High expectations for Devils’ grapplers
GYPSUM – When three Eagle Valley wrestlers win a tournament and coach Ron Beard still thinks his team can do better, expectations are pretty high.”We have individuals that can place high at state, and that’s what we are shooting for,” Beard said. “Ultimately, I’d like to get all of my guys going to state.”This past weekend, grapplers Mason Ewing (135 pounds), Chris Harvey (160) and Brendan Best (171) placed first at the Delta tournament. The rest of the team didn’t fare as well as Beard had hoped.”Those two seniors (Ewing and Harvey), along with Best all plan on winning state, so they have to win tournaments along the way,” Beard said. “But getting three other (total match) wins with our other wrestlers, that’s not going to fly.”Unlike the past few years, when the Devils didn’t even field a full squad, this year’s team is quite different.”Before we haven’t been able to fill weight classes, but now we have a lot of kids in the (practice) room,” Harvey said.Not only does Eagle Valley have a lot of kids in the room, but it has a wealth of talent.
“We are really stacked in the lightweights with young guys,” Beard said.And while the Devils have one grappler in each upper weight class, they don’t need much motivation to keep them on the top of their game.”While nobody else (on the team) is in Mason’s or Chris’s weight class, they are getting pounded everyday,” said Beard, who explained that his kids wrestle up or down weight classes in practice. “Basically everyday it’s full go with Harvey, Brendan, Kyle Green (152) Mason, Will Britt (215), Herman Hogue (145), Bo Archibeque (140) and Louis Romersheuser (heavyweight).”One wrestler who always has to be on top of his game is Harvey, who is the No. 1 wrestler in the state.”It stinks,” Harvey said of his ranking. “It was easier when I wasn’t ranked at all. Now I have to work harder than everyone else. I just have to make sure I’m perfect now, and I can’t have room for mistakes.”Beard agreed with Harvey.”Chris has a big target on his back,” Beard said. “He’s kept his composure so far. There will be a lot of kids coming in stalling out a match and try to keep it close.”
Bottoms upOne thing Beard hopes all his wrestlers can avoid is a three-count on the bottom for a pin.”We are working on getting off the bottom,” Beard said. “Our takedowns are solid, but we’ve got to be getting away every time. I want to be known as the team coming off the bottom of the mat – nobody can keep us down.”Already, the Devils have shown their ability to escape hairy situations, and come back for a pin.Jimmy Benavides and Ryan Green came back against Battle Mountain to earn pins, helping to preserve a rare shutout.While some of the earlier matches weren’t as competitive as the team had hoped, the litmus test of the year will be this weekend at the Warrior Classic.
“We’ll find out where we are at,” Beard said. “Mason has two state champions in his weight class, and Jimmy will see some competition.”After the Warrior Classic, the Devils hope to return Kylan Kottenstette to the team from an elbow injury, adding more strength to the senior contingent. And with all the pieces in place for state, anything can happen.”I think if we do what we can do individually, the team part will come,” Ewing said.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado