Regional champs ready for state |

Regional champs ready for state

GRAND JUNCTION — At this time last year, Nick Navratil could have been a regional champion, but he injured a thumb two weeks before the regional tournament.

That makes the Moffat County junior’s regional championship even sweeter this time around.

“It was frustrating last year,” he said. “I was wrestling well, and then, because of a couple of injured ligaments, I couldn’t go.”

Navratil pinned his way to the championship and then dominated Golden’s Tyler Pierandozzi 6-2 in the final Saturday to join senior Korey Kostur as Moffat County’s two regional champions.

“This is awesome,” the 189-pounder said. “I just feel awesome to have a top seed going into the state tournament.”

“Regional Champion” is a title Korey Kostur has now earned three times, after his 12-4 defeat of Palisade’s Zac Harvey.

“It’s important for me to take every match one at a time,” the defending state champion said. “My focus this weekend was to get as many points for my team and win a regional championship.”

Kostur and Navratil went into the final knowing their performances could win a regional championship for their team. Kostur did everything in his power to earn the six team points with a pin, but Harvey stayed out of any compromising positions.

“He was very aware of the team race,” Kostur said. “Normally, I think he would have been more aggressive, but he stayed away.”

Navratil’s match came immediately after Palisade’s Levon Davis sealed the team title with his 4-3 win against Eagle Valley’s Brendan Best.

“I was trying to get as many points as I could but I was a bit more focused on just getting the win after Davis won,” he said. “(Pierandozzi) stalled on the bottom and kept me from turning him, so I sat there and didn’t take any chances.”

Moffat coach Roman Gut–ierrez said he liked the way Navratil had been wrestling lately.

“At the beginning of the season, he was wrestling just to get the win,” Gutierrez said. “Now he’s being aggressive and taking it to guys. That comes with the confidence he has gained.”

Navratil enters state with a 29-8 record, with six of his losses coming before the Christmas break. Kostur is 38-2 after his three wins at the regional tournament. Both of the regional champions have two of the most recognized wrestlers in Colorado in their state brackets.

Pueblo South senior Mark Beaudry is ranked 12th nat–ionally at 145 pounds and will wrestle at the University of Michigan next year. He is 3-0 against Kostur in his career.

Alamosa junior Sonny Yohn is ranked in the top five among juniors nationally at 189 pounds. He is a returning state champion.

“Our two champions put themselves in good positions for state,” Gutierrez said. “All six qualifiers could place for us with good tournaments.”

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