Jaramillo, Best eying state titles
GYPSUM – In their minds, B.J. Jaramillo and Chris Best have already won their 4A state titles. The two senior captains of the Eagle Valley wrestling team have already envisioned themselves standing atop the winner’s podium on Saturday night in Denver at the Pepsi Center.They’ve stolen countless glances at the champions wall in the Eagle Valley wrestling room to see where their names will go alongside former Devils’ individual champions from years past.The only thing separating Jaramillo, a 103-pounder, and Best, a 145-pounder, from the state titles of their dreams and the ones CHSAA officials will be handing out three days from now is four matches. If they win all four, those dreams melt into reality. If they lose just one, the reality of coming so close – oh, so close – will stare them straight in the eyes for as long as they care to remember.”We know we can’t walk away from any match knowing we left something on the mat,” Jaramillo said Wednesday night after a hard final practice. “There has to be no regrets.”Both seniors – the lone No. 1 seeds on the list of nine state qualifiers Eagle Valley is sending to Denver today – have been close to gold before.Jaramillo finished as the runner-up last year in the 103-pound division in what was his first state appearance. Best, in his second state appearance last year, finished off the podium. The memories of those state showings have stuck with both this season as they’ve prepared for this weekend – the conclusion of their prep-wrestling careers.Best (29-5) is looking to make amends for what he considered a disappointing state meet last year.
“I kind of choked,” he said. “This is the last chance. This is my third time going to state, so I think that helps with experience. … I still think I’ll be a little nervous, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Being nervous can give you energy.”Jaramillo (32-2) said he’s had his mind set on the state title ever since he finished with the silver medal last year. Now, he said, he just has to go out and perform.”(I) just have to treat this like a regular match,” he said. “That’s all.”
Head coach Ron Beard, a former state champion himself at Fruita-Monument, said both of his senior captains possess unique qualities as wrestlers and as leaders.Jaramillo is a patient competitor who likes to wear down his opponents over the course of a match with his strength and endurance. He possesses the ability to strike quickly, but is never one to force anything. He is also a soft-spoken presence in practice and in the locker room – a leader by example.Best, on the other hand, is a flamboyant competitor who Beard said, “We can count on to never go into double overtime.”The 145-pounder is a fast shooter who doesn’t bide his time before he attacks. He is also a master of getting out of bad situations and then turning the tables on his opponents to win in dramatic fashion.”He can wrestle his way out of anything,” the coach said. In contrast to the reserved Jaramillo, Best is a strong vocal leader who is constantly pushing his teammates. He is also, as Beard said, a bit of a jokester.
The coach said both captains have used their individual strengths capably to get the most out of each other and their teammates this season. They represent the yin and the yang of Eagle Valley wrestling – two fierce competitors whose energy has meshed together and spread throughout the wrestling room in Gypsum.”They’ve done everything I could expect from them,” Beard said. “They’re great kids and it’s been a pleasure to work with them.”The captains shared similar feelings when asked about their first-year coach. They said that to work for a former state champion is an undeniable advantage. More than anything, they love Beard’s enthusiasm.”He knows what it takes to get there since he’s been there himself,” Best said. If all goes as planned these next three days, Jaramillo and Best will be saying the same thing after Saturday night. As Beard himself preaches, the first step to achieving anything great is to envision it in your mind first. Best and Jaramillo took that step a long time ago. Now, it appears, it is time to take the final one.Staff Writer Nate Peterson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. B.J. Jaramillo, 103 pounds, No. 1 seed2. Jimmy Benevides, 112 pounds, No. 3 seed3. Mason Ewing, 140 pounds, No. 2 seed4. Chris Best, 145 pounds, No. 1 seed5. Kylan Kottenstette, 152 pounds, No. 3 seed6. Chris Harvey, 160 pounds, No. 3 seed7. Brendan Best, 171 pounds, No. 3 seed8. Brian Saldana, 189 pounds, No. 3 seed9. Gabe Velasquez, 275 pounds, No. 2 seedVail, Colorado