Spartans place a pair at NoCo Christmas tourney

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

Competing in one of the biggest wrestling meets of the year, the Berthoud High School (BHS) wrestling team had a pair of players place in the 63-team Northern Colorado Christmas Classic at the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland on Dec. 17. Sophomore Austyn Binkley (132 pounds) took home fourth place, while senior Matt Bailey (138) finished in sixth place. As a team, Berthoud finished in the middle of the large field in 37th place with a team score of 43.

Binkley won a 4-3 overtime decision against defending 3A state champion Kyle Cisneros of Jefferson to get into the third-place bout. Garret Miller of Bennett High School got the best of Binkley in the pair’s final bout of the weekend, winning an 8-5 decision. Even though he came up short in the bout against Miller, Binkley remains the only Berthoud wrester who is ranked; On The Mat has the Spartan sophomore the No. 4-ranked wrestler in the Class 3A 132-pound division.

In the fifth-place bout, Bailey had to wrestle Thompson Valley’s Zach Kennison in what was the pair’s third match against one another on the young season. Despite scoring on a takedown and a reverse, Bailey came up just short against Kennison, who took the fifth-place medal with an 8-4 decision.

Bailey, who has qualified and competed in the state meet in each of the last three years and took home second place as a sophomore in 2014-15 season, is one of the few wrestlers on the Spartans young squad with a sizable measure of experience. Bailey commented he has embraced a leadership role on the team this year, saying, “I’ve been trying to get everyone to push themselves as hard as they can because we have the talent to make it back to state and do as good as we did last year. We just need to push ourselves to do so.”

The senior explained his goal this season is not only to make his fourth-straight trip to state, but “to place or even win state, so I’m going to do whatever I can to get there.” Bailey, who boasts an impressive 14-4 record on the season, explained he has been experimenting with some new moves and found some success. “These first couple weeks I’ve just been working to do better and try things I haven’t done in the past and, so far, it’s been working well for me,” Bailey said.

Prior to the NoCo Christmas tourney, Berthoud competed in a dual with Roosevelt on Dec. 14. The Spartans came out on the losing end in team competition, 39-19; four Berthoud wrestlers won their individual bouts. L.T. Torres (113) won his bout by an 8-2 decision over Roosevelt’s Dallas Montz; Miguel Sarmiento defeated Cole Trumbel 10-3 in 120s; Binkley dominated Damien Roybal, winning 15-1; and Brock Leypoldt defeated Andy Copland 8-5 in the 152-pound class.

After the holiday break, Berthoud is slated to host a league dual with Erie on Jan. 5.