Wrestlers ready for regionals

Posted 1/28/09

Englewood wrestlers have a dual meet and two invitational tournaments remaining before the all-important regionals that determine which Pirates …

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Wrestlers ready for regionals


Englewood wrestlers have a dual meet and two invitational tournaments remaining before the all-important regionals that determine which Pirates advance to state.

The Pirates are entered in the Abraham Lincoln Invitational Jan. 31, travel to Elizabeth Feb. 3 for the final dual meet of the season, then wrap it up at the Feb. 7 Conifer Invitational.

The weeks of rigorous conditioning and training, the dual meets and the invitationals all are tune-ups for the Feb. 12 regional meet at Elizabeth.

The brackets will be drawn to accommodate up to 18 competitors per weight class, one from each of the schools at regionals. The top four finishers in each weight division advance to state, which will be held Feb. 19-21 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Pirates coach Jim Potter expressed some concern about the readiness of his team to compete at regionals.

He said the team was progressing as he expected then it seemed things went into reverse recently.

Potter said the wrestlers seemed crisp and ready to go when they returned from the Christmas break then seemed to lose focus.

“Our kids just haven’t seemed ready to wrestle,” the coach said. “I’d like to see us further ahead than we are. The problem in the last couple matches is that we’ve been doing things we know we shouldn’t do, things that cost us points and matches. But we’ll just keep working and try to turn things around in time for regionals.”

He said he attributes some of the regression to the lack of mat time for the younger wrestlers. The coach noted that he had several first-year wrestlers on the team and, at this point in the season, they have 15 or 16 matches on their record but are facing athletes who have been wrestling for years and have competed in scores of matches.

Looking forward to regionals, he said his leading contenders to place are Justin Williams, Nick Sheppard, Mike Toll and Aaron Embertson. Coming into the week, Williams had a 23-1, Sheppard and Toll are 19-7 and Embertson is 13-8.

The Pirate team is a mix of returning veterans like three-year letterman Williams who finished second at state last year and first-year wrestlers like Chris Nunnelly.

The sophomore said he decided to come out for wrestling to keep in good physical condition and help him be a better football player.

He said the sport is harder than it looks and he said wrestling is both physically and mentally demanding.

“The workouts are hard. Then, in matches, you are on your own and you have to go full tilt all the time you are out there,” he said. “It also requires to think a lot, to think what you will do and what will work for you in a certain situation.”

Nunnelly tried wrestling last year but switched to basketball. This year, he is focused on wrestling and said he feels concentrating on the sport had helped him improve his skills and techniques.

He noted he got his first dual-match pin Jan. 20 against a Skyview opponent. He said he was excited because he pinned his opponent with three seconds left in the match and he did it before the home crowd. He also did well in the Jan. 24 JV tournament as he took third place in his weight division.

Aaron Embertson is another of the Pirate wrestlers competing at the varsity levels for the first time.

The sophomore said he is having a better season now than he had last year when he wrestled primarily junior varsity matches.

He said the sport also is more fun because he’s stronger, feels more at home on the mat and is winning some matches.

“Wrestling is a good sport,” he said. “I think the big reason I like it is because it’s all on you and not like other sports where you are part of a team.”

The sophomore said he plans to stick with the sport and, during the off season, he’ll work to get stronger and to polish his wrestling techniques.

Embertson is wrestling at 160 pounds and feels, at this time, it is where he should be in the lineup. He added wins to his record Jan. 24 at the Pirate-hosted junior varsity tournament as he captured the weight division title at 160 pounds.


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