By Rhonda Uhland
Excitement filled the Massari gym in Pueblo this last weekend as the 2016 Regional Tournament was being held with 15 of the 2A schools in attendance.
Rocky Ford was able to run away with the tournament in team points (264.5) but looking at their school's enrollment, 321, compared to Eads' enrollment at 46, it was an overwhelming showing for the Eagles to come away in 5th place with 106 points. Yes there is room for improvement and team scoring could have been higher but the Eagles have qualified 6 of their 6 wrestlers to compete in the Colorado State Wrestling Championships to be held in Denver at the Pepsi Center this following Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Working his way to the championship match was Trevor Randel, Eads' Sophmore, at 152 pounds. Randel had an easy first match putting Dylan Jewell from Buena Vista on his back in 0:50. The semi's brought on Ethan Hebberd from Baca County. The match was exciting from start to a 5:15 finish when Randel finished with his second pin of the tournament. The championship match for Randel was a hard fought rough one. His opponent was senior, Daimean Feltner from Rocky Ford. Randel took a couple hard swings on a couple cross faces before the ref decided enough was enough and awarded the Eads junior a penalty point. Randel fought to the final buzzer by putting the Melon on his back in the final seconds of the match before getting reversed. The match ended 8-7 with Feltner getting the win but that is just the match Randel needs to have wrestled going into the state tournament. Randel, with a 27-10 record, will be attending his first state tournament, going up against Freshman, Braden Witzel from Burlington with a 20-20 record on Thursday for his first match at State. I am sure his Grandpa, Jim Randel, who wrestled for Kit Carson and went to state his senior year (placing 6th), will be eagerly waiting in the stands for this first match.
Eads' senior Reagan Lane came up next on the mat with his championship match against Sabyn Diamond from Buena Vista. Lane got to the championship with a quick 1:07 pin over Zach Kitchell from Calhan and an even faster pin over Kein McIntyre from Ellicott in 1:00. The senior matchup in the championship match was full of excitement as Eads' 160 pounder managed to work toward a pin but the ref was quick to blow the whistle as Lane was putting Diamond on his back. Not only did he give up back points but was also penalized a point for an illegal hold. Lane never gave up though up to the final buzzer but it ended 6-2 in favor of the Buena Vista wrestler. Perhaps a rematch at the State Tournament in the finals?! Lane, a returning state placer, sporting a 33-3 record will be wrestling Jon Ramey a junior from Merino with a 14-4 record for his first match. Lane will have a loud cheering section there to make sure he gets to the top of the awards stand his final year.
The 170 pounds championship match it was Rhett Uhland took the mat against Carlos Magdaleno from Rocky Ford. Uhland reached this match by getting an outstanding pin in the third period of his semi-final match against Luke Manly of Peyton. The match was a hard fought battle with Uhland ahead 8-5 and both up late into the 3rd period. Manly went for the takedown only to have Uhland counter and put him on his back for the pin in 5:49. The championship match saw Uhland wrestling mostly defense but he gave Manly a good match lasting late into the second period until he was caught and put to his back for the pin in 3:45. This will be Uhland's first trip to the big house and he goes into the tournament with a 28-8 record and will be wrestling sophomore Edgar Pedigo with a 7-9 record from Custer County for his first match. Just perhaps Uhland can be a second generation that stands on top of the stands at the end of the tournament. His dad was a State Champion for Eads in 1988.
Eads wrestler, Senior from Plainview, Seth Splitter will be headed to the State Tournament as a result of his 4th place finish in the regional tournament. Splitter wrestled strong in the tournament with a first round match against Kaleb Crandell from Crowley County where he was awarded the pin in 2:27. He then faced the #1 seed Diego Reyes from Rocky Ford and went the distance with him but came up short with a 4-0 decision. It was his determination over a tough Buena Vista wrestler, Jackson Baroni, that put him in the 3rd/4th place round as he got the 5-0 decision to advance. Again going the time limit but coming up short on point against Riley Lopez from Kiowa he was finishing the tournament with a 6-2 decision loss. He was not able to be challenged as he had already wrestled the 5th place finisher so Splitter had earned first time trip to State. Splitter sports a 26-15 record and will be taking on yearlong rival from McClave, James Steerman, a 34-7 junior, who finished first place in his region. Splitter has beaten Steerman in the season and we look forward to the rematch at State.
Eads senior, Trent Mitchek had a long first match at regionals going into double overtime against Ricky Preciado from Rocky Ford and falling by a takedown, 5-3. This put him on a long journey to get back on track in the consolation side of the bracket. What he thought was to be a forfeit over Bryan Hiatki from Calhan turned into a quick, get ready and wrestle match, but it turned out okay for the Eagle as he got a buzzer beater pin in 2:59. Schilling from Peyton was next in line to face the Eads senior and Mitchek also got this one in just before the buzzer went off with a pin in 2:57. Mitchek was now in a position that if he won he would go on to the next level but if he lost he would be in a 5th place challenge match. Mitchek took the easier road and got the 3-2 decision over P.J. Galaviz from Ellicott. Mitchek goes into the State Tournament with a 28-11 record and will be matched up against Henry Fellhauer from Fowler, also a senior with a 23-6 record. Only wrestling for the past two years, this will be Mitchek's second and last trip to the State Tournament so Eads fans are hoping he is hungry for some hardware.
Chance Fowler also had to wrestle one of his best tournaments to make the trip on and he did just that coming away with a 3rd place finish in the regional tournament. Fowler's first match brought him face to face with #2 seed in the 195 pound division, Enriquez Romero from Rocky Ford. Romero got the pin in 3:13 but not before the Eads junior had him on his back for a nice scare. Now wrestling in the consolation side of the bracket, it was Coy Chiddix from Peyton that went down with a 3-2 decision. Fowler's 3rd/4th place match was a quick one as he got the pin over Avery Whitlock from Ellicott in 1:59. Fowler had been out most of the season with a knee injury but has been wrestling strong since the Eads tournament and will be going into the state tournament with a 10-7 record. He will be taking on Juancito Lucero, a 36-10 junior, from Highland on Thursday. This will be Fowler's second trip to the State Tournament and Eads fans plan to be there to cheer him on to the award's stand.
Eads High School has six of their finest young men representing their school at the 2016 Colorado State Wrestling Championship. They are respected in their field and by their peers and we wish them the Best of Luck this weekend.