ERIE — The Erie and Mead wrestling teams made it clear on Thursday night that they both wanted to be bulldozing into the two-day Top of the Rockies tournament this weekend with a full head of steam.
What better way to do that than embrace the spirit of a rivalry dual?
True to form, it was a good one between the teams and definitely one that set minds right for a lot of the top ranked individuals ahead of Friday's Top of the Rockies at Centaurus. For Erie in general, a 45-28 dual win set the tone for the entire team's appearance at the mega event.
"Top of the Rockies is a big one for us, especially since we haven't been able to go the past few years," said 145-pound sophomore Witt Unruh, who arguably won the most memorable match of the night over Jeremiah Cortez. "Getting a win here against a good team like Mead, I think that's really setting us up for success."
Both teams brought a ton of experience to the mat, and head coaches Steve Gratton (EHS) and Ty Tatham (MHS) were pretty pleased with some of the progress shown on Thursday.
There were 10 On the Mat-ranked wrestlers in action, and for the most part things went accordingly. For Mead, Emilio Chavez (No. 19 in 4A at 106 pounds), Jeremy Ashton (No. 2 at 132), Caleb Mendez (No. 4 at 152) and Brennan McDermitt (No. 12 at 170) all scored wins.
For Erie, victorious were Adam Evertz (No. 7 at 120), Sean Tyler Currell (No. 16 at 126), Ernie Quintana (No. 8 at 138) and Zach Roper (No. 10 at 182). Ashton pinned Adrian Rincon (ranked 13th) and Mendez fell Quintin Hyrup (ranked ninth).
In the battles of unranked opponents, it was the work of some of the younger wrestlers that really shone through for Erie. Sophomore heavyweight Nate Hackney decisioned Luis Miramontes in the night's second match, 113-pound junior Trevor Harris turned the tides against Mead freshman Blake Morgan a little bit later on, and Unruh overcame a 6-1 first-period deficit to pin an older, more-experienced opponent in the second round.
Cortez took down Unruh twice and had him turned up but Unruh fought to the whistle and then got a takedown himself before getting the fall with a new move.
Though it put Erie ahead 36-10 at the time, it proved big as Mead won the next three matches before Roper and Ruben Portillo closed it out for EHS.
"I mostly start off slow, but I really just dug down and got into the mindset once I got used to my guy," Unruh said. "Just on Wednesday morning at 6:15 (a.m.) was when we started working on that move (that got the pin). The endurance work just paid off."
"We're excited for what we did today and hope it carries on through the weekend. The guys are all coming along and doing things out here that we're teaching them in the room," Gratton said. "I think Adrian is going to come along and be there at the end of the year.
"We were excited for Witt because he used that move to perfection."
Mead got a big boost to the lineup with McDermitt's return. The senior had knee surgery during winter break and Thursday represented his first time back in action. Trevor David had an early takedown on him, but McDermitt did not allow any additional points before getting the pin.
"We wanted to come out and compete well, and I think for the most part we did that. We saw a lot of good things tonight," Tatham said. "Emilio wrestled well and stayed after it in his match; Brennan, his first time back, wrestled really well."
Erie 45, Mead 28
At Erie HS
106 — Emilio Chavez, Mead, maj. dec. Michael Ferrera, Erie, 19-8; 113 — Trevor Harris, E, p. Blake Morgan, M, 2:48; 120 — Adam Evertz, E, p. Caleb Domenico, M, 2:40; 126 — Sean Tyler Currell, E, p. Kyle Johnson, M, :39; 132 — Jeremy Ashton, M, p. Adrian Rincon, E, 1:59; 138 — Ernie Quintana, E, p. Aren Roybal, M, :35; 145 — Witt Unruh, E, p. Jeremiah Cortez, M, 2:44; 152 — Caleb Mendez, M, p. Quintin Hyrup, E, 2:45; 160 — Gino Musick, M, p. Logan Hawkins, E, 1:56; 170 — Brennan McDermitt, M, p. Trevor David, E, 5:38; 182 — Zach Roper, E, d. Joey Garcia, M, 13-5; 195 — Ruben Portillo, E, p. Evan Hansen, M, 3:55; 220 — Gavin Sackett, E, d. Derrick Allen, M, 8-3; 285 — Nate Hackney, E, d. Luis Miramontes, M, 5-2.