Heinle wins regional title
Heinle won the 145-pound bracket in the Region 1 tournament held last weekend at Grand Junction High School. Ethan Allred also qualified for the “Big Show,” which features all five classifications in the Pepsi Center, with a 5-2 win over Journey Vreeman of Hayden in the 160-pound consolation championship match.
“Ethan had a spectacular day of wrestling,” head coach Jeff Heinle said of the junior Panther, qualifying for his second trip to state. “His only loss was to Paonia’s Zach Milner.”
Heinle pinned in the semifinals and defeated Deano Valdez of Dolores 6-5, in an exciting championship match, to enter the state tournament as a regional champion. Heinle placed sixth as a freshman and was one match away from placing last year.
Rangely junior Heath Peters (132) and sophomore Caleb Lawson (152) finished fifth in their respective brackets, one place away from qualifying.
“Heath and Caleb both lost critical matches, leaving them just outside of qualifying,” coach Heinle said of two wrestlers who will be motivated for next season.
Kiki Ruiz (138) and senior Ryan Wilczek (195) wrestled in the regional tournament but did not place.
“As I said earlier this year, the competition in 2A, Region 1 is extremely tough,” coach Heinle said. “We have wrestlers staying home that were crowned champions or placed high in tournaments on the Eastern Slope that were not able to qualify at our regional tournament. I feel we should have qualified a few more wrestlers but it just wasn’t their day”
But Heinle still has high expectations for his two qualifiers at this year’s “Big Show.”
“I am extremely excited about state this year as we have a good chance of getting Ethan and Lucas on the podium at their weight,” he said. “The biggest thing that has to happen at state is winning the first match. The mindset you have to have going into the state tournament is to win all your matches and leave it all on the mat.”