In Gypsum: Eagle Valley wrestlers flash potential
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado ” The postseason is still a few weeks away, but Eagle Valley’s Colt Ewing already looks to be in tournament form.
Ewing methodically dismantled his only opponent on Thursday night much like he has all year long.
Besides Ewing’s impressive showing, Kris Moya, Nikk Soto and Matt Kottenstette took steps in the right direction in the Devils’ triangular meet against Moffat County and Rifle. The Bulldogs and Bears got the best of Eagle Valley on the scoreboard, though, with Moffat County winning, 54-18, and Rifle, 56-14.
“There were a couple of bright spots,” Eagle Valley coach Ron Beard said. “We weren’t displeased with the effort against Rifle. The things we did wrong in some of the matches are easy fixes. We showed good effort.”
After accepting a forfeit win in his first match, Ewing was a ball of energy against Rifle’s Keaton Deere. In the first 15 seconds, the 112-pound junior notched his first takedown. Two more takedowns and two near falls followed in Ewing’s dominating 12-0 win.
“I wanted to come out and be aggressive ” set the tone of the match,” Ewing said.
In the past couple of weeks, Ewing has ratcheted up his workouts in hopes of making the state tournament. Wrestling against the 140-pound Kottenstette in practice every day also helps.
“(The practices) are definitely more intense,” Ewing said. “We know what we have to do now. At the beginning of the season, it was just kind of going out there and wrestling your hardest. Now, it’s getting down to crunch time. Practices are getting harder. You have to step it up.”
Moya also flashed his potential in the 103-pound bout against Rifle’s Devon Godeski. It didn’t take long for Godeski to score five quick points, but Moya responded.
First, he whipped Godeski around for a reversal. Seconds later, Moya put Godeski’s shoulders to the mat for the pin.
“I didn’t want to lose again,” Moya said. “I was fired up because I lost earlier (against Moffat County).”
“Kris showed some heart to get off his back,” Beard said. “That’s the character we were talking about tonight. He could have easily folded.”
Soto scored a victory over Rifle’s Keaton Long at 152 for Eagle Valley’s first win not by forfeit. Soto nearly pinned Long multiple times, but settled for a 12-2 major decision.
Even in a loss, Kottenstette battled to the end against the Bears’ No. 1-ranked James Conrardy. Kottenstette tied the match at two with a reversal. Conrardy notched two reversals of his own to take the match by a 6-3 final.
“To lose 6-3 to the No. 1 kid in the state, we’re OK with that,” Beard said.
Moffat County defeats Devils
The first dual of the night didn’t go as well for Eagle Valley. Moffat County recorded five pins on its way to an easy victory.
The Bulldogs’ falls came from Nathan Tomlin, Jesse Breslin, Cody Nelson, Ethan Kinner and Troy Vernon. All of the Devils’ points were scored by forfeit.
Thursday marked the end of three Eagle Valley seniors’ career at home. Unfortunately, Andrew Hill, Joey Bajza and Trent Book were all unable to wrestle because of injury or illness.
Hill currently leads Eagle Valley with 21 wins this season. Bajza has 18 wins this year. After qualifying for the state tournament last season, Book hasn’t been able to wrestle this year because of a shoulder injury.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.