It hasn’t been an easy season for the young Niwot High School boys wrestling team. Wins have been tough to assemble and with a limited number of opportunities remaining, head coach Bobby Matthews wants his Cougars to continue “pushing forward.”
As regionals loom (Feb. 10-11), staying focused becomes even more important with state championship spots up for grabs. Sophomore Ryder Evans and juniors Eric Falcon and Gavin Burrage, a trio of bright spots for the Cougars, are faced with the challenge of being at their best in February.
Momentum is key and Niwot gained some at the Bear Creek Wrestling Invitational in Lakewood on Jan. 28. Burrage led with a second-place finish at 175 pounds while Falcon and Evans each took third in their respective divisions.
Matthews was particularly impressed by his wrestlers’ ability to capitalize on what they’ve been learning at practice.
“[I] saw the wrestlers improve overall,” Matthews said, “and had many wrestlers show things we have been doing in the room translate into competition.”
Niwot has one final tune-up before regionals, a home dual against Northridge High School on Feb. 1. The Cougars’ junior varsity squad, which also faces Northridge that same day, will then close their season at the JV state meet (Feb. 3-4).
If any Cougars take first at regionals, they will head to Ball Arena in Denver for the varsity state championships from Feb. 16-18. Evans and Burrage both lost in the consolation bracket’s third round of last year’s Region 3 championships.
“We (have) to keep pushing forward and working on the little things to be ready and hopefully get some guys to punch a ticket to state,” Matthews said.