By Michael Hicks
GILCREST — The Berthoud wrestling coaches had some advice for Curtis Martinez last week as he and his Spartan teammates prepared for the Viking Wrestling Invitational at Valley High School.
“(They) told me this was my last year to go at it at state and don’t be so hesitative,” Martinez said.
Translation: wrestle more to win and not to lose. The senior grappler did just that in winning the 135-pound championship at the 36th annual tournament.
Martinez, one of two Berthoud wrestlers seeded No. 1 in their respective weight classes, scored consecutive decision victories before pinning Denver Lutheran’s Tyler Roberts in 4 minutes, 42 seconds in Saturday’s championship match.
Including a 19-3 technical fall win over Montrose’s Nick Bailey and a 10-2 major decision over University’s Aaron Paulding, Martinez improved to 21-4 on the season. But the competition Saturday was anything but easy.
“It was a lot tougher tournament than I thought it was going to be. There were a bunch of schools that I didn’t know who were going to be here, some good wrestlers here,” Martinez said. “Coach (Scott Pickert) came into practice Wednesday and told us that there wasn’t enough intensity. We weren’t performing at our best. We really weren’t. We were a laid-back team and all that and he made us pick up our intensity. Practice got harder and I wrestled a lot better than I have all year.”
Even though Martinez was the only Berthoud wrestler to win a title despite the fact that the Spartans had six finalists, Pickert felt pretty good about his team’s performance against the 17-team field.
“I thought we wrestled real well today. Our intensity was up, our technique was better,” Pickert said. “I’m pleased with the outcome today.”
Also in the finals were Robbie Workman (112 pounds), Brandyn Wahlert (140), Marcus Lucero (145), Nick Henderson (160) and Jared Wikre (heavyweight). All of them suffered pinfall losses, but that may have been more because of the competition they faced than any wrongdoing on their part, said Pickert.
“It was a strong field here. We ran into a lot of tough kids, but those are the kind of kids you want to be wrestling at this time of year,” Pickert said. “If we take a loss here and there it is what it is and will just need to get back in the room and work harder and push each other harder. That will help us come time for regionals.”
Ten of the 12 Berthoud wrestlers at the meet placed in the top six, leading the Spartans to a second-place team finish. Berthoud finished with 201.5 points, 12.5 points behind Montrose. Wiggins came in third with 176 points, followed by Norwood (168.5) and Fossil Ridge (162.5).
“I thought Curtis wrestled well. I thought Nick wrestled well. Some of the kids that didn’t place as high — (189-pounder) J.T. (Pickert) wrestled well, (171-pounder) Josh (Atkinson) wrestled well,” Coach Pickert said. “I didn’t get to see (103-pounder) Tylor (Bethel) very much, but I guess he had an excellent tournament over there in the other gym. Just overall a good team performance today.”
36TH ANNUAL VIKING WRESTLING INVITATIONAL
TEAM SCORES: Montrose 214, Berthoud 201.5, Wiggins 176, Norwood 168.5, Fossil Ridge 162.5, Valley 156, Denver Lutheran 101, Golden 97.5, Evergreen 70.5, Estes Park 63, Denver South 59, Arrupe Jesuit 58, University 53, Green Mountain 48, Alameda 43, Highland 36, Sheridan 15.
BERTHOUD INDIVIDUAL RESULTS: 103 pounds — Tylor Bethel, 3-2, 4th place; 112 pounds — Robbie Workman, 2-1, 2nd place; 119 pounds — Brad Novell, 0-2; 130 pounds — Alex Sadlo, 3-2, 5th place; 135 pounds — Curtis Martinez, 3-0, 1st place; 140 pounds — Brandyn Wahlert, 3-1, 2nd place; 145 pounds — Marcus Lucero, 3-1, 2nd place; 160 pounds — Nick Henderson, 3-1, 2nd place; 171 pounds — Josh Atkinson, 5-1, 3rd place; 189 pounds — J.T. Pickert, 4-2, 5th place; 215 pounds — Trevor Jahein, 2-2; Heavyweight — Jared Wikre, 2-1, 2nd place.
<p>Berthoud 160-pounder Nick Henderson tries to turn his opponent, Fort Morgan’s Matt Megel, over into a pinning position during their match Thursday night. Henderson wasn’t able to get the pinfall, but he did score a 13-3 major decision en route to the Spartans’ 41-30 team victory.</p>