Wrestlers poised to place at state
Daily Sports Writer
The Eagle Valley wrestling team is pretty confident about most things going into this weekend’s state meet.
Coach Ron Beard had one main concern, but he resolved it Wednesday night.
Fearing a snowstorm that could shut down Interstate I-70, Beard and the squad headed to Denver Wednesday night to assure a timely arrival to state this morning at the Pepsi Center.
When the four Devils’ wrestlers, Mason Ewing (135 pounds), Kylan Kottenstette (152), Chris Harvey (160) and Brendan Best (171), take to the mat today, they will be in familiar territory.
Ewing and Harvey have made it to state all four years they have wrestled in high school. Best, in his junior year, is making his third appearance, and senior Kottenstette only missed going his sophomore year due to a knee injury.
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So the distractions, the hype, everything that’s associated with the state meet ” they’ve seen it all before, and they’re ready.
“Our guys have been there, so they know it all,” Beard said. “We are pretty serious. We are focused.”
This week, the team didn’t drill too hard on the mat, but rather focused more on the mental aspect of what will go on in Denver.
“We had a lot of talks about how No. 1 kids get bumped off because they look past people, and how unranked wrestlers who don’t win regionals come and win state titles,” Beard said.
Best’s father, Colonel Joel Best, has helped the team with relaxation and visualization of getting in the zone before matches, Beard said.
On the mat
All year, the Devils have squared off against solid competition, whether it be at top-level tournaments, or in their own gym during practice.
“They are wrestling the best guys in the state everyday,” Beard said. “I have a hard time thinking there is a better wrestling room in that weight area.”
In their respective weight classes, the Devils’ grapplers have faced, and beaten many of their opponents. Beard is hoping, and confident that his wrestlers will be able to string it all together on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“It’s whoever has the best four matches at state,” Beard said. “Records and rankings don’t matter.”
While records may not mean everything, they do affect seedings. Beard is happy with his kids’ brackets.
“We like our first round a lot. We are looking and assuming who is the second toughest wrestler other than ours, and they are in the other side of the bracket.”
Ewing’s first-round opponent is Jeff Phillips of Thompson Valley; Kottenstette’s is Justin Myers of Elizabeth; Harvey’s is Rudy Chavez of Fort Morgan; and Best’s is Ben Howard of Widefield.
Check Friday’s paper for first-day results.
Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or email@example.com.