Season heads into home stretch

Posted 1/21/09

The sense of anticipation grows daily as the Pirates wrestling team heads into the home stretch with regionals and state now less than a month away. …

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Season heads into home stretch


The sense of anticipation grows daily as the Pirates wrestling team heads into the home stretch with regionals and state now less than a month away.

Englewood competes in the final home match of the season Jan. 29 against Golden then finished the schedule on the road, Jan. 21 at the Abraham Lincoln Invitational, Feb. 3 in a dual meet at Elizabeth and the Conifer Invitational Feb. 7. The regional competition is scheduled Feb. 12 and the state meet is Feb. 19-21 at the Pepsi Center.

Pirate coach Jim Potter said regionals and state are the biggest meets of the year for wrestlers.

He said wrestlers compete hard in dual meets and tournaments. But he said the matches really are competitive practice sessions as the athletes tune up for regionals, the qualifying competition determining which wrestlers advance to the state tournament and an opportunity to win a coveted state title.

Englewood’s team is a mix of returning veterans and athletes new to the sport. The coach said his veterans are performing to his expectations and his new wrestlers are working hard, learning and steadily improving.

That showed up as he took 11 wrestlers to the Alameda Invitational. Four of the wrestlers, Tyler Dowler, 140, Mike Tolle 145, Nick Shepard, 171, and Justin Williams, 275, advanced to the championship semifinals. Williams and Shepard won their respective weight division titles and most of the other Pirates got at least one tournament win in their particular weight division.

Nick McGirl is the lightest and youngest wrestler on the Pirate roster as the freshman is competing at 103 pounds.

He said he joined the team for a couple weeks because wrestling looked like fun. He found he did like the sport after the two-week trial and has stuck with it, maybe for all four of his years in high school.

McGirl said you look at a wrestling match and figure you can do what they are doing but, when you come to practice and work with the team, you quickly find it is harder than expected.

“I am a lot better wrestler since I started working out with the team,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about the sport when I started but the other guys and the coaches have worked with me and now I feel more comfortable on the mat and I am even winning a few matches.”

McGirl defeated Arvada’s 103-pounder at the Jan. 15 meet which marked his third varsity dual match victory in a row.

The competition was tougher at the Alameda Invitational and he was eliminated when he lost for the second time in the consolation quarterfinals.

He said his favorite sport probably is football but noted the moves he learns and the drills that improve his agility and flexibility can translate to the gridiron and make him a better football player.

Chris Montoya is another first-year wrestler on the Pirates roster. He wrestles at 112 pounds. At the Alameda Invitational, he won his first-round match with a 13-8 decision over Jose Morales of George Washington. But, he lost in the quarterfinals and moved into the consolation bracket where he suffered a tough 12-10 loss in overtime in the second round, a match the Pirate wrestler said he should have won.

He noted he had his opponent, Tyler Roberts of Alameda, on his back twice but failed to pin him both times.

“The inability to keep a guy on the mat so I can pin him is an area I have to work on,” Montoya said. “The coaches are working with me to help me improve in that area. It’s something I have to work on and I want to work harder in practice so I can improve my wrestling skills.”


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