Bayfield High School put two wrestlers on the state podium Saturday night.
And after a year of change – new head coach, new assistants, new wrestlers – that’s pretty dang good, too.
“Two guys on the podium,” said first-year head coach Todd McMenimen, who stepped in to fill Herb Stinson’s shoes. “I’m pleased with that.”
Stinson, a member of the National High School Wrestling Hall of Fame, retired after 12 highly productive years at BHS. McMenimen – “old as dirt,” as he put it – has been involved with BHS wrestling for 15 years.
McMenimen, very Stinson-like, took seven wrestlers to the CHSAA Class 3A State Wrestling Championships this weekend at the Pepsi Center in Denver, and he watched two take the podium, including his son.
Colter McMenimen wrestled for third place at 126 pounds after he beat Ben Weakland of Valley in a 12-5 decision Day 3 of state.
McMenimen (33-7) beat Dakota Macy of Fort Lupton 8-3 for the bronze medal.
“He just wrestled lights out (Saturday),” Colter’s coach and dad said. “He looked really good.
“He had a reversal at the end, then tilted (Macy) for the tie. He went to work on him the rest of the match.”
Bayfield heavyweight Matt Eckstein also locked up a podium spot Saturday morning, then lost his fifth-place match to finish sixth.
Eckstein pinned Oscar Soto of Brush in 2 minutes, 5 seconds in the quarterfinals to secure a state medal, but Hayden Bickel of La Junta returned the favor in the consolation semifinals, pinning the Wolverines’ heavyweight in 3:24.
Eckstein (29-10) lost by pin in 4:59 to Raymond Riggins of Trinidad.
“He was there with a chance to win it right there at the end,” coach McMenimen said.
And that, the head coach said, directly can be attributed to his coaching staff, in particular BHS and Colorado School of Mines alumnus Jordan Larsen. The former BHS state champion was the Wolverines’ drill master at practice all season long.
“It seems like forever; I’ve been here a long time,” said McMenimen, who was an assistant coach at BHS while Larsen was accumulating podium finishes for the Wolverines.
“It’s a little different now – new head coach, all new assistants. None of this would’ve happened without coach Larsen there. Conditioning-wise, I’d match us up with anybody in the state.”
McMenimen also attributed the Wolverines’ pair of podiums to the behind-the-scenes wrestlers – the drill partners.
In this case, 132-pound state qualifier Allec Rodriguez and 220-pound state qualifier Matt Cerdas.
Rodriguez kept McMenimen sharp, while Cerdas and assistant coaches Neil Barnes and Dennis DeKay did their best against the 285-pound Eckstein.