Bayfield High School wrestling coach Herb Stinson was hoping to get six or more wrestlers to state. He’ll take six to Denver next weekend.
The Wolverines finished third at the Class 3A regional Friday and Saturday at Dolores Huerta High School in Pueblo, capping the tournament with 166 points. Alamosa won with 245, and Centauri was runner-up with 171 points.
BHS heavyweight Matt Eckstein picked up the lone individual regional championship for the Wolverines with a second-period pin of Florence’s Kevin Tuttle in the final.
Aaron Velasquez (160 pounds), Joe Zink (138) and Jon Roberts (170) qualified by finishing second, while Justin Briskey (182) qualified by finishing third.
The other qualifier was TJ Pazell, who finished fifth at 195 but earned the fourth and final spot when the fourth-place finisher was disqualified, Stinson said.
Just missing out on trips to state were fifth-place finishers Colter McMenimen (113), Drake Rhodes (120), Allec Rodriguez (126) and sixth-place finisher Austin Shupe (132).
“We had a couple good matches, couple bad ones, a couple disappointers, just like anything,” Stinson said.
Velasquez, an undefeated state champion last year at 152 pounds, lost for just the second time this season, both coming to Brandon Bertsch of Alamosa. Bertsch had a late 3-2 lead, and Velasquez tried a couple of desperation throws, opening the door for Bertsch to close out the match and win 7-2.
Stinson, however, said he and his 160-pounder remain confident heading to the Pepsi Center.
“I’m excited to get another shot at him at state, as is Aaron,” Stinson said of Velasquez.
As a team, Stinson said Bayfield did well to hang close, narrowly missing out on finishing second in the region.
“Awful close,” he said. “I’m not going to say it was an inspired wrestling regional tournament, but at the same time, it wasn’t a bad one. We were right there battling with everybody.”