LONGMONT -- Longmont's Forrest Wetterstrom and Mead's Kyle Couch were teammates and wrestling partners at Mead Middle School. Four years and 50 pounds later, the two Longmont area wrestlers' paths finally converged for the first time at the high school level.
Both wrestlers entered a 52-15 Longmont dual meet win at Mead High School on Wednesday night ranked in the top five of Class 4A by Tim Yount's On The Mat Rankings. Couch held the No. 1 spot at 182 pounds while Wetterstrom checked in at No. 4.
Making a bid for a late-season ranking shakeup, Wetterstom edged Couch 7-5 in the most-hyped bout of the night.
"I felt confident going into the match," said Wetterstrom, who is 30-4 this season. "I know Kyle. He's been wrestling since he was 3 years old. He's very talented, very technical. I just figured I needed to wrestle smart, not do anything crazy, keep the mistakes to a minimum and be solid on defense."
Although they've been at different weights the past two years, Couch and Wetterstrom are each returning state placers. Couch's senior by a year, Wetterstrom executed his veteran approach against the Mavericks junior.
Wetterstrom set the tone with a good, low single leg takedown on Couch early in the match. Trailing 2-1 and starting on bottom to start the second round, Couch tied the match with his second escape.
After the two went out of bounds near the end of the second, Wetterstrom caught Couch with a lightning-quick shot just as the referee whistled the restart to take a 4-2 lead into the third period. In the third, Couch and Wetterstrom traded shots, before Wettserstrom took a 7-3 lead with another takedown and held Couch off for the win.
"I always feel like my biggest advantage is speed and just committing to it," Wetterstrom said. "Every shot that I take, whether it's the worst shot in the world or perfect, I just try to finish it. If I can finish my bad shots, then I know I can finish anything else."
Couch (35-1) said he didn't follow his usual routine and it hurt him. Toward the end of the match, he said, he felt an abnormal level of fatigue, possibly because he recently recovered from a flu-like illness.
"That was a good match. He came out to wrestle and I kind of didn't," Couch said. "I was over-thinking it a little and I wasn't feeling very well. I just didn't know what to do. He knew what I was going for the whole time and I had to change up my game plan in the middle of the match."
Couch and Wetterstrom said the match was as good a late-season test as either could ask for. Both also agreed that the narrow outcome should make things interesting moving forward, as they will likely face each other again at the Region 2 Tournament next weekend and possibly again the state tournament Feb. 21-23.
It was Couch's first loss since falling to eventual 2012 champion Dakota Curtis from Alamosa in the quarterfinals of the 2012 state tournament. Having stayed undefeated until only two weeks remained in the season, Couch said Wednesday's loss was almost a welcome wakeup call.
"It was good to see him. I saw the kid from Windsor last week, too," said Couch, who defeated second-ranked Cosme Martinez 3-0 during the Tri-Valley League dual tournament. "I needed a loss somewhere in there. Losing is going to make me work harder. It's better now than at regionals or state."
Also picking up big potential regional seed altering wins for the Trojans were Eloy Valdez and Fernando Ramos-Vega.
Ranked 11th at 132 and wrestling at 126, Valdez won a 9-6 decision over Mead's Austin Van Hooker, who is ranked 23rd at 126.
"Austin is a really, really strong wrestler," Valdez, a sophomore, said. "My twister wasn't working too well so I leaned on him a lot. Whenever he'd shoot on me it was really hard to defend since he's so strong and really conditioned. I think I was just more technical and less tired in the third round."
Entering ranked 12th at 160 and wrestling at 170, Fernando Ramos-Vega won a 6-4 decision over 14th-ranked Mavericks 170-pounder Gabe Alvarado.
Jaime Ramos-Vega (195), Chris Palacios (285), Colten Montgomery (132), Lane Olsen (145) and Ivan Wolf (160) won by pinfall. Drake Greeott (152) won a 9-1 major decision over Mead's Hugo Ramirez and Trojans sophomore Jared Wells won an 8-4 decision over Dyllan Burch.
Winning for the Mavericks, Sage Budd, ranked fourth at 113, pinned Longmont's Ben Ahern in 20 seconds. Jorge Cortez pinned Longmont's Dutch Warner (17th at 220) just before the buzzer in 3:57.
Mavericks 138-pounder Justice Lovato won a 9-2 decision over Longmont's Chris Martinez.
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Longmont 52, Mead 15
At Mead HS
170 -- Fernando Ramos-Vega, Longmont, dec. Gabe Alvarado, 6-4; 182 -- Forrest Wetterstrom, Longmont, dec. Kyle Couch, 7-5; 195 -- Jaime Ramos-Vega, Longmont, pinned Gabe Robinson, 1:26; 220 -- Jorge Cortez, Mead, pinned Dutch Warner, 3:57; 285-- Chris Palacios, Longmont, pinned Jack Gallegos, 3:51; 106 -- Patrick McDonough, Longmont, won by forfeit; 113 -- Sage Budd, Mead, pinned Ben Ahern, 0:20; 120 -- Jared Wells, Longmont, dec. Dyllan Burch, 8-4; 126 -- Eloy Valdez, Longmont, dec. Austin Van Hooker, 9-6; 132 -- Colten Montgomery, Longmont, pinned Cristian Cortez, 3:00; 138 -- Justice Lovato, Mead, dec. Chris Martinez, 9-2; 145 -- Lane Olsen, Longmont, pinned Michael Burnett, 2:19; 152 -- Drake Greeott, Longmont, maj. dec. Hugo Ramirez, 9-1; 160 -- Ivan Wolf, Longmont, pinned Marco Clark, 1:47.