Gabe Benton is one of few words, so he let his wrestling do the talking for him on Feb. 18 at Wheat Ridge High School.
His wrestling shouted loud and clear as the Evergreen senior went 3-for-3 with three pins in a quad meet, which also featured Littleton and Faith Christian.
“I wrestled the Wheat Ridge kid first and I pinned him in the first period. Then I wrestled the Littleton kid and pinned him in the second period. I wrestled the Faith Christian kid last and pinned him in the first period,” Benton said.
Not a bad day’s work.
Benton pinned Wheat Ridge’s Koah Proper in 46 seconds, followed by a win in 3 minutes, 12 seconds over the Lions’ Issak Hosford before pinning Faith Christian’s Austen Apperlee in 1:09.
It was part of a 2-1 night for the Cougars, who scored dual wins over host Wheat Ridge, 42-24, and Faith Christian, 48-18, sandwiched around a 41-30 loss to Littleton.
Others scoring pinfall victories for the Cougars were Noah Henderson (182 pounds vs. Wheat Ridge and Faith Christian), Jacque Laloutte (138 vs. Littleton), Karl Schuenmann (195 vs. Faith Christian) and Luka Aaen (285 vs. Faith Christian).
Nobody showed more grit than Schuenmann. Down 7-0 after the first period against Faith Christian’s Christian Fanaro, Schuenmann put his strength and conditioning on display in the second period, where he not only didn’t give up control after starting the period on top but he completed his comeback with a pinfall victory in 2:56.
“Thanks to my coaches and my conditioning I just used that to my advantage,” Schuenmann said.
Still, there’s room to improve, Evergreen coach Jake Kay said.
“We have a lot to work on,” the first-year head coach, who is filling in for Lucas Burrier, who is taking the season off. “They’re going out there fighting, they’re wrestling tough. I’m happy that they got out there and got the wins. When they needed to, people stepped up.”
But technique-wise, Kay is hopeful the Cougars will be in a better position come regionals on March 5-6.
“A lot of the mistakes that we’re seeing right now are mistakes that we would’ve saw two months ago in a normal season,” Kay said. “We’re seeing mistakes two weeks before regionals that we would’ve solved in a normal year by winter break or by January.”
That said, the mistakes, at least as far as the scoreboard was concerned, were minimal in damage on Thursday night.