Trio of Devils headed to state
ARVADA – Three or four they wanted, and three they got.A trio of Eagle Valley wrestlers are heading to state next weekend, thanks to some great performances at the regional tournament this weekend.”That’s what we realistically thought,” said Eagle Valley coach Ron Beard. “We were hoping for three and praying for four.”Freshman James Harvey led the way, capturing the 130-pound title with a pin in the finals. Brendan Best lost, 2-1, in the third overtime in the 189 finals to Moffat’s Nick Navratil, while Chad Strakbein placed fourth at 103.”What was cool, with the group we had, was that we had a lot of wins,” Beard said. “They are so young, and wrestled such tough competition. Even in our losses, Luke Cross (who assists Beard) said to everyone, ‘That’s our best wrestling.'”After two pins on Friday in the first period, Harvey earned a 22-4 technical fall early Saturday, advancing to the finals. Harvey squared off against Cortez’s Justin Samora, to whom he’d lost earlier this year.”It was a flurry at the beginning,” Beard said of the finals. “On the way through a fall, James caught (Justin), and it seemed like he was pinning him for 20 seconds, and they wouldn’t call a pin.”Harvey finally earned a pin at 46 seconds.”He went out and kicked some major butt,” Beard said. “The kids is an intense wrestler, and he’ll place at state.”Best also cruised his way into the finals, with two pins and a tech fall. In the finals, Best took a 1-0 lead on the No. 3-ranked Navratil with an escape in the second period. Navratil tied the score with an escape to start the third, and after two scoreless sudden-death overtime periods, he earned an escape for the win.”Brendan’s going to do fine – I have all the faith in him,” Beard said. “He’ll get his mind right and put this behind him and be ready next week.”Strakbein had to battle his way back from a loss on Friday to place fourth.”He did exactly what he had to do,” Beard said. “Going into the tourney, 103 looked really though because three kids were ranked in the top five.”Josh Wambolt had a full bracket at 112, and despite some great wrestling, came up just short.”He wrestled his heart out, and left it all out there,” Beard said.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or email@example.com.