Red-hot Rutz rolls through tournament

Legend's Jaron Harker, left, faces off against Mead's Kyle McNellis Jan. 12.
Legend's Connor Vinyard tries to fight against the pin of Mead's Kyle Couch Jan. 12.
Legend's Ty Mervin wrestles in the 126-pound class Jan. 12 against Mead's Austin VanHooker. Legend was host to 11 other teams for its invitational wrestling tournament.
Photo
Jim Benton
Posted

PARKER - Kyndall Rutz propped open a door and stepped outside of the Legend gymnasium into the bitter cold during Saturday’s Legend Invitational Dual Meet Wrestling Tournament.

That was the only thing that cooled off the 113-pound wrestler from ThunderRidge. Rutz won all of his five matches, four by technical falls and one by a pin.

“Being in the gym all day with everybody, I decided to get some fresh air,” said Rutz. “I was expecting to be out there for a minute or two but I had to come back in because it was pretty cold.”

Rutz, ranked No. 2 in his weight division by On The Mat, has lost only once this season.

“He’s having a good year,” said ThunderRidge coach Casey Paul. “His one loss was to a kid (Cherry Creek’s Zach Finesilver) that made the state finals last year. That was when he was at 120 pounds. He’s gone down to 113.”

Rutz has placed fifth in the Class 5A state tournament the past two years.

“This year has been different,” explained Rutz. “It’s my senior year and I have to get as much as I can in these last two months. I thought 120s was an alright weight class for me but I felt I could perform better at 113.

“I’d have to say technique and speed are my best assets. You can outmuscle a lot of people but not a lot of people have the speed and technique to beat kids that are stronger. I can wrestle a kid and he can be stronger but if I have the mentality to be stronger in my position and you are quicker, then by all rights I should be able to win that match.”

Rutz is putting in extra work this season.

“In practice I’ll do more sprints than everybody else and once practice is over, I’ll stay out for a couple more minutes and drill with coaches.

“If I stay out after practice and work on some stuff, I feel like I have kind of mastered and tweaked a move and made it better so I can take it out in the competition world and be able to use it. I’m just trying to take kids down and get ready for that tournament in February down at the Pepsi Center.”

ThunderRidge finished fifth in the tournament which was won by Mesa Ridge. Legend wound up taking second place.

One of the wrestlers leading the Titans was 170 pounder Colton Fries who had his nose taped after butting heads with another wrestler during this third match of the day.

Fries, a Titans linebacker/running back who led the Pioneer League in tackles, won all five of his matches, two by decisions and three by pins.

“It’s tiring but it’s fun to get out there and get five matches,” said Fries. “I love wrestling. I was sixth as a sophomore at the state tournament and didn’t place last year.

“Obviously, I’d like to win it all this season but I’d like to go down to the Pepsi Center and get myself a place on the podium.”

Brandon Champagne, Legend’s 160-pound wrestler, was also undefeated in the tournament.

“Colton did real good and Brandon went undefeated,” said Legend coach Nick Rider. “If we wrestle like we did in this tournament, we’ll be okay.”