by David Tesitor
SANFORD, PUEBLO — John Mall will be at Sanford for the 2A –Regional 2 tournament beginning tomorrow and are in a good position to defend their Regional title from last season. They will face their toughest opponent, Fowler, who finished second at region last season. John Mall won the region by two points over the Grizzlies. The region boiled down to the heavyweight match where Garrett Gribble of Fowler had a chance to give the title to Fowler. He lost, and John Mall retained their lead, winning the tournament.
Having met many of these teams in prior tournaments, the Panthers are poised to send multiple athletes to the state tournament once again. Look for the Panthers to take at least seven to state, but in weights where there are no ranked wrestlers, John Mall could take as many as ten. The following teams are in Region 2: Antonito, Center, Centennial/Sierra Grande, Custer County, Del Norte, Dolores Huerta, Fowler, Hanover, John Mall, Mountain Valley, County Line (Eads/Wiley/McClave), Sanford, Sargent, and Rye.
In the 3A tournament, the Trinidad Miners will be in Pueblo for the Region #4 Tournament. Like the Panthers, the Miners have met many of these competitors in other tournaments. While two Miners are placed in the region as ranked wrestlers, based on the sheer numbers of wrestlers in each weight class, there are no sure tickets to Denver. Each weight class has ranked wrestlers and the competition will be fierce. Spots at state will be hard earned.
Guillermo Felthager who has been nursing a sore knee since mid-season could be the surprise at 113 pounds, if he competes. He missed his chance last season for state, finishing fifth.
Teams in the region include, Centauri, Sheridan, Colorado Springs Christian, Florence, Fort Lupton, James Irwin, Jefferson, La Junta, Manitou Springs, Monte Vista, Pueblo Central, Salida, Trinidad, and Woodland Park. The tournament will be held at Pueblo Central High School.
Here are some observations about what happens now. First, the reality is every wrestler has a 0-0 record as they enter Regionals. Wrestlers must compete hard for six minutes in their matches, taking it one match at a time. Wrestlers who are ranked highly in the ‘On the Mat’ rankings are the most vulnerable. They should not discount the wrestlers with losing records because those wrestlers have nothing to lose. They will fight aggressive and could be the tournament surprises. Both John Mall and Trinidad have quality, unranked, wrestlers whose records don’t reflect their abilities. For this reason, there could be many unranked wrestlers who might place in the top four at Regionals.
Secondly, coaches have an option to move their athletes up a class to improve their chances of placing at state. For instance, there might be a bracket with only five wrestlers, so a wrestler would have a better chance of advancing to state, improving their chances of a top four finish. All they need to win is one match. Wrestlers must be placed in their final brackets by Wednesday, with brackets posted today.
Finally, placement at Regional determines brackets at state. A regional champ will meet a #4 placer from another region. Looking ahead at state, some coaches, having viewed other regions’ brackets, will intentionally lose a match at Regionals since they know where it will position them on the state bracket It is a rare occurrence, but it has happened. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org