Heritage mats filling out

Posted 1/18/10

With Continental League action under way for the Heritage matmen, the Eagles have almost a full team ready to go. Heritage opened its league schedule …

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Heritage mats filling out


With Continental League action under way for the Heritage matmen, the Eagles have almost a full team ready to go.

Heritage opened its league schedule Jan. 14 at Douglas County High School in Castle Rock and handed the Huskies a 53-17 defeat.

“We’re still ready to put our full team on the mat,” Eagles coach Ray Barron said. “We still haven’t done that. We still have a couple guys that are coming in.”

Barron said tournament action the following weekend at Arvada West was going to be a good test to see where the rest of the grapplers in the process of shaping up were at, and it should adjust the team a little bit.

“We’re still not in the shape I think we should be in,” Barron said. “We came back [from the holiday break] in decent shape, but I’m a perfectionist, and I want our guys to be in the best shape they can be in. I want them to be as aggressive as they can get.”

Against Douglas County, Heritage appeared plenty aggressive with five pinfalls and four decisions. While many of the matches were close that night before the Eagles came up big, some mistakes were made; however, the ability to recover is coming naturally to Heritage.

“I think we were pretty aggressive, but we had a couple guys just missing moves and just not getting as aggressive as they can get,” Barron said. “For some, [recovering] is natural. We’re working really hard at this. We’ve got to get better at second-face wrestling. Right now, we’re OK at it, but we’re not as good at it as I hope to be come February.”

While some of his grapplers are able to produce an exciting move and make good decisions, the coach said getting them to think three and four moves ahead is the next step.

He used Billy Jackson, a 171-pounder from Littleton High School, as an example.

“Billy Jackson keeps getting better every week,” Barron said. “It’s his lack of experience and getting more mat time that’s his issue.. He does some really good things, but sometimes that will get him in trouble. He’ll do something good, but then he won’t know where to go next with it. I really like his effort. He’s come a long way.”

At the Arvada West Invitational Jan. 16, Heritage finished eighth place with 71.5 points. The tournament included four of the five top teams in the state, including seven-time defending Class 5A state champion Ponderosa. Heritage had one champion on the day.

Junior Jeremy Todd won the 215-pound class by injury default when his opponent from Coronado hurt himself during the match.

“It was a great start for Jeremy getting back on to the varsity mat for the first time since last season,” Barron said.

At 140, Michael Miller lost a tough match in the semifinals but came back to win by technical fall in his match to get third place. Billy O’Brien at 145 lost a tough semifinals match to two-time state champion Jesse Snyder of Ponderosa. Hunter Pinon at 135 and Nick Ramos at 152 placed fifth in their respective weights. Zach Carrizales at 130 was 2-2 for the day.

Winning one match for the day were Shane Evans at 103, Josh Bohney at 125 and Billy Jackson at 171. Garett Solomon at 112, Drew Greer at 119 and Joey Encinias at 285 wrestled but did not come away with a win. Logan Steppan at 189 did not wrestle due to an injury.

“It was a good day to see where we stand and to get a look at Coronado, Rocky Mountain and Grandview who will all be in our region to qualify from to get to state,” Barron said.

Heritage plays host to the regional tournament this season Feb. 12-13. They faced another Top 10 team in Chaparral for league action Jan. 21 at home. Jan. 22, the Eagles face the top team in the Denver Public League in Thomas Jefferson. Heritage hits the Northglenn Invitational Jan. 23.

“Another tough week but one to help us get ready for the big stuff at the end of the season,” the coach said.


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