LOUISVILLE — Xander Rens needed to clear his mind.
After a freshman campaign that began with so much promise last year ended with a disappointing showing at the state tournament, the Coyotes sophomore walked away from the sport ... for six or seven months.
"I was swimming and doing other things," he said. "And when I came back into it, I was thirsty and I was ready."
On Thursday night — on the eve of one of the state biggest tournament of the year, Centaurus' Top of The Rockies, Friday and Saturday — Rens looked every bit the part of a wrestler with something to prove against Broomfield's Christian Lofton.
The match of the night, at least on paper, between On The Mat's No. 4 Rens and No. 8 Lofton was decidedly one-sided. Rens rolled to an 18-1 victory by tech fall that ended at the 4 minutes and 53 seconds mark and helped the Coyotes to a 37-30 victory over the Eagles in a well-wrestled dual.
"It felt good, but in the end, morning runs and staying after practice showed up," said Rens, who prides himself in his endurance on the mat. "Just a hard working victory."
It has been a whirlwind month for the Coyotes, who have traveled all over the country to find the best competition the nation has to offer and something they hope will play off in the coming weeks, starting at Top of the Rockies.
"The next few weeks are what really matters and everything up to this point doesn't really mean anything," said Rens, who has bulked up to the 145 pound weight class this season. "Got to start with Top of the Rockies, then, leagues, regions and then state."
Said Monarch coach Ezra Paddock, who's team wrestled in Ohio, Nevada and California: "It's a little unorthodox to split your team up sometimes and try to have each of them find the correct competition for their growth and that's what we tried to do with our schedule. The are all growing at the same time, but at the right spot and to come together and are pulling it all together."
Paddock's ranked wrestlers were impressive on Thursday night. In addition to Rens' victory, No. 3 Cole Polluconi (132), No. 5 Parker McQuade (138) and No. 6 Keegan Feenstra (182) all won by pinfall or major decision.
Nate Pritchard, ranked No. 9 at 160 pounds, sealed the victory for the Coyotes in the final match of the night by 5-0 decision over No. 15 Drew Worthley.
"Drew is a tough kid and we known him since little league, so we just re-enforced the things we worked on with Nate this week," Paddock said. "We wanted him to wrestle his match, because Nate is capable of beating anybody when he does that."
Broomfield's studs came to wrestle, too. Darren Green, ranked No. 3 at 120 pounds, made quick work of Max Fredricksmeyer. After building a 5-0 lead, he got the six points for is team with a pin at 1:55.
Preston Renner — No. 4 at 152 — and Bryan Walker (195) also scored wins by fall.
And much like last season with Noah Dohm at 220 pounds, another relative newcomer to the sport off the football team, Garrett Betty, earned a hard fought 5-4 decision over Evan Williams.
"The is a tough sport to just pick up and go, and with Noah was a great role- model and provided guidance for me," said Betty, who was celebrating his birthday on Thursday night. "I love competing and I don't know every move and I don't know what I'm doing most of the time, but I know enough and work hard enough and compete."
Broomfield will also be at Top of the Rockies the next two days. Saturday's semifinals will begin at 12:30 p.m.; with the Parade of Champions set to go at 6 p.m.
MONARCH 37, BROOMFIELD 30
106 — Zach Hacker, Monarch major dec. Luke Brounstein, 12-0; 113 — Levi Diecidue, Broomfield dec. Aidan Quinn, 7-6; 120 — Darren Green, Broomfield pinned Max Fredricksmeyer, 1:55; 126 — Kyle Gambino, Monarch dec. Noah Gallegos, 11-6; 132 — Cole Polluconi, Monarch pinned Adam Long, 1:06; 138 — Parker McQuade, Monarch major dec. Michael-Dean Quintana, 11-0; 145 — Xander Rens, Monarch tech fall Christian Lofton, 18-1 (4:53); 152 — Preston Renner, Broomfield pinned David Peter, 3:28; 160 — Nate Pritchard, Monarch dec. Drew Worthley, 5-0; 170 — Trent Brenner, Monarch pinned Ryan Ruger, 3:13; 182 — Keegan Feenstra, Monarch pinned Zach Zerr, 1:46; 195 — Bryant Walker, Broomfield pinned Justin Powers, 1:57; 220 — Garrett Betty, Broomfield dec. Evan Williams, 5-4; 285 — Mason Watt, Broomfield won by forfeit.