Vail Valley preps: Devils, Huskies wrestlers on target for state |

Vail Valley preps: Devils, Huskies wrestlers on target for state

Local high school wrestlers are thinking big as they target the state meet – big meets, big fields, big competition.

Eagle Valley finished fifth in last weekend’s Evergreen tournament, which boasted a 21-team field of mostly bigger Front Range schools.

Battle Mountain traveled to Denver South and thrived through its own trial by fire.

It doesn’t get any easier this weekend. Eagle Valley travels to Northglenn to square off against a similar field.

“They’ll see lots of 5A schools. We like to wrestle against good competition as we get closer to the regional and state meets,” said Ron Beard, Eagle Valley’s coach.

Last weekend’s Evergreen meet told Beard and the Devils almost everything they needed to know.

“Your training shows when you’re on the mat. In wrestling, out there alone for six minutes in the middle of the mat, we don’t get too many kids who make bad decisions,” Beard said.

Eagle Valley has two tournaments and two dual meets before the regional tournament. At regionals, they determine who goes to state and who stays home.

The top four finishers at the regionals qualify for state, and the competition in Eagle Valley’s region is brutal.

“We have a typically rough region, and this year is no exception. It’s a bear to try to get kids to the state meet,” Beard said.

But of course, Beard has some wrestlers who he thinks have a great shot and some others who might make it if all the stars align.

He’s not naming names yet, but he knows who they are, and so do they.

“We hate to jinx them, put the Sports Illustrated curse on them,” Beard joked.

Getting the right results

Find the results from last weekend’s wrestling meet in Evergreen, and you won’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to read the clues.

Damien Atencio, wrestling at 103 pounds, lost his first match and had to win four straight to finish third.

Scan on down, and you’ll find that Andy Armstrong did the same thing, wrestling at 189 pounds. He dropped his first match to a wrestler from Columbine and then won four straight, three on pins.

“It speaks volumes about their character,” Beard said. “They had to win four in a row to place.”

And speaking of pins, freshman Davey Madrid got three pins in the Evergreen varsity tournament. He finished fifth in a huge 112-pound class.

Taylor Wheeler was sixth in the 125-pound class.

Matt Kottenstette had Eagle Valley’s best finish of the day with second in the 160-pound class.

This weekend’s Northglenn is another tough event.

Rodriguez rolls through new weight class

Battle Mountain traveled to Denver South for a tournament last weekend, and Huskies coach Desi Quintana was thrilled by his young team’s improvement.

Mario Rodriguez dropped from 145 to the 140-pound weight class, looking for better prospects for a shot at the state meet.

He found them, pinning three straight opponents and winning his new weight class.

“Five pounds makes a difference when they’re wrestling someone like Mario who’s solid muscle,” Quintana said. “That was his first tournament win in high school. He has placed before but never won.”

Manny Madril was second place as a 130-pounder.

Robert Martinez was second in the 135-pound class.

Freshman Wyatt Chism learned a little about fighting back against adversity. He lost the first match on some controversial non-calls in the 119-pound class, Quintana said. But he fought his way back through the field to finish third.

“We’re young, and we’ve made so much improvement this season,” Quintana said.

The Huskies hosted their last dual meet of the season Thursday night, bringing Soroco and West Grand to town.

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