Shelton: Next three weeks to test mental grit of Broomfield wrestling

Over the course of the next three weeks, second-ranked Broomfield wrestling competes in two top-tier tournaments and slew of demanding duals. And while the final stretch of the regular season might sound like a golden opportunity for the Eagles to earn some high-profile wins, their coach has another take.

To Joe Pereira, his team’s final five competitions are less about accolades and more about grit.

“This is the grind of the season, when the guys will have the mental toughness tested before heading into regionals and state,” the coach said. “We’re not looking for who can win what tournament. The only two that matter are our final ones of the year”

The Eagles, who are expected to content for the Class 4A state championship, have their work cut out — especially the next two weekends. Outside of the team’s trip to Ohio in December, it will wrestle in a couple of its most testing tournaments of the year.

To start, Friday and Saturday, is Broomfield’s first trip to the Rumble at Utah Valley College. Wrestlers from 60 teams from Washington, Idaho, Utah and Colorado are slated to converge on Orem for the event. And with the likes of Utah’s national ranked Maple Mountain and plenty of West Coast college coaches, Pereira expects sparks to fly. But it is the Jan. 25-26, Top of the Rockies at Centaurus that has the potential to produce a more intense matches.

While Periera is not trumping up the tournament to Broomfield, he said his team is expected to fight for the top. But to get there the Eagles will be challenged at every turn.

The tournament boasts the who’s who of Colorado wrestling, including: Top-ranked 5A Pomona, top-ranked and defending 4A champion Windsor and fourth-ranked and 4A state runner-up Pueblo South. Four-time Nebraska Class A (the state’s largest schools) state champion Grand Island is also back to defended its title at the Top of the Rockies.

“It’s always one of our goals to do well at (the Top of the Rockies),” said Periera, whose team finished fourth at the tournament in 2012. “And we should be in the mix to win.”

The Eagles have some experience heading back to the Centaurus tournament with two finalist back. Phil Downing is working on a third Top of the Rockies title, this year the two-time state champion is attempting at 145 pounds. Drew Romero, on the other hand, is aiming for his first after getting edge last season in the 106-pound weight class.

“After last year, I’m really motivated to do well at the tournament,” said the two-time state champion, after his team’s Jan. 9 win over Ponderosa. “It’s been one of my big goals of my senior year.”

Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.