Looking ahead to last weekend's regional wrestling tournament, Jake Hubbell saw nothing but light.
"For regionals it's kind of clear-cut that I can get right to finals, and then to state," said the senior returning state qualifier, who has wrestled his entire high school career at 103 and 106 pounds.
Hubbell, who almost didn't wrestle this season after going 0-2 at state to end his junior year at 20-14, entered the tournament seeded first with a 21-2 record. As expected, he pinned his way to the championship match, where he won by pinfall (2:40) over Wyatt Toothaker of Cedaredge.
"What's really helped me a lot this year is the new coaching," said Hubbell of first-year head coach Richard Flores, Hubbell's middle school coach. "I've learned a lot with him. I've gotten to the point where I can actually clearly think things through ... For me it's mostly going into the match and not waiting to get shot on."
Hubbell is one of two seniors on the Bulldog varsity squad. Garrett Toothaker (33-8) placed second at 113 pounds Saturday after a loss to No. 1-seed Justin O'dell of Gunnison. "Tooth" is also a returning state qualifier and was 1-2 at the tournament in 2013.
That the two smallest wrestlers on the team, or on any high school team, are seniors is unusual, said Flores. "Usually your older kids are heavier weights."
With eight freshmen at 120 pounds or lower, some very talented wrestlers, including Colton Hall (12-5, 106) and Logan Mayberry (16-7, 106) will have to wait until next year to get a permanent spot on the varsity team, said Flores. Otherwise, they would have finished in the top four. But this year they make great workout partners, said Hubbell, who typically spars with Toothaker, Hall, whom he's wrestled twice in tournament championship matches this season, "and the other 106-pounders," Cyrus Baxter, Jamal Helm, Kaden Murray Owens, Chris Lovato and Jared Cantrell. All are freshmen.
The Bulldogs will send two freshmen to state. Wade Katzdorn (145) was seeded first and was pinned in semifinals. Katzdorn wrestled back to place fourth. At heavyweight, Connor Collins was 3-2 to place fourth.
Junior Tristen Todd (23-18) finished third with a 1-0 win over Garrett Humble of Cedaredge (30-10). Todd was 0-6 against Humble heading into the regional tournament.
Junior Mitch McCurdy also qualified for state, wrestling to a 4-2 record at 138 pounds and winning a wrestle-back against Middle Park to place fourth.
Hubbell said he had a change of heart in December and made the decision to complete his high school career. He also set a goal to be ranked in the top four at state. Hubbell was ranked fourth heading into regionals. He enters the state tournament as the No. 2 seed.blog comments powered by Disqus