Three Devils advance at state wrestling tourney
DENVER — Five alive on Saturday is the theme for Eagle Valley at the 3A state-wrestling meet at Denver’s Pepsi Center.
The Devils had three winners — Noah Hermosillo (120 pounds), Devin Ward (182) and Xavier Mendoza (220) — during the opening session, while Raul Lopez (126) and Trever LaFramboise (132) suffered first-round defeats and will try to wrestle back in the double-elimination tournament.
Ward had a delightfully brief day, dispatching Lamar’s Colton Eberhardt in all of 35 seconds.
“He was in a hurry,” Devils coach Ron Beard said. “He got busy real quick.”
Ward faces Sheridan’s Aaron Apodaca this morning in the quarterfinals.
Hermosillo set the pace and had a “real workman-like effort,” according to Beard, in his opener at 120 pounds. The sophomore pinned Estes Park’s Hunter Kitchen in 1:16. That sends Hermosillo to a bout against Sheridan’s Homer Navarro today.
Mendoza had the most dramatic win for the Devils. After a scoreless first period, X-Man, as he is better known in Devils’ circles, got an escape for a 1-0 lead against Alamosa’s Manuelito Casias. In the third period, Mendoza took over, putting Casias on his back with 10 seconds left in regulation.
“I think we were worried for X-Man,” Beard said. “He wasn’t worried. He knew he had to drop the hammer.”
Mendoza advances to take on Fort Lupton’s Jacob Ornelas.
At 126, Lopez did not go easily against defending state champion, Conrad Cole, of Brush, dropping a 3-1 decision. LaFramboise ran into a “buzzsaw,” Beard said, against Sheridan’s Anthony Contreraz in a first-period pin.
Both Lopez and LaFramboise can fight their way back to the podium though the consolation bracket.
“You just have to move on,” Beard said. “It starts over tomorrow. You can’t dwell on your last match at state. We’ve got to be ready to go. We expect to have five alive on Saturday.”
Devils hoops falls at Districts
PALISADE — Eagle Valley girls basketball’s season may or may not have come to an abrupt end on Thursday afternoon with a 43-28 loss to Durango at the Western Slope/Southwest League tournament.
“We got off to a slow start,” Devils coach Sam Bartlett said. “We struggled on defense and missed some easy shots.”
Kylie Martin led the Devils with 17 points.
With CHSAA reducing the state-tournament field from 48 to 32 teams this year, the Devils at 15-6 are in the uneasy position of playing the waiting game. The top-four teams from the tournament, or those who won on Thursday, clinched automatic berths to state. There are five at-large berths, which CHSAA will announce when the state bracket comes out on Sunday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.