-4. Brendan Best lost in the 171 finals to John Tangeman of Broomfield, 3-1, on a questionable late call that took the officials half a minute to deliberate on. Mason Ewing placed third in 135, and Kylan Kottenstette was fifth in 152. Harvey wrestled much like he did all tournament, strong and steady. After grabbing a 2-0 lead on an early takedown, Harvey couldnt hold onto Ortega on a restart, and Ortega cut the lead to 2-1. Again, at the beginning of the second, Ortega escaped, only to fall victim to another Harvey takedown. But once again, Ortega garnered another point with an escape, bringing the score to 4-3.In the final period, Harvey started on bottom, and it was his turn for an escape, which he earned on a restart after the two wrestlers went out of bounds. With 1:13 left in the match, Harvey and Ortega butted heads while falling out of bounds, and Ortega appeared to lose consciousness but was cleared to wrestle by a physician. Lo and behold, Ortega earned another escape on the restart, but Harvey would not let Ortega gain any body positioning on him.After his win, Harvey hugged both of his coaches, shook hands and then ran into the stands to celebrated with his family. It was one of the few times all year Harvey showed much emotion after a match.These guys set such big goals for themselves, said coach Ron Beard. Itll hit him later.Following his match, Harvey was ejected from the tournament due to flagrant misconduct, according to CHSAA officials. However, Harvey did retain his state title.Im perplexed. I dont even know what happened, Beard said. Best effortAlthough the first period of Bests finals match ended in a 0-0, he was obviously in control. A minute into the period, he had nearly earned a takedown but was just out of bounds. Best started the second on bottom and eventually was able to escape to take a 1-0 lead. Several neutral restarts later, Best retained his lead at the end of the second. The two wrestlers struggled to gain position in the third, but with about 40 seconds remaining, Best positioned himself over Tangeman. Best then put Tangeman in a headlock, and appeared to have one of his arms engaged, but the officials blew the whistle. After a conference, the officials awarded Tangeman a penalty point and put him on bottom in the restart with 16 ticks to go in the match. On the restart, Tangeman escaped Bests hold and earned a reverse to clinch the win as the clock hit zero.I wrestled my heart out, should have won the match, but didnt, Best said. I definitely wanted to be and expected to be a state champion, but it was robbed from me today. Beard was also displeased with the call and thought it brought a second wind to Tangeman.Things like that just kill momentum. That kid got every bit of strength he had for 18 seconds, Beard said. It would have been better off having those kids at 1-1 and have it decided in overtime. Next year Best hopes to be back and leave no question as to who will be the better wrestler.Absolutely dominate thats the way to do it, Best said.Beard is pretty optimistic that is what will happen.Nobody in the state will touch him next year, Beard said. Gritty endingsKottenstette and Ewing fought hard all day Saturday and ended their high school wrestling careers with wins.Ewing went undefeated in three down-to-the-wire matches, while Kottenstette wrestled through a leg injury in his placing match.In his third-place match, Ewing squared off against Cheyenne Mountains Austin Stubas, who had beaten Ewing 7-5 Friday.With the match tied at two in the second period, Stubas earned a reversal to take a 4-2 lead. Before the period ended, Ewing knotted the match at four with a takedown. Like he had in his previous two matches Saturday, Ewing started the third period on bottom. Stubas was unable to gain a secure hold on Ewing, and the official called for a restart with 36 seconds remaining in the match. Ewing exploded off the whistle and fought his way free with 24 ticks on the clock just as both wrestlers stepped out of bounds to pull ahead, 5-4. After a neutral restart, Ewing fended off Stubas advances for the win.Thats huge for Mason on so many levels, said assistant coach Luke Cross. One, its the last match of his high school career. And two, hes avenging a loss. Much like Ewing did his best Harry Houdini to win his final match, he eluded the clutches of his opponent in his previous match of the day against Pueblo Easts Matt Masquez. During the second period, Masquez, who started on top, was whistled three times for a dangerous position. With 15 seconds left, Ewing all but escaped from Masquezs clutches, with Masquez clinging to Ewings right leg. Finally, with three seconds on the clock, Ewing broke his leg free to earn the escape point.The wrestlers started the third in the neutral position, and neither could gain an advantage. Following a stalemate call by the official, Ewing gained a favorable position to close out the match.Ewing started out the day with a win against Grand Centrals Josh Gonzales. In the first period, Ewing earned a take down, and but Gonzales evened the score with a reversal at the end of the second.Ewing started the third period in the down position, and would remain there for the rest of the mach. While on bottom, Ewing was awarded a penalty point, as Gonzales used a dangerous position on Ewing. One-legged wonderWith an injured left leg, Kottenstette got some revenge against Matt Chavez of Morgan to take fifth place in 152. Friday, Chavez pinned Kottenstette in the quarterfinals. In Saturdays match, Kottenstette couldnt even get his normal warm up due to his injured leg.I was trying to jump around warming up, and I couldnt do it, so I just walked back and forth, Kottenstette said. I would have beaten him a lot worse if I was pain free. It was still a convincing win. Kottenstette earned a 2-0 on a take down while deftly keeping his body in bounds. After a hard fought second period, Kottenstette broke a 2-2 tie with an escape, and added another escape in the third to move ahead, 4-2. Kottenstette give Chavez a chance to earn any points for the rest of the match.I knew it was my last match and I didnt want to leave my high school career with a loss, Kottenstette said. (My leg) hurt quite a bit, but I kept most of my weight on my right leg. Equally impressive was Kottenstettes finish in his previous match against Rifles Tim Long.Kottenstette jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Long evened the score on a take down, and earned a big advantage when Kottenstette went down grabbing his leg. In the middle of getting away and something weird happened where my foot went one way and my knee went the other and I heard it snap, Kottenstette said. After an extensive timeout in which Kottenstette winced and limped around the ring, he returned to the mat to finish the period.In the second period, Long, increased his lead to 7-2 as Kottenstette struggled to avoid being pinned while in obvious pain. On one restart, Kottenstette crawled and dragged his left leg into the center of the ring. Cross had high praises for Ewing and Kottenstettes performances after losing in the quarters.It takes a lot to fight back, Cross said. I could never do it. Kylan and Mason have guts.In his first match of the day, Kottenstette earned a 4-1 victory over Broomfields Shane Mortensen. Kottenstette carried a 2-0 lead into the third period, but Mortensen cut the deficit in half with an early escape. With 35 seconds left in the match, Kottenstette earned a takedown, and retained control for the rest of the match. As a team, the Devils finished ninth in 4A with 67 total points.Im going to miss these kids so much, but Im going to glad Brendan is back, Beard said. Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 970-949-0555 ext 14631, or at icropp@vaildaily.com Vail, Colorado

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