Spartan wrestlers topple Mead, take third at Viking Invite

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

Berthoud’s Wyatt Larson takes down his opponent at the Viking Invitational at Valley High School in Gilcrest on Jan. 30. The Spartans finished in third place as a team in the contest behind Greeley Central and Valley. Karen Fate / The Surveyor

Berthoud’s Wyatt Larson takes down his opponent at the Viking Invitational at Valley High School in Gilcrest on Jan. 30. The Spartans finished in third place as a team in the contest behind Greeley Central and Valley.
Karen Fate / The Surveyor

To be the best you have to beat the best, and that is precisely the mindset with which the Berthoud High School (BHS) wrestling team has approached the season.

The Spartans took care of business on Jan. 28, besting Mead in a home dual 60-15 and then taking third place with a team score of 179, behind 4A second-ranked Greeley Central (280.5) and 3A No. 1 Valley (208.5) at the Viking Invitational Tourney in Gilcrest on Jan. 30.

At the Viking Invitational a recognizable pair of Berthoud wrestlers took first place as Jimmy Fate in the 160-pound weight class and Chad Ellis in 195s won via falls. Fate pinned Valley’s Josh Flannigan in 2:31 and Ellis bested Cody Solis of Greeley Central in just 1:16. Two days earlier, Berthoud’s duo of defending state champs also won via falls in the Mead dual, with Fate pinning Conrad Burgessor in 1:11 and Ellis pinning Chris Rayl in 1:08. The two seniors remain where they began the season, as the top-ranked 3A wrestlers in their respective weights.

Berthoud’s Kyler Bailey took second in his customary 138-pound weight at the Viking Inivite, losing in the championship match by an 8-6 decision in overtime to No. 1-ranked Aaron Trujillo of Valley. Two days prior, Bailey wrestled up a weight class at 145 pounds where he held on for the 7-6 decision over Mead’s Caleb Mendez. Bailey scored six of his seven in the first period, adding two points each on a take-down, reverse and near-fall.

Matt Bailey (132 pounds) also took second in Valley, losing in his title bout to Brandon Damion by a 12-4 major decision. The 2015 state runner-up pinned Mead’s Jeremiah Cortez in 2:27 in the teams’ dual at BHS on Jan. 28.

After having pinned Mead’s Luis Miramontes in just 41 seconds on Jan. 28, Berthoud’s Jared Hennig took fourth place in Valley, losing a 5-2 decision to Longmont’s Brandon Ramirez in the third-place match in the heavyweight division. Berthoud’s Austyn Binkley (126 pounds) settled for a third-place tie at Valley with Longmont’s Will Hickman, as did Christian Kalinowski in 106s. Binkley, who held a 3-1 lead, lost via a fall with just 0:19 left in the third period to Mead’s Jeremy Ashton earlier in the week. Berthoud senior Ben Poirier easily bested Mead’s Tony Romero in the 152-pound class, winning via fall in 1:14. Poirier took fifth place at the Viking Invite.

With just two weeks to go before the state tournament, the Spartans can boast having five wrestlers – Binkley (120), Kyler Bailey (138), Poirier (152), Fate (160) and Ellis (195) – all being ranked in the top four in all of class 3A.

Berthoud squares off with Holy Family in a dual in Broomfield on Feb. 4 before completing their regular season at the Eaton Tournament on Feb. 6.