Kottenstette grabs first title | VailDaily.com

Kottenstette grabs first title

Ian Cropp
Vail, CO Colorado

LEADVILLE, Colorado ” In most sports, hard work can only take you so far.

But in wrestling, each minute of practice in the gymbrings you a little further on the mat come tournament time.

This past weekend at the Lake County Tournament, Eagle Valley grapplers saw those investments pay some nice dividends.

Freshman Matt Kottenstette brought the Devils their first championship of the year, taking the 125 title. Kottenstette pinned his way into the finals, where he won, 12-0.

“It’s huge because he was an unseeded wrestler coming into the tournament,” said Eagle Valley coach Luke Cross. “He was beaming afterwards. We’re expecting good things from him.

“Early on, he took his licks, and made some freshman mistakes, but has been improving every day. Now he’s one of the ranked wrestlers in the state.”

Senior Captain Chad Strakbein continues to lead by example, taking second at 112.

“He works hard in the room and it shows on the mat, too,” Cross said. “Kids strive to work like him.”

Andrew Hill rolled his way to the finals, but had to forfeit his match due to an illness.

“He’s at the Chad level ” one of the hardest workers in the room, and he’s placed at every tourney this year,” Cross said.

Sophomore Colt Ewing showed why he’s a constant threat at 103, fighting his way back to take third.

“He lost to a kid from Rocky Ford in the semifinals who is ranked No. 1 in the state, and he gave him a pretty good match,” Cross said.

Next weekend, the Devils head to North Glen.

“It’s a good rebuilding year for us, and if they work hard, it could be a good year for everyone,” Cross said.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.

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