Surprise at 119! Vawter-Beaird qualifies for state
MONTROSE – Thanks to an individual surprise, the Summit High School wrestling team’s season to remember lives on.Junior Andrew Vawter-Beaird won all four of his matches Saturday at the regional tournament in Montrose, taking third in the 119-pound bracket to advance to the state tournament next week at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The top four in each weight class earned state berths.
After a first-round bye, the No. 5-seeded Vawter-Beaird lost his only match on Friday by decision to Rifle’s Eddie Kreimeir. But he did everything necessary on Saturday to emerge from the losers bracket and become the first SHS wrestler to make state since Gabe Frates in 1998.”Oh my gosh,” he said in a telephone interview from Montrose. “I surprised myself. When it happened I really couldn’t believe it, but after it sank in I just thought, ‘Wow, this is amazing.'”Vawter-Beaird’s state qualification highlights a season in which the Tigers also won their first dual match in five years against Englewood on Jan. 28.
“I’m about ready to cry,” first-year SHS head coach Jim Melvin said, adding that he was having trouble breathing due to the excitement. “Andrew just wrestled his heart out. I’m just overwhelmed, because a lot of incredible things have happened this year for this program.”Vawter-Beaird’s road to state on Saturday included a pin of Conifer’s Tye Bailey, then a 12-4 decision over Matt Kincheloe of Moffatt County. He followed that with a second-period pin of Montrose hometown favorite Brandon Gallegos, and a 9-5 decision over Palisade’s Tony Dicamillo.Both Kreimeir and Kincheloe qualified for state last year in the 103-pound division, and had beaten Vawter-Beaird before this weekend. Vawter-Beaird will enter Thursday’s first round at the Pepsi Center with a 21-11 overall record.
Senior Charles Keeling finished 2-2 for Summit in the highly competitive 130-pound weight class, but bowed out without placing. Pat Vawter-Beaird (160-pound division), Kyle Hill (103) and Robert Phipps (152) were eliminated in their first match on Saturday after splitting two on Friday.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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