Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Stager survives scare, wins rematch with Contreras


February 8, 2017

Photo by Ed Navarro Niwot’s Tommy Stager (left) is poised to set a new state record for career victories.

It’s hard to beat any opponent more than once in a high school wrestling season, let alone your arch-rival and closest competitor. So, when Tommy Stager and Mountain View junior Erik Contreras faced off for the third time last Thursday night at 145 pounds, it was anybody’s match.

For head coach Bobby Matthews, however, the outcome of his star senior’s final regular season match was never in doubt.

“Tommy’s had a knack for beating kids multiple times once he figures them out,” he said.

Stager won in a 10-6 decision over the No. 2 ranked Contreras, but Matthews said that score doesn’t reflect his dominance in the match.

“Tommy was in complete control,” he said. “It wasn’t even close.”

Stager’s win over Contreras came on the heels of an unexpectedly tough match against Weld Central’s Jimmy Laconte the night before. In a tri-meet with Skyline and the Class 3A Rebels, Stager moved up to the 152-pound division to face No. 1 ranked Laconte, a contest that proved trickier than anticipated.

“Wednesday was a challenge,” admitted Matthews. “Tommy gave up 10 to 12 pounds to Laconte, but he went after it.”

He eventually won a 9-7 decision over the junior, and also won his Skyline match, by fall over Caden Silva (2:39).

With the three wins last week, Stager finished the regular season with just two losses, both back in December. With 168 career victories, he is also quickly closing in on the Colorado all-time record of 170 victories, set by Josh Miller of Bennett in 2013.

Stager’s victories were one of the few bright spots in the Cougars’ final week of the regular season. He was the only Niwot wrestler to win a contested match against Weld Central, and was the lone Cougar with more than one contested victory during the week. Alex Gazdik (132), who returned to competition following a shoulder injury, won by fall over Mountain View’s Niko Jimenez on Thursday, but lost the night before to Skyline’s Uriel Contieras. Brandon Barton (152) and Luis Sosa (126) both won their Skyline matches, but lost by technical falls against Weld Central opponents and by decisions at Mountain View.

Up next for the Cougars is the Class 4A Region 2 meet on Feb. 10-11. Competing in one of the “toughest regionals in the state,” Matthews knows his team—outside of Stager—faces an uphill battle.

“There are some kids that I hope surprise us,” he said. As for Stager, Matthews said he has the edge over Contreras going into the post-season.

“I see Tommy creating distance,” he said. “His conditioning and fitness level are allowing him to wrestle at a higher pace than Erik right now.”

In fact, continued Matthews, Tommy may have the edge more than everyone right now.

“Things are slowing down for him,” said the coach. “He’s thinking three to four moves ahead of every kid he’s wrestling.”

Skyline 57, Niwot 18 (2/1)

106: Liam Laughrey over Max Pecherzewski (Fall 1:25) 113: Jose Perez over Colton Gruszczynski (Fall 2:34) 120: Jose Salgado over Niwot (For.) 126: Luis Sosa over Gage Martin (Fall 5:26) 132: Uriel Contrieras over Alex Gazdik (Dec 8-3) 138: Creighton Trembly over David Koon (Fall 4:56) 145: Tommy Stager over Caden Silva (Fall 1:58) 152: Brandon Barton over Ricky Waters (Fall 2:39) 160: Benjamin Kalisher over Abdullah Aziz (Fall 2:27) 170: Angel Perez over Niwot (For.) 182: Christian Torres over Omar Arriaga (Fall 3:15) 195: Isaac Hesse over Nathan Hemenway (Dec 10-7) 220: Alex Ortiz over Jovani Lopez(Fall 0:12) 285: Ricky Childers over Jose Lopez (Dec 5-3)

Weld Central 44, Niwot 33 (2/1)

106: Santana Hernandez over Max Pecherzewski (Fall 0:21) 113: Bernardo Chavez over Colton Gruszczynski (Fall 0:44) 120: Matthew Villareal over Niwot (For.) 126: Reiley Roskop over Luis Sosa (TF 16-1 0:00) 132: Alex Gazdik over Weld Cent. (For.) 138: Wyatt Thyfault over David Koon (MD 11-3) 145: Quentin Jiner over Brandon Barton (TF 17-2 3:31) 152: Tommy Stager over Jimmy Laconte (Dec. 9-7) 160: Abdullah Aziz over Weld Cent. (For.) 170: Bryan Paxton over Niwot (For.) 182: Dakota Tingle over Omar Arriaga (Fall 1:24) 195: Nathan Hemenway over Weld Cent. (For.) 220: Jovani Lopez over Weld Cent. (For.) 285: Jose Lopez over Weld Cent. (For.)

Mountain View 61, Niwot 9 (2/2)

106: Malachi Contreras over Max Pecherzewski (Fall 0:20) 113: Kaley Barker over Colton Gruszczynski (Fall 0:34) 120: Double Forfeit 126: Colton Hall over Luis Sosa (MD 9-0) 132: Alex Gazdik over Niko Jimenez (Fall 2:43) 138: Tyler Harshman over Brandon Barton (Dec. 4-0) 145: Tommy Stager over Erik Contreras (Dec. 10-6) 152: Jackson Gilbert over David Koon (Fall 0:12) 160: Kory Kass over Keith Hemmenway (Fall 2:33) 170: Miguel Sandoval over Niwot (For.) 182 Semaj Spencer over Omar Arriaga (Fall 0:33) 195: Braden Barker over Nathan Hemenway (Fall 1:01) 220: Martin Rodriguez over Jovani Lopez (Fall 1:34) 285: Josh Boles over Jose Lopez (Fall 3:02)


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