Berthoud wrestling falls in season opener

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

For a very long time the Berthoud High School (BHS) wrestling program has been one of the top programs in the state. This year the team enters the 2016-17 season grappling with uncertainty. Last season Berthoud qualified a school-record 13 wrestlers (out of 14 weight classes) for state, where two Spartans won class-3A championships, three more took the podium, as Berthoud finished in third place in team competition.

Of those 13 state qualifiers from last season, fewer than half returned to the mat for the Spartans in their season-opening dual with Thompson Valley on Dec. 1 – Austyn Binkley (132 pounds), Matt Bailey (138) Isiah Garcia (145), Wyatt Larson (170) and C.J. Balliet (220). The Eagles won the dual by a 48-22 final as Berthoud had to forfeit four bouts.

Binkley, who is the only wrestler on the Berthoud squad to begin the season ranked, won his bout over Thompson Valley’s Jay McLaughlin with a 14-6 major decision. Bailey and Garcia followed, but both lost by razor-thin margins, with Zach Kennison winning a 1-0 decision over Bailey and Hunter Williams by a 2-1 final after six minutes over Garcia. Larson was able to pin Caleb Burton in 3:46 in 170s and in the 106-pound class Berthoud’s Dalton Williams pinned Alex Luithley in 4:37.

In the other weight classes, Berthoud’s Rohan Phillips lost via a pin in 1:42 to Ariel Siegal in 113s, Miguel Sarmiento lost a 7-2 decision in 120s, in 152s Brock Leypoldt fell by a 9-4 final while Balliet was pinned in 1:59 by Chris Ringus in 220s. Ben Douglas accepted a forfeit for Berthoud in the 195s.

Berthoud will make the long trek to Pueblo this coming weekend for a dual against Pueblo East on Dec. 9 and then will compete in the Pueblo Tournament the following day. The Spartans will have a dual with Roosevelt in Johnstown on Dec. 14 before taking the mat in the annual two-day Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament at the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland on Dec. 16 and 17.