Expectations high for Vista mats

Posted 11/27/09

There are high expectations for Mountain Vista High School wrestling this season. This is despite having 10 seniors graduate from last year’s …

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Expectations high for Vista mats


There are high expectations for Mountain Vista High School wrestling this season.

This is despite having 10 seniors graduate from last year’s roster, eight of which were ranked in the state.

“That’s a hard hit no matter how you look at it,” said Golden Eagles coach Frank LaVoie, in his third season at Vista.

This year, Mountain Vista returns two state-ranked athletes and one state qualifier, while the program has expanded to 30-plus grapplers eager to rebuild.

Vista was 18-5 last season and finished fourth in the Continental League. However, the validity of the final standings for the season were questionable since Mountain Vista was unable to wrestle Heritage, who didn’t wrestle either of the league’s top two teams, Ponderosa and Chaparral, LaVoie said. The coach has a slew of returning grapplers this season, as well as high hopes in a few junior high champions who are now taking a shot at high school competition.

“Our lineup has experience, but not all at the varsity level,” LaVoie said. “It’s time for our young guys to step it up in the room and on the mat. We had a good camp at Adams State, many dedicated freestyle wrestlers last Spring, and most of the team involved in pre-season conditioning.”

Among the returning grapplers is Kegan Stritchko, who was all-league with 25-plus wins last year. He was state ranked with two winning varsity seasons at 103 pounds. He returns this season to wrestle at 112. Dylan Sinew split his time between varsity and junior varsity last time out. This time, he’ll assume the 119 slot on the varsity roster.

Nick King returns to remain at the 125-pound class. King completed his first winning record last season. In his second year on varsity, and his second year in wrestling, David Bull will assume duties at 135 pounds.

After starting last season at 171, Matt Manning posted a winning record as a 160-pounder. He will return to 160 again this season. Brent Coffin will take the reins at 171. He posted a winning varsity record last season as well. Peter Doro returns for a second season of varsity grappling at 215 pounds.

Taylor Gutierrez returns as Vista’s heavyweight. Last season, he only lost to senior opponents and finished with 28 wins. He returns for his third year of varsity after being a regional place-winner last season and a Class 5A state qualifier. With experience and state matches under his belt, Gutierrez looks to be more aggressive in his senior season.

“I didn’t really make things happen,” Gutierrez said. “I just allowed them to happen. This year, I want to take charge and make things happen, be a leader and do what I can do.”

LaVoie said he has high expectations for two freshman who join varsity this season. Gavin Stritchko will wrestle at 130-135 and Jose Alvenado will hit the mats at 135-140. Also expected to make his mark this season is junior Ben Whetstone at 140 pounds.

In addition, a former junior high champion who took a two-year layover. Brian Conahan comes to the Vista squad as a junior this season to wrestle at 152.

“He’s talented, and he is also the little brother of former team captain Matt Conahan, who now wrestles for St. John’s University,” LaVoie said.

The coach said the team’s goals are high and its wrestlers are each shooting for winning record, regional places and post as many state qualifiers as it can muster. Gutierrez said it may be hard to describe how the team will define itself this season.

“It all depends on what everyone has to offer as a whole, not just individually,” Gutierrez said. “We’re hard workers. We’re one of the best conditioned teams, and we’re going to kick butt this year.”

The Golden Eagles kicked off their season with what they call “Hell Week,” followed by a Friday night lock-in Nov. 20 which culminated into a 2 a.m. Green Versus Gold match the following morning. It’s first live dual is against Rock Canyon on Dec. 3.


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