No doubt: Armstrong a state champ
DENVER – Just perfect.
Eagle Valley’s Andy Armstrong brought it home, winning the Class 4A 220-pound state wrestling championship Saturday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver by demolishing Canon City’s Garrett Benell, 14-3.
One year after finishing fifth at this tournament, Armstrong is on top of the mountain with a sparkling 40-0 record.
He is Eagle Valley’s first state champion since Chris Harvey won at 160 pounds in 2006.
And that’s another thing – Armstrong’s name goes up on the wall of the wrestling room at Eagle Valley in Gypsum, along with guys like B.J. Jaramillo (103 pounds, 2005), MIke Long (heavyweight, 2000) Justin Speakman (140, 1999) and Nathan Bryant, the school’s only two-time winner (167, 1984 and 185, 1985), just to name a few.
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The 16th state champion in school history, Armstrong capitalized early when Benell tried to shoot him. The Eagle Valley senior quickly turned his body over Benell’s for a two-point reversal. Benell escaped Armstrong’s hold, and the score was 2-1 after one.
It will be a trivia note in history, but Benell actually led this match briefly with a takedown early in the second, but Armstrong flipped himself over for the reverse, and had the lead for good.
Armstrong spent most of the rest of the second period on top of Benell, working his left leg to turn him. After a stalemate near the end of the second, Armstrong finally got the turn and a 6-3 lead.
Armstrong took complete control of the bout in the third period, blowing out of his bottom position for one point. He easily rebuffed another attempted advance by Benell and turned that into an easy two-point takedown. The Devils senior eventually worked Benell onto his back for three-point near fall, and a 12-3 lead. With around 10 seconds left, Armstrong earned three more points with back time to ice the win.
A rather soft-spoken guy, Armstrong appeared to be pointing at his family in the stands of the Pepsi Center, while he took off his red leg band. He then gave big hugs to Devils head coach Ron Beard and assistant coach Luke Cross.
Ty LaFramboise ended up taking fourth at 182 pounds. Late Friday, he beat Canon City’s Anthony Abbott, 6-3. The senior kept working his way back with pins Saturday.
LaFramboise put Mesa Ridge’s Tremell Stanley on the mat in 2:23, and wasted little time of disposing of Vista Ridge’s Jacob Hawthorne. That pin came at 41 seconds.
In the third-place match, LaFramboise lost a heartbreaker, 4-3, to Roosevelt’s Josh Semmler.
Joey Sanchez got the best of Palmer Ridge’s Phoenix Versey, 7-5, in a wrestle-back late Friday night. He just missed out on a medal – the top six in each class make the podium – when he was pinned by Broomfield’s Demetrius Zissimos early in the third period Saturday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.