Vawter-Beaird ready to face state competition
FARMER’S KORNER – Andrew Vawter-Beaird has felt euphoria, and to his benefit, it didn’t last.The glow has worn off for the Summit High School junior, who won four straight matches on Saturday to make the 4A state wrestling tournament at 119 pounds in upset fashion.”It’s sunk in a lot,” he said on Tuesday. “I made it. I need to make some new goals now.”
Vawter-Beaird’s new goal is to place (top six) at the state tourney, which begins tonight at 7:15 at the Pepsi Center in Denver. It’s a tall task, no doubt – just like his regionals surprise. He’s prepared all week with the help of teammates Charles Keeling and Stephan Collard, whose individual seasons are over but whose team allegiances haven’t ended. They took the mat around dawn on Tuesday and worked until they had to go to class.When you’re chasing a dream you didn’t think would be available, this is how it’s done.
“I’m as ready as I’m ever going to be,” said Vawter-Beaird, Summit’s first state qualifier since 1998. “These kids (his 119-pound opponents) are the same as me, pretty much. That’s why we’re all there, I guess.”Vawter-Beaird will face Fort Morgan’s 119-pounder, Chris Bustos, in the first round of the 16-man bracket. Bustos enters with a better record than Vawter-Beaird (34-6 to 21-11), but as the SHS junior proved last weekend, records don’t mean much this time of year.”I personally think that if he wrestles at state the way he wrestled the last four matches at regionals, he should place at state,” first-year SHS head coach Jim Melvin said. “He was definitely on a roll, there wasn’t any stopping him in those last four matches. I haven’t seen that kind of intensity out of a Summit kid in a long time.”
Melvin’s been around and seen a lot in his decade-plus working with the Tigers wrestling program. When he took over this season, the team was, in his words, “almost dead” – struggling mightily with numbers and five years removed from a team victory. But both came this year – Summit entered as many as nine kids in a meet, and beat Englewood by a point on Jan. 28. Now, Vawter-Beaird will be looking to end things on the team’s highest note yet.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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